RVs have different missions, uses and life spans than sedans, light trucks, CUVs, and SUVs, etc. Weight has the biggest impact on proper tire maintenance; therefore, extreme care must be paid to the type of tire and proper tire inflation.
This section explains how to weigh such large vehicles to ensure they are not overloaded. Understanding individual axle and gross vehicle weight is important. Reference the detailed Weight Charts for more on weighing RVs.
Where to Find Scales
Look for scales at moving and storage companies, farm suppliers, gravel pits, recycling companies or commercial truck stops. Call beforehand to ensure the facility offers public weighing services, note its hours of operation and verify any fees that might be involved.
How to Use Scales
There are different scale types, such as single platform, segmented platform (that can make several measurements at the same time) and single axle. Ask the scale operators for help, and explain that you need to know the weight on each axle end with the vehicle as level as possible. Regardless of scale type, you must be able to determine the overall weight, the right- and left-side weights for each axle, and the weight on each individual axle from front to rear.
Weigh Fully Loaded
For accuracy, you must weigh the vehicle with all your passengers, food, clothing, fuel, water, propane and supplies. Any towed vehicle (car/pickup, boat or trailer) or item loaded onto the vehicle (dirt bike, motorcycle, etc.) must be included in the weighing.
It may take half an hour or more to weigh your vehicle. Download this printable Weight Diagram or take notes so that you will have a record of all the vehicle, axle and tire weights. Depending on what you learn, it may be necessary to remove or redistribute part of the load, then weigh the vehicle again.
How Much Should It Weigh?
The maximum weights for your vehicle will appear on the vehicle sticker attached somewhere to your RV, often inside the kitchen cabinets or near the entry door. The tire capacity sticker will be somewhere near the rear hitch, engine compartment or on the inside door frame. The weight sticker should tell you the Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) for each axle and the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) for the whole vehicle. These stickers will also have information about the correct tire and rim sizes and recommended cold tire inflation pressures. If you exceed the GVWR, you must remove part of the load until you are within the legal limits.
Knowing the Correct Axle End Loads
The maximum load on each axle end is half the GAWR for that axle. You must not exceed the total GAWR for any axle, or the maximum for any axle end. Even if the entire vehicle does not exceed the GVWR, a given axle end might be overloaded. In that case, you must redistribute the load.
If an axle end has dual tires, the load on each tire is half the load on the axle end. Never exceed the maximum tire load rating that is molded into the tire’s sidewall (along with the inflation pressure for that load). Never exceed the maximum load or inflation pressure rating of your wheels.
Find the Recommended Inflation Pressure
Use the RV manufacturer’s recommendation (which you will find on the tire information placard). Never use inflation pressures lower than those printed on the vehicle placard.