Weigh your RV properly — axle by axle

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By Chris Dougherty

Chris Dougherty is a certified RV technician. Here is a letter he received from a reader while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor.


Dear Chris,
I have read a lot about checking the weight of your RV. My question is: Where does one go to have your RV weighed one axle at the time? —Bob

Dear Bob,
Checking the weight of your RV is essential, as I’m sure you know.

Staying within the weight limitations of your RV is not only important from a safety standpoint, but it helps to reduce maintenance costs on your coach. Overloaded vehicles suffer from premature wear on critical parts and systems, including the drive train, suspension, axles, wheels and brakes.

rv scale chrisMost commercial scales have separate pads the truck stops on to give weight by axle. The important point is to get out of your rig on the scale and make sure each axle is on a different pad. Now, with a trailer this may be difficult, as the trailer axles are close together. Weighing by wheel position is the gold standard, but is almost impossible on most truck stop scales, as they don’t have the room to put half the vehicle on the scale. A truck scale is better than nothing, though, and will at least tell you if you’re within your GVWR.

One of the best places to get weighed is at moving and storage companies, because you can center one set of wheels in the middle of the pad and get a more accurate weight for wheel position. The Recreation Vehicle Safety Education Foundation offers coach weighing at various events and venues across the country, and the event schedule can be found at this website.

##rvt756 & RVDT 1207

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Bill

If you are in Oregon or Alberta Province Canada most of the MANY non-interstate weigh stations and even some on the Interstates are free and open to drive onto with the LED gauge lit up and ready. In Oregon If the sign before the scale says ‘open’ then it is ONLY for commercial at that time. If the sign says ‘closed’ or it is an unmanned station you can use it anytime. This is by Oregon ODOT standard procedure.

Ken

No poll today

Walker

Regarding Chris Dougherty’s response on RV weighing, most folks would infer (as I do), from his diagram showing a total of five axles on two vehicles, that all three axles on that trailer are considered as one for most truck scales as is the case when I use CAT scales.. A confirmation of that inference from a knowledgeable source might help clarify for some what is meant by the common guidance to “weigh each axle separately”.

For example, because I have a motorized RV, towing, my weight slip from the scale master is for THREE components; front axle, back axle, toad- a total of three weights. But when I drive on some toll roads, I’m charged by axle, which is FOUR components; front axle, back axle of coach plus front axle, back axle of toad. Some folks, perhaps newbies, could misunderstand the term, ‘each axle’ .

Tom

This is not as much a comment as it is a question.
when traveling down hill threw the Mountains and realized, that you are traveling too fast, At what speed can you transfer down to a lower gear for braking with out damaging the vehicle? 60 -70-80- Mph. or anything under 50 mph. Sorry I couldn’t find the where the questions sites are.

Tommy Molnar

We’ve had luck doing complicated weighing scenarios by stopping at closed state truck weigh stations, as long as they keep the scale read out operating when closed. Many times, truck stop scales have a line waiting to scale trucks, so you don’t have time to maneuver around and get different weights. Truckers have schedules, we don’t.