RV Weight & Safety Part 1: How Much Does an RV Weigh?

So, how much do you weigh? Kinda personal, right? But it’s a thing in the RV world… Of course, I’m talking about your RV! (Mostly. 😉)

What’s the Big Deal about RV Weight?

In a Class A motorhome, you’re not just driving a ton of weight down the road. It’s actually more like a dozen tons of weight – or much more, depending on the size of your RV (and everything in it, including you).

In a word, the big deal is SAFETY.

Overloading or improper distribution of RV weight can:

  • Affect control of your motorhome while driving or braking.
  • Add stress and wear and tear to chassis components, leading to damage and potential failure.
  • Cause catastrophic tire damage, resulting in a serious accident.

While we’re talking about tire safety and blowouts, I have to mention RettroBand® Wheel Enhancement, which is exclusively distributed by National Indoor RV Centers. NIRVC offers a limited, highly selective line of RV aftermarket products for added safety, protection and convenience, including RettroBand, which was developed to protect your RV in the event of a tire blowout.

For more information and a video of RettroBand in action with NIRVC CEO and President Brett Davis, visit rettroband.com.

RV Weight & Tire Pressure

Knowing the weight of your RV helps you determine appropriate tire pressures for safe driving, based on the actual weight and the Load and Inflation Tables for your specific tire manufacturer and type of tire.

Load Inflation Tables, often referred to as LITs, are a tool used by manufacturers, tire retailers and automotive professionals to determine the appropriate inflation pressure for tires based on the load that they will be carrying. These tables provide a reference for adjusting tire pressure to ensure optimal safety, performance and longevity of the tires.

How Much Should an RV Weigh?

The first place to start is knowing the basic limits of your RV. For instance, how much weight was it designed and built to carry? This information can be found on the “stickers” – or Federal Compliance labels – in each and every RVIA-certified motorhome.

These are generally located near the driver’s door or on the wall near the driver’s seat. Locate these stickers in your RV and make note of the critical Weight Ratings for your vehicle (See below).

Federal Compliance label
The Federal Compliance label located on the wall behind the driver’s seat in our 2016 Entegra Aspire
Federal Compliance label
The Federal Compliance label located behind our driver’s seat on the screen door

What You’re Looking For & What It Means

  • GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) – the maximum weight limit of the vehicle and everything in it, including passengers, pets, gear, provisions, furniture, accessories, fluids (fuel, propane, water, etc.) and all of your household and personal goods.
  • GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating) – the maximum weight limit on each axle. It is possible to be under the GVWR and still exceed an axle rating, depending on how your RV is loaded (i.e., the weight distribution on each axle).
  • GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating) – the maximum combined weight limit of your motorhome and the attached tow vehicle, including all passengers, cargo and liquids in each vehicle.

What are the Maximum Allowable RV Weight Limits?

By examining the applicable Weight Ratings on the two stickers, we determined the maximum allowable weight limits for our motorhome, which are summarized below. This is helpful information to have on hand (perhaps in a note in your smartphone) when you’re loading and weighing your RV.

GVWR, GAWR, GCWR weights of 2016 Entegra Aspire RV

How Do You Weigh an RV?

Once you know your weight limits, it’s time to take your fully loaded RV and tow vehicle to the scales! This can be easier said than done, but we’ll start where most of us do:

At the Truck Stop

The easiest and fastest preliminary weigh-in method is on the CAT Scales at your nearest truck stop. It can be fun driving up on the CAT Scales, like the big boys and girls in the semi-trucks… if you know what you’re doing!

If you’re new to this process, here’s a quick primer:

1. Download the CAT Scale Weigh My Truck mobile app. Once you set up your account, you can do it all on your phone: 

  • Find a CAT Scale location near you
  • Pay as you weigh (Current price: $13.00)
  • Weigh your motorhome and towable
  • Get your weight report immediately
  • View the record of your weigh-ins

The Weigh My Truck app displays your weights immediately on your phone. You can also view a PDF for comprehensive information about the CAT Scales Certification & Guarantee for professional truck drivers.

2. Watch this helpful YouTube video from Mortons on the Move: Weighing the RV the easy way with the Weigh My Truck App

It’s as easy as driving your RV across the scales! The only difference in a Class A Motorhome is that you must stop with your front and rear axles of the RV on the first and second plates, and with your tow vehicle positioned on the third plate.

