RECREATIONAL VEHICLES WEIGHTS CALCULATION AND TOWING CAPACITY
Before leaving on an adventure with your RV, make sure it’s powerful enough to safely carry all of your precious cargo. Each vehicle has a different towing capacity so be sure to know your vehicle's capacity. You wouldn’t want any surprises along the way.
Trailer Life is a resource that can help you determine the towing capacity of your vehicle. It is recommended to consult a car dealership of the make of your vehicle to validate precisely the capacity of your vehicle.
Understanding and calculating the weights
It is important to understand the different concepts involved in calculating the weight of your recrational vehicle. Here is a list of abbreviations that you may find amongst the information indicated on most of the MSDSs usually located on the front left of RVs.
- UVW: Unloaded Vehicle Weight. It is the weight of the recreational vehicle unloaded and without additional equipments, as it was at the factory, to which is added the weight of the fluid tanks if they were full. The fluids include the RV gasoline and the generator gasoline, and may include the propane tanks. This weight does not include the water tanks.
- Dry Weight. It is the weight of the recreational vehicle unloaded and without additional equipment, as it was at the factory.
- CCC: Cargo Carrying Capacity. It is the maximum weight that can be carried in your recreational vehicle without exceeding its GVWR.
- GVW: Gross Vehicle Weight. It is the total weight that your recreational vehicle cannot exceed when it will be loaded with all your equipment and accessories. It is the sum of the CCC and the UVW.
- GTW: Gross Trailer Weight. It is the same measure than the GVW, but it is specific to the towable vehicles, while the GVW can also be used to motorized vehicles.
- GVWR: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. This measure is similar to the GVW or the GTW, it is the maximum weight that your vehicle must not exceed.
- GCWR: Gross Combined Weight Rating. It is the maximum weight that your vehicle and his towed weights must not exceed, used for motorhome that tow a car or other weights.
- GAWR: Gross Axle Weight Rating. It is the weight that can be carried by one axle.
- Hitch Weight. It is the part of the weight of the towed vehicle that rests on the towing vehicle. The ratio of the weight to the hitch compared to the GVW or GTW is normally around 10 to 15% for a classic travel trailer and about 15 to 25% in the case of a fifth wheel trailer.
It is important to consider all of those measures while shopping for a recreational vehicle. Failure to respect the capacity of your towing vehicle may result in road accidents. The most important measures are the GVWR, the hitch and the dry weight.
The GVWR of your recreational vehicle must not exceed the towing capacity of your vehicle. Do not forget to include all the equipment carried in the towed vehicle to the dry weight.
You must also compare the payload capacity and the hitch weight. The total weight of the equipments loaded in the towing vehicle, added to the hitch weight of the towed vehicle, must not exceed the payload capacity of your towing vehicle.
Feel free to contact one of our representatives if you have any questions concerning the capacities of your vehicle or the weight of one of the recreational vehicles that we sell.