What Does GVWR Mean?

Famiy getting Ram 1500 ready to go boating

What is the gross weight of a vehicle? The GVWR is the maximum total weight of your vehicle. If you’re purchasing a commercial vehicle for hauling supplies and tools throughout Caseyville, you’re likely looking at specs like interior dimensions, cargo volume, towing capacity, and payload capacity. But there’s one crucial spec that often slips through the cracks: gross vehicle weight rating.

Typically abbreviated as GVWR, it’s no surprise that so many Shiloh drivers aren’t familiar with the GVWR meaning. We’re answering your top question, what is the gross weight of a vehicle below, to help you choose your next commercial truck or van.

What is the Gross Weight of a Vehicle Weight?

The gross vehicle weight rating tells you how much your vehicle can weigh safely. This figure includes curb weight (what your vehicle weighs when empty of passengers or materials) plus the weight of passengers, accessories, fuel, any other materials carried inside the cabin, and the “tongue weight” of a tow trailer (normally 10-20% of the combined tow load and trailer weight).

What’s the difference between GVWR and payload capacity? Payload is the maximum weight your vehicle can carry inside its cabin, that doesn’t include the curb weight, tongue weight, or accessories.

For example, the GVWR of your vehicle might be 7,000 pounds. If the curb weight is 5,000 pounds and the typical weight for your passengers and fuel is 500 pounds, then your vehicle can safely handle a payload of 1,500 pounds. Still, how should the GVWR meaning impact your choice of commercial vehicle — and what happens if you exceed it?

Ram 1500 Interior Seating

Why Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings Matter

Overloading your vehicle can do serious damage to the suspension. If you’re pulled over while in excess of your vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating, you could end up paying a hefty ticket. However, the consequences are far more severe if you’re involved in an accident while surpassing your vehicle’s GVWR — if the accident involves a loss of life, some states may levy criminal charges, including manslaughter.

Your vehicle’s GVWR will also impact legal requirements. For example, vehicles above a certain GVWR require additional insurance or require the operator to hold a CDL license.

Find the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating for Your Car

Fortunately, it’s easy to locate the gross vehicle weight rating spec for your vehicle. Look for a sticker on the inside of the driver’s side door. Here you should find the curb weight and GVWR. If you can’t find the info, then check your owner’s manual or contact a Auffenberg Dealer Group dealership near you.

Are There Any Regulations?

Now that you know, what is the gross weight of a vehicle, you may be wondering about any regulations. Above we discussed the importance of staying within the weight ratings, but now we’re going to explore the regulations.

What exactly does this mean for you while out on the Edwardsville roads?

  • Vehicles that are over 6,000 pounds GVWR are not allowed on every road, so make sure you’ve done your research on your area’s regulations.
  • Vehicles that are 8,500 pounds GVWR have had to carry public liability insurance since 1980.
  • Vehicles between 8,500-26,000 pounds GVWR will typically require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate, or a non-commercial Class A or B license (e.g. large passenger vans and trucks that carry hazardous materials.)
  • Vehicles over 26,00 GVWR generally require a CDL or a Class A/B driver’s license to legally operate.

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