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Where to go to weigh your RV

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. The RVer wants to know where to go to weigh your RV.

Please note: This is a recycled post, but is still relevant. It contains some important information in the comments received after it was first posted, so we’ve retained those.

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 a 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.

##RVDT2020

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Larry
1 month ago

Landscape supply yards also have scales. Brazel’s RV Performance (Centrailia, Wa.) will do corner weighing of Motorhomes.

John Macatee
1 month ago

Our landfill (dump) has a great scale, it’s free. I weigh my truck, truck & trailer, then just the trailer.

Bruce
1 month ago

I have a scale available at local farm supply coop. I weigh truck when unhooked. Then weigh truck and fifth wheel. Pull ahead with just fifth wheel and weigh that. Pull ahead with just one trailer axel on scale. There is digital sign so I write down each weight as I pull ahead. Don’t have to get out of truck. Then subtract one axel weight from two to get the other axel weight. Then subtract both axel weight from total to get truck weight. Subtract empty weight from loaded weight to get hitch weight. Only have to get out to unhook and hookup. Not perfect but works for me.

Donald N Wright
1 month ago

Join the Escapees. They have the smart weigh program, measures the weight of every wheel to be sure RV is balanced.

Pat
1 month ago

We have weighed our RV at a full-service agronomy center not far from home. It is fairly new with an excellent scale with separate pads. It has the added benefit of rarely being busy, except during planting and harvest, and even then we can usually find a time if we need it.

Jim Johnson
1 month ago

Getting your rig weighed close to home may not be easy if you live in a rural area. And “close to home” is key. After all, if you are overweight, what are you going to do about it away from home? Hold a yard sale on the side of the highway? Look for a convenient dumpster?

The nearest scale to our home so far as I can determine, is a waste transfer station – roughly a 50 mile round trip. And that scale has no per-axle capabilities. While I might get away with a quick weighing tow vehicle plus trailer when the station has no other customers, I am pretty sure they would be disgruntled if I unhitched nearby and re-weighed my tow vehicle to subtract it from the total.

My guestimate method with a small bumper hitch trailer is to use an inexpensive crane scale with a timber support frame and weigh the coupler at the level point. Assuming I have properly loaded the camper, the axle weight should be around 9-10 times that weight. I try to not exceed 85% of the max as a precaution.

Barb
1 month ago

We have an app for CAT scales. Sends an email, bills your credit card. Works great

B Patterson
4 years ago

What about in CA….does not seem to be any scales open when they are not checking big rigs. Seems like with all the taxes we spend we should have some sort of rights to use a device that is not costing anything to use when no one is there.

Ron
1 month ago
Reply to  B Patterson

The scales are for checking semis, not rv’s. Has nothing to due with you paying taxes.

Mark Elliott
4 years ago

Would it be crazy to think you could scale your RV or tow vehicle/trailer at the local garbage transfer station? They have loop drives to make maneuvering easy so it seems like all you would need to do is get the attendants OK to weigh your individual axles. Of course side/side weights wouldn’t be possible but you could get accurate axle weights and probably much closer to home than big rig highway scales.

CB Roberts
4 years ago

https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/MCT/Pages/EnforcementScaleOperations.aspx

Oregon Department of Transportation Scale Decks

Operational 24/7 for public use, including when the sign on the highway may indicate the scale is closed.

Only closed to the public during repair status.

https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/MCT/Documents/MotorCarrierEnforcementTruckScales2-2018.pdf

https://catscale.com/cat-scale-locator/

tom
1 month ago
Reply to  CB Roberts

Nice

CB Roberts
4 years ago

Michelin and other tire companies as well as many RV experts will tell you it is very important to get “corner weights” or individual wheel position weight meaning weighing each tire or pair or tires to get accurate weight not only of the axle but of each side of the vehicle. Some say axle weight and one side is enough but I personally strongly recommend weighing axles and both sides and adding the side weights to see if they add up to the axle weight – helps determine accuracy. This is the only way to accurately determine correct tire pressure. And it might tell you if you need to think about shifting some weight around in the RV to even up weight on each side. Proper handling won’t happen if you don’t balance your load and inflate tires to proper PSI. Read all about it in the Michelin Guide and other info found on the Michelin website. The states with open scales the public can use can be found in Oregon.

https://www.michelinb2b.com/wps/b2bcontent/PDF/RV_Tires_Brochure.pdf

https://www.michelinrvtires.com/reference-materials/tire-guide-warranties-and-bulletins/

https://www.michelinb2b.com/wps/b2bcontent/PDF/motorHome_weighing_pressure.pdf

Tom
4 years ago

Hi Chris, Here’s what may be a dumb question…can we weigh an RV or truck camper (or any other vehicle really) at the weigh stations which appear on some state and federal highways and interstates? If so, is it free?
Thanks!

Editor
Russ and Tiña De Maris
4 years ago
Reply to  Tom

Tom:
The weigh stations you refer to are state-operated facilities; most tend to discourage (or outright run off) RVers and other private vehicles from coming in to weigh. However, some states will leave the scales turned on when the station is technically closed (Washington state for example). In some of those instances, we’ve gone in and scaled ourselves in. Of course, those stations are typically in outback areas, generally not on an interstate. You’d need to look close for regulatory signage, because if you did scale when regulations didn’t allow it, the fine could be a whole lot more than you’d pay running over a CAT scale at a truck stop. A buddy of mine scaled his Class A at a Pilot stop the other week and paid less than $10. I’ve used a privately run scale in cotton country in the past, and paid something like $8.

Russ De Maris, Senior