Weight Ratings Explained

The following list is a reference that will make your journey through the alphabet soup of weight ratings AOK. Base Curb Weight - The nominal weight of a vehicle with standard equipment and a full tank of fuel. It does not include passengers, cargo or optional equipment. Cargo Weight - Includes all weight added to the base curb weight, including passengers, cargo and optional equipment. Trailer tongue weight is also part of the cargo weight when towing. Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) - The actual weight of the vehicle when fully loaded. It is the base curb weight plus the cargo weight. Payload - The combined, maximum allowable weight of cargo, occupants and optional equipment that the vehicle is designed to carry. (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating minus the base curb weight.) Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) - The maximum allowable weight of the fully loaded vehicle. Gross Combined Weight (GCW) - The actual weight of the vehicle and trailer combined. This weight should always be obtained by weighing the vehicle and trailer together on a scale. Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) - The maximum weight of the towing vehicle and the loaded trailer - including cargo and passengers. Maximum Loaded Trailer Weight - The maximum allowable fully loaded weight of the trailer. This weight is obtained by subtracting the towing vehicle's GVW from its GCWR. Gross Axle Weight (GAW) - The total weight supported by each axle (front or rear). To compute this weight for your vehicle and trailer combined, take the loaded vehicle and trailer to a scale. With the trailer attached, place the front wheels of the vehicle on the scale to obtain the front GAW. To obtain the rear GAW, weigh the towing vehicle with the trailer attached, but with just the four wheels of the vehicle on the scale. The rear GAW is determined by subtracting the front GAW from that amount. Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) - The total weight each axle is capable of carrying. The total load on each axle must not exceed its GAWR.