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RV Weighing

Cat Scale

RV Weighing is a very important step in the whole process of buying or owning an RV.

Understanding the different types of weights, what they mean and how they may apply to your vehicle will be discussed here.

Fortunately, the RVIA and other Associations have been working with the RV Manufacturers to standardize the info on a placard that is attached to a motorhome. Depending on the year(s) of manufacturing, this placard will have various terms, weights and definitions to help consumers understand what the various weights mean.

Now, when you are ready to weigh your RV, this info about RV Weighing will be meaningful to you - we hope!?!

Some of the acronyms will mean an actual weight for something, while others will be the maximum weight allowed for that particular specification on a vehicle.

Usually, if the last letter is an "R" - "Rating" is the maximum allowed weight; while a "W" - "Weight" is what the vehicle actually weighs based on that definition.

It can get a little confusing, but we'll do our best to keep it simple - RV Weighing, at it's best

GVWR = Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. This would be the maximum permitted weight of the vehicle - it includes everything: fuel, water, propane, people, storage and the tongue weight of a towed vehicle. Everything kinda subtracts from this number!

UVW = Unloaded Vehicle Weight

. This would be the "factory weight". This would be the basics of the RV, itself - not the human side. It includes only the items that are necessary for the function of the RV - not the people things. Engine fluids are included and a full tank of fuel.
The human side - water, propane, occupants, storage, etc are not included.

Years ago, if you took the GVWR and subtracted the UVN, there wasn't too much left for the consumer and their belongings!


That's what prompted the standardization of information, federal placards and better consumer awareness.

GCWR = Gross Combination Weight Rating. This is the maximum allowed weight if a toad/tow vehicle is attached to the rear hitch.

GAWR = Gross Axle Weight Rating. This is configured by the RV manufacturer, based on the components needed to support the RV over a tire - axle, springs, air-bags, etc. are all used to determine the individual axle maximum weight rating.

SCWR = Sleeping Capacity Weight Rating. OK, how many of you actually knew that one?! The manufacturer determines the "sleeping capacity" of each RV. That # is then multiplied by 154 lbs (Based on how most of us look - perhaps that should be raised!?!)

Isn't this fun?!?! And you thought RV Weighing was simple!!

CCC = Cargo Carrying Capacity.

This category started in 2000. An earlier similar one was NCC = Net Carrying Capacity. The CCC stands for the GVWR - (minus) the UVW, propane, water and the SCWR. This will give you the Cargo Carrying Capacity. Dealer/factory installed options that are not included in the UVN, must be taken into consideration as well!

Figuring this all out!

Ok - let's take a hypothetical RV and "run the numbers"!

30,000 GVWR of the RV
20,000 UVW Factory Manufactured weight
10,000 "Available" weight - notice the quotes though - not done yet

From that 10,000 must be subtracted

830 lbs Water capacity (100 gallons x 8.3)
158 lbs Propane capacity (35 gallons x 4.5)
616 lbs Sleeping Capacity (154 x 4 people)
224 lbs Dealer Installed Accessories

1,828 lbs Total "Human & Essential" weight

8,172 lbs = CCC

Now, realistically, that number of 8,172 lbs is what we/you figured to be the CCC.

The RV Manufacturer will have their own number on the placard!

OK, What About the Acronyms Ending with a "W" ?

VW = Gross Vehicle Weight. This is the actual entire weight of the vehicle at the time of weighing it - perhaps on a public scale. Doesn't matter how you weigh it, it's the weight of whatever you have on the scales.

GAW = Gross Axle Weight. This is the total weight of the vehicle that an axle is carrying, while being weighed on a scale. Again, this is the actual weight - not a rating.

If you have only the one wheel on a scale, this would be the weight for that wheel. If you had both front wheels on, that would be the GVW of that entire front axle of the RV.

The same applies to the rear. If you drive on the scale with only one set of wheel(s) on the scale, that would be the actual weight of that wheel set.

If you drove the RV on so both the left and right rear wheels were on the scale, that would be the total rear axle weight.

Now you can start to understand why RV Weighing is so important! It really protects you as a buyer and user of an RV. The last thing you want is to have your RV Weighing too much; and, not be able to stop or steer it!!

Very Important Weight Issue Resolved!


During the Summer of 2012, the "Surface Transportation Bill" was passed to allow RV's a higher single axle weight in the rear. It was 20,000 - it is now 24,000!!

I know many RV's rear axle actual weight exceeds 20,000!

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