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.

RV Tire Safety

Are Your RV Tires Safe? Here Are Five Ways to Identify Tire Health

Here’s an understatement: the health of your RV’s tires is essential. A single flat tire can utterly derail an RV trip. And that’s BEFORE you get into the dangers and hassles of dealing with a tire blowout on a crowded highway.

While there’s always the slight risk of a freak accident, tire health is an area where a little mindfulness goes a long way. By taking a few basic steps to check your tires before leaving for a trip, you can avoid dealing with any unwanted surprises along the way. 


Let’s Start With the Basics: Check Your Tire Pressure

It’s a good idea to check the pressure on ALL of your RV’s tires at least once a month. At the very least, you’ll want to do a quick pressure check the day before you leave on any new trip. 

Different RVs can come with varying recommendations for tire pressure, so it’s a good idea to confirm beforehand. This information is usually written inside your motorhome’s owner’s manual or doorjamb. As a note, the heavy-duty pressure gauge you’ll need to check RV tire pressure is different from the ones commonly used for regular cars. 


Check Your Tire’s Age

Every RV tire manufactured after the year 2000 will have an identification number you can use to check its age. To determine the age of your tires, keep an eye out for a small illuminated stamp near the outside rim. The last four digits will be the tire’s issue date. 

For example, if the number on your ties ends with 3517, you know they were made on the 35th week of 2017

While there are no standard guidelines for when you should replace tires, knowing their age helps you make informed decisions when you prepare for your next adventure. Old age on its own isn’t a warning sign, but it can make other ones significantly spookier. 


Take a Look at the Tread Bars

Tread bars are a series of small ridges inside your vehicle’s tires that can be used to measure their health. Each one is set inside a tire’s deepest grooves, and giving it a quick glance can tell you valuable information about your tires’ remaining lifespan. 

If the tread bar on a tire is worn down completely, it’s a good idea to replace that tire as soon as possible. Additionally, uneven wear on these bars can indicate a car’s alignment is off, and the tires are making uneven contact with the road. 


Use the Penny Test

If you need a more hands-on approach in checking your tire health, consider giving your tires the penny test. Simply hold a penny upside down and gently press it into the tire treads. If your tires are healthy, the top half of Abraham Lincoln’s head should be covered.

Seeing the entirety of Lincoln’s head is a reliable sign your tires have worn down and should be replaced soon.


When in Doubt, Visit the Pros

Any uncertainty about your tire health can always be directed to the professionals. It can be challenging to tell the difference between a worn-down and worn-out tire, and it’s an area where you really don’t want any unpleasant surprises on the road. 

Thanks to RettroBand® Wheel Enhancement, you can drive your motorhome with peace of mind knowing you have protection should a tire blowout occur. Check out this blog post to see the RettroBand product in action. 

RettroBand®: A Revolutionary Step For RV Safety

When behind the wheel of a motorhome, a tire blowout is a dangerous and scary situation. It can put the people and things you love at risk. At NIRVC, we are dedicated to helping keep you and your family safe. That’s where RettroBand® Wheel Enhancement comes in. With the safety coverage that RettroBand provides, you can drive your motorhome with peace of mind knowing you have protection should a tire blowout occur.

Brett Davis and Rob Craig, creators of RettroBand, aren’t just industry innovators, they put their money where their mouth is. To illustrate the dependability of their revolutionary tire blowout safeguard system, they put their own lives at risk and intentionally blew a tire on a brand new 2022 Entegra Cornerstone at 70 mph! Not only were the rim and vehicle kept from damage, but the RV hardly flinched as the tire blew! Watch the amazing video below.

RettroBand was designed in conjunction with an Australian military defense supplier, proving its worth beyond traditional civilian driving. Specifically designed for large coaches, RettroBand offers a built-in spare that is engineered to withstand being driven on for short distances. No longer does a blowout wreak havoc on your journey nor require costly replacement parts. Instead, the product instills confidence and security during what could otherwise be a disastrous situation.

The RettroBand product is getting noticed! Check out the product’s latest feature on RV Lifestyle Magazine

Are you ready for peace of mind protection?


RV Lifestyle Magazine Logo