RV being weighed on the CAT Scales
CAT Scale ticket with RV weights

RV Weigh Results: Did We Pass?

CAT Scale weights vs sticker max weights for RV

YAY! We were under the weight limits based on axle weights and GCWR, including our tow vehicle. But hold on a minute…

RV Weight Limitations of the CAT Scales

As helpful as the CAT Scale weights are for overall weight and load on each axle, including the tow vehicle, it doesn’t tell us anything about the weight distribution, side to side, on each wheel position, on the tires. This information is extremely important when it comes to safely and accurately managing tire pressures on all tires.

Note: Unless you know the load/weight carried by each wheel position, you have no way to know the proper inflation of your tires. Improper inflation leads to improper wear, reduced life of the tire, and greater potential for rapid tire failure. Learn more.

Beyond the CAT Scales

If you just can’t find a place to get your RV weighed wheel-position-by-wheel-position, weighing on a platform scale gives you the basic starting information. Then, you can get wheel-by-wheel weighing done when you have the opportunity.

National Indoor RV Centers blogger Sherri Caldwell profile image

Sherri Caldwell is the founder of BooksAndTravelUSA.com, a full-time RV travel blog and book club/U.S. literacy project. Sherri and her husband Russ are currently living, working and traveling full-time in their 2016 Entegra Aspire 40P, Charlie-The-Unicorn RV.

NIRVC – They Can Do It All!

Robin Buck, a full-time RVer and travel blogger, shares her firsthand experience with NIRVC.

One of the things we’ve discovered about owning a motorhome is that it can be hard to find reliable places to get quality service and other work done. When you spend your hard-earned money on the perfect recreation vehicle, you want to do everything you can to take care of it and keep it in excellent condition – especially when you’re full-timers like us, and your RV is also your home.

My husband and I are so lucky to have found National Indoor RV Centers (NIRVC) six years ago. Their mission is to provide an outstanding, hassle-free motorhome ownership experience – and they deliver on that goal!

NIRVC Dallas

NIRVC simplifies motorcoach ownership with offerings including sales, service, storage, paint and body, wash and safety products. The privately held company was founded by partners who are also motorcoach enthusiasts and know and understand the RV lifestyle. You can truly feel the difference when you walk into an NIRVC dealership. You are part of a family who is invested in YOU!

There are NIRVC facilities in six metropolitan areas across the country: Dallas, Atlanta, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Nashville and Washington, D.C. The company has a projected expansion plan to add even more locations about 500 miles apart, so RV owners will always be within a day’s drive from an NIRVC location. We definitely feel much more comfortable knowing that we have a reliable service facility nearby as we travel across the U.S.

The Sale is Just the Beginning

NIRVC is a great place to purchase and sell your RV. While their team of knowledgeable specialists can help you find the perfect vehicle to meet your needs, their work doesn’t end with the sale. They make sure you understand everything about your new coach and even encourage staying at their on-site campground after you buy it. During our three nights at the campground, we had ample time to test things out, ask questions and get assistance with any issues.

RV Campgrounds at NIRVC

NIRVC offers great financing options, including extended service agreements. We purchased our 2019 Entegra Anthem from NIRVC, and the experience was so much better than all of our previous purchases elsewhere. Plus, nothing is as exciting as Blue Bow Day, when you finally become the official owners of your new coach!

Blue Bow Day

If you have an RV that you want to sell, NIRVC can help you out there, too. Their RV consignment program simplifies the selling process by giving you the added marketing power and sales staff of the company. As an added bonus, the Consignment Specialists handle all of the sales paperwork and make sure everything goes smoothly from start to finish. The sales price is also credited to your new purchase, which helps discount the total tax bill on the new coach.

A Dedication to Service

Everything you need can be accomplished in NIRVC’s state-of-the-art facilities: mechanical repairs, paint and body work, parts, tires, even satellite TV. Their highly skilled technicians are pros at diagnosing problems, handling factory recalls and taking care of any issue. NIRVC can do warranty and extended warranty work, as well as individual component repairs such as refrigerators, washers and dryers.

RV Service at NIRVC

At every NIRVC location, you’ll find a group of talented people. When we visited the Dallas Lifestyle Center, we had a wonderful service team working for us. Adrian, our service advisor, did an excellent job of coordinating all of our service and repairs. He was the key interface with all of the departments and kept things on track.

RV Service Team

Sean is the Paint & Body Director at the Dallas Lifestyle Center. His shop does outstanding work; the old or damaged becomes shiny and new as his team works their magic.

