Why is it Important to Have My RV Weighed?

Why is it Important to Have My RV Weighed?
Benefits of knowing your RV's fully packed weight and where to get it weighed.
By: GoLife Staff

Winnebago Journey driving down road near water.

When you first drive off in your new RV, it should be fairly close to the ‘dry weight’ listed by the manufacturer. However, you may be surprised how much more your RV weighs once you’ve filled up your water and fuel tanks, added all of your belongings, and hit the road with your family. It really adds up – especially once you’ve been RVing for many years and have acquired all the coolest camping gadgets or finally did that DIY renovation.

Regardless of whether you are traveling in a motorhome or towable, making sure your RV is within its weight guidelines is extremely important – for your safety and to avoid damage to your rig. Luckily, having your RV weighed is a simple process.

Why Does My RV's Weight Matter?

Have you ever seen a sign before a bridge or road that lists a weight limit and wondered if your RV is over that? Making an inaccurate estimate could be a dangerous and costly mistake. 

Traveling in or towing an RV that is over its gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) can lead to many issues that risk your safety, as well as those who you are traveling with or who are on the road with you. Plus, it can also lead to expensive damage.

Top Risks of an Overweight RV:

  • Unsafe Driving: This is the big one. Driving in an overweight RV puts you at a higher risk of getting into an accident. Of course, the major consideration here is safety. But it is also important to note that if you get into an accident and your RV is identified as being overweight, you could be blamed and potentially at risk of fines or future lawsuits. Yikes!
  • Broken Laws: Yes, there are actually laws that limit the weight of vehicles in order to keep drivers safe. As mentioned above, if you happen to get into an accident while in an overweight RV, you could be in big trouble! It’s just not worth the risk.
  • Damage to Rig: If your rolling home is filled with more than it is meant to hold, it can eventually stop rolling. The extra weight can lead to breakdowns and damage to components of your RV. Poorly distributed weight in a towable can also lead to sway and loss of control.
  • Voided Warranty: It’s also important to note that by overloading your RV, you may be voiding your warranty since you are going over the limitations listed by the manufacturer. So, any potential damage could need to be fixed out of pocket.
  • Tow Vehicle Damage: It is especially important when towing a travel trailer or fifth wheel to make sure you are not over your vehicle’s towing capacity. Whichever vehicle you are towing with has a limit as to how much it can handle. Going over that can be dangerous and extremely damaging to the vehicle. (See more towable tips here).

Where Can You Get an RV Weighed?

While the dangers of an overweight RV are very real and scary, there is an easy way to avoid those risks: get your RV weighed. Rolling up to a scale to make sure your RV is at a safe weight is highly recommended, especially after you’ve packed it full of supplies for a long road trip or made recent modifications.

Winnebago Revel pulling Winnebago HIKE

Multiple places across the country offer RV weighing services, which should include an overall weight and the weight of each axle (weight distribution is another important factor to keep in mind to avoid damage and issues).

Places to Have Your RV Weighed:

  • CAT Scales or other Truck Stop Scale: $10-15
  • Some RV Shows & Rallies: often done by RVSEF, with a price of $60 listed
  • Escapees SmartWeigh: $45-55 for an in-depth weight report
    • Located at RV parks in Livingston, TX; Bushnell, FL; and Congress, AZ.

Before your visit, make sure to call ahead to see if you will need an appointment. Also, make sure to have your RV packed with everything you would normally put in it to get an accurate weight. 

RV Weight Considerations & Tips

Here are some important considerations and helpful tips to keep in mind when assessing and adjusting your RV’s weight. 

  • Remember to add the weight of anyone who will be traveling in your RV to the total weight, including pets. 
  • Exceeding your tires’ maximum load rating is extremely dangerous and should be dealt with immediately since this could lead to tire failure issues.
  • You may be below the weight limit but still need to move items to make sure weight is distributed and not overloading one axle (especially important in towables).
  • Don’t travel with full gray and black tanks and limit fresh water to a quarter of a tank (when possible) – this is an easy way to lower your RV’s weight and is a good best practice.
  • If planning to renovate or add modifications to your RV, keep weight in mind when purchasing materials to remain within your weight limits. This is good to consider if buying a used RV that has undergone some changes as well.
  • Consider moving some heavier items to your tow vehicle to help reduce weight in your RV – just be sure not to go over your tow vehicle’s weight limit.
  • If adding more to your RV in the future, don't forget to remove other items to stay within your weight limits – or have your RV re-weighed.
  • Additionally, Escapees has this fantastic resource for tips to make adjustments after your RV has been weighed. Definitely worth reading for more insights!

We know having your RV weighed probably isn’t top of your RV life bucket list; however, it should be a priority to ensure safe travels and help prevent major issues.

Winnebago View driving down road

We hope you take a quick pause to roll onto the scale in order to keep the adventures rolling along safely!