RV Weight Safety 

By  Luann Street


 Knowing your RV weight is an important component of your personal RV safety plan.

Can you answer these questions:

 How much does my RV weigh when fully loaded?  How much should it weigh?  Have I taken into consideration the weight of my toad when pulling my tow vehicle?

If you don’t know the answers to the above questions, read on and get some information that could help you avoid an accident or even save your life.

Listen to The RV Living Show Podcast Episode

RV Weight Safety

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Why Weigh Your RV

Recreational Vehicles are fun things to travel in.  But our enjoyment can be cut short if we don’t follow certain important guidelines when operating our RV’s.  Our tires are important elements of our vehicles and should be considered closely but hand in hand with our tires, the weight of RV closely coincides with tire safety and is an important factor in our travels. 

There are many good reasons to know how much your RV weighs.  If you are a full-timer this is even more important for you because you have all your worldly good with you.  If you aren't careful you could end up over weight and do damage to your RV.


Being overweight can cause premature damage to you RV frame.  The everyday wear and tear of extra weight can cause your RV to wear out faster.  

Another reason to not be overweight is that it's a safety hazard.  Your RV has ratings on it's brakes and tires that coincide with the weight of your rig.  If you are too heavy, your brakes and tires could fail and that is a significant safety hazard.  Being overweight can cause you to take longer to stop and result in an avoidable accident.

If you are ever in an accident, you could be liable if your RV is overweight.  It could be determined that you had a part in the accident even if it was the other persons fault.

If your RV is overweight, you could be unknowingly damaging your very expensive RV tires and causing them to fail or wear out prematurely.  Both scenarios are avoidable if you know your RV weight.

Bryan Street

Where the Streets wander

"An overweight RV can contribute to excessive wear and tire failure resulting in avoidable circumstances."


How to Know Your RV Weight

So, you are getting ready to pack your RV.  You want to get as much stuff in there as you can, right?  The weight of what you are putting in it matters a lot.  You should be aware of your vehicles GMVW (Gross Motor Vehicle Weight) before you start adding your personal belongings.

Where is my GMVW Information?

Every RV has a GMVW.  That is the weight that it weighs before you, and your things get in it. RV manufacturers design their units to distribute the weight optimally. However, they cannot know how much weight you are going to put in it and where you are going to put it.

If options have been added to your unit aftermarket, you will need to add the weight of these upgrades to know the correct weight.

Your RV has certain weight recommendations for it's make, model and brand.  

In the video above, Bryan teaches you what the numbers mean and what you should do with them.  He also includes many tips for you and the best way to calculate your RV weight.  Be sure to watch it.

For Travel Trailers & 5th Wheels:  the data plate is located on the left side of the tongue or on the outside of the left front of the body (left front quadrant)

Trailer weight label

For Motorhomes:  Motorhome data plates are either located inside the drivers’ door panel, or on the wall in this same area.

Motorhome Weight label


Luann Street

Where the Streets wander

"Adopt a 'something in, something out' rule to help

maintain your RV's weight."

RV Weight Safety

Ways to Weigh

Packing Your RV with Weight Safety in Mind

When you are packing your RV, the inclination is to fill up every cabinet and space to store your stuff.  This can lend itself to overloading one or two axels or a tire.  That is why weighing your RV is important once you get it loaded.  You can have it weighed at a truck scale, but that will only tell you your total vehicle weight.  It is important to weigh each tire and axel individually for proper RV weight information.

Knowing the weight of your RV after packing it, doesn’t matter as much if you are just using your RV for road trips and weekend camping because you probably aren’t packing your whole life into it.  This plays a more important factor when you are loading it for full-time living.

When you have your RV weighed for full-time living, be sure to have your freshwater tank filled or empty depending on how you like to travel.  Water weighs a lot and depending on your RV you may not be able to travel with a full freshwater tank unless you leave some of your personal stuff out. The other tanks should be empty, you don’t usually travel with full black and grey tanks.


Get Your RV Weighed by the Axle

Escapees offer a SmartWeigh program they have 3 locations in the US and often end up at smaller events to do weighing as an add-on service.

RSVEF has a weighing program with weighing teams that go to rallies and conventions all over the US.  Here is their site with the current schedule

You can also email their weighing teams to see where they are or if they are traveling near you and they will meet you and do a weigh of your RV.

Once you get your rig weighed you will have a nice report to go by when making adjustments to your RV storage and towing situation if needed. If you are anywhere near your max, initiate the rule that if you buy something and bring it into the RV then plan to remove something else so you don't end up overweight at a later point.  Any changes you make, such as changing mattresses or furniture could be a great time to plan to have your RV weighed again.


RV Weight to do's

Don't neglect this important part of RV safety.  Make a plan to learn about your RV and it's weight requirements.  Have your RV weighed at your earliest convenience.

You just might save your life!

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Luann Street

I have a passion to help people who want to travel, design an RV life they love! I was a full-timer along with my husband, Bryan for 5 years. I am now learning to RV solo.

I have created many products that enhance and improve the RV lifestyle:
-The Complete RV Travel Planner
-Your Next RV Destination Membership
-The Full-time RV Framework
-Trading Stuff for Memories Downsizing System
-The RV Buying Method

Luann Street

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  1. Very useful information specially from experienced RVers. Even if this information saves one life, then you have done a great job. God Bless.

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