Weighing Your RV – Does Yours Need To Lose Some Weight?

Lyle Ellerbee

Do you think about the weight of your RV? Do you ever wonder if your RV might be too heavy based on the load it was actually designed to carry? Well, according to many RV experts and insurance companies’ statistics, towing or driving an overloaded RV is the major cause of RV accidents. That is why weighing your RV is so important in order to maintain safety while you travel.

Even if you a little overweight, or heavier on one side than the other, it can cause braking and steering issues, increase your chances of tire failure, and increase the amount of fuel you will use. Weighing your RV will help you to prevent premature wear of your RV’s tires, wheels, bearings, brakes, suspension, and other parts. It is estimated that nearly two thirds of RV’s on the road are traveling with at least one of their load ratings beyond specifications.

When weighing your RV how do you know what values you should be looking for? RV manufacturers place a label on every RV showing the vehicles empty weight, and maximum dry and wet weights. They will also include a carrying capacity value so you can determine how much stuff you can safely put in your RV. It is also important to consider the weight rating of your tires based on the expected load so proper cold tire pressure can be set at the start of a trip.

If you have been out in your RV for awhile you may find that you have accumulated stuff that is hidden in often unused cabinets and storage bays. RV’s typically have more storage areas than the weight ratings to carry everything when those areas are stuffed to capacity. You don’t want to just guess whether you are overweight or not. Weighing your RV is the only way to know whether your RV needs to go on a diet, or whether you need to redistribute the load to even out the weight to create equal values on both your curbside and roadside tires.

Okay, so weighing your RV is something you now know you should do. But where can you get that done? You can go to public weigh stations and have your RV weighed for a small fee. A search for Public Scales in the Yellow Pages will reveal the location nearest your home. Truck stops also offer scales but these usually don’t give you independent axle values. You can also find other locations while out on the road. There are private companies offering these services as well. They can measure the weight under each axle, and if you are towing, hitched and unhitched weights to determine pin or tongue loads. These are all important values to consider when weighing your RV.

Okay, so in weighing your RV you found out you have too much stuff. Now what? It’s time to go through everything and see what you have not used in a while. Every six months I go through my rig and get rid of unused items. Over the past four years we have shed lots of pounds just getting rid of things we have but never use. As full timer RVers it’s easy to get overloaded quickly as carrying all of life’s necessities can add up!

Once you determine what you need and what can go you can reload your RV. Keep your heavy items lower in the rig and lighter ones up higher. Loading this way will reduce sway while on the road. As far as load distribution on either side, you can make a quick determination by measuring road clearances on either side of the RV. If you are one inch lower on one side over the other you have a good idea that you need to move things around. You should go and reweigh your rig to see if you accomplished your goal.

Weighing you RV is one of the most important things you can do before hitting the road this RV season! If you perform this necessary maintenance item then you will have a properly weighted and balanced RV that will get you to your destination safely! Here’s wishing you safe travel this season!

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