The key to our repairs was the service technicians who were easily able to diagnose and correct the mechanical issues with our coach. NIRVC’s recent conversion to a 7-day work week meant our service was completed even sooner.

NIRVC Paint & Body

You can either drop off your RV at the NIRVC facility and come back when the job is finished or wait in their large, comfortable waiting area while your coach is being serviced. Cold drinks and snacks are available, and leashed pets are welcome to wait with you. If you need to stay overnight, campground spots with electric and water hookups are available so you can sleep in your own bed.

Customer Service Lounge at NIRVC

Safe and Convenient Indoor Storage

When you purchase a coach, you want to make sure to protect your investment. Many neighborhoods don’t allow storing your RV at home due to size and appearance restrictions. As their name says, NIRVC offers secure indoor storage for your motorhome. By storing your RV indoors, you protect it from sun damage in the summer and frozen pipes in the winter. Garage-stored vehicles require less washing and usually have a higher resale value. To top it all off, your vehicle will be prepped and ready to go when you arrive to pick it up for a trip. Now that’s convenient!

RV Storage

Professional RV Cleaning

We’ve learned from experience that cleaning and washing a large motorhome is a lot of work to do by yourself. Luckily, NIRVC has a hard-working Wash and Detail team to take care of that for you!

The technicians use advanced, high-quality equipment and materials to handle it all – even hard to reach spots like the roof. The Bitimec machine at the Dallas location makes the job go much faster, while using less water and detergent than conventional washing methods. It’s better for the environment, and you get to start off your trip with a nice clean coach!

Wash & Detail at NIRVC

A Focus on Safety

We all want to be safe on the road. NIRVC continues to look for ways to improve the RV experience and offers several aftermarket products that provide safety, protection and convenience:

The Ultimate Customer Experience

NIRVC is not just another RV dealership. They are an innovative company with a well thought out vision they’ve stood by since they were founded. Their overall objective is to offer a concierge level of service and take the hassles out of motorcoach ownership.

RV Delivery at NIRVC

The Atlanta and Dallas NIRVC locations have recently converted to 7 days a week operations because, let’s face it, problems don’t only occur between Monday and Friday. The other locations have plans to follow suit.

Additionally, having two teams at each location provides workers with continuity and has proven to be a huge benefit for employees and their families. Offering more hours of operation is helpful for RV customers as well, since you don’t have to wait three to four weeks to get an appointment.

RV Paint & Body at NIRVC

NIRVC’s Workflow computer system tracks everything companywide – from inventory to scheduling. While it is still a work in progress, they are making continual improvements in the parts acquisition process, streamlining warranty work approvals, and managing the tasks for each repair.

Also in the works is a tool in which customers can schedule appointments, request parts and track work order status in real time. It’s nice to know the leaders of NIRVC are forward-thinking with the goal of improving not only the customer experience but revolutionizing RV industry standards.

RV Storage at NIRVC

As you can probably tell by now, I am a big fan of NIRVC! We’ve purchased a motorhome from another dealer and have had service done elsewhere, but none fully compare to NIRVC. The staff treats us like family and has our backs when we need any type of service or product. Their annual Customer Appreciation Rallies are lots of fun, and their All-Inclusive Motorhome (AIM) Club promotes opportunities for friends, food and unforgettable memories.

No RV dealer or service center is perfect, but NIRVC comes close and remains our go-to place for all of our RV needs.

Robin Buck

Robin and her husband, Mike, are Air Force veterans and empty nesters who have been traveling full-time in their Entegra Anthem motorhome for 5 years. Always ready to explore, they love nature and wildlife, meeting new friends and discovering America one stop at a time. Robin writes about their travel adventures, RVing tips, and the full-time RV lifestyle on her blog RVing with Robin.

NIRVC Phoenix Won a Best of the Valley Award!

National Indoor RV Centers is thrilled to announce that our Phoenix location has been named the Best Local RV Dealer in PHOENIX Magazine’s 2023 Best of the Valley Awards! These prestigious awards acknowledge various businesses that make the Valley the special place that it is. We’d like to extend a huge thank you to our customers and community members who voted for us.

Most of all, congratulations to our hard-working Phoenix team for their dedication to customer service that makes NIRVC an award-winning RV dealership!

A special thank you goes out to the NIRVC customers who joined us at the 2023 Best Fest in Phoenix on August 5 to celebrate. We appreciate your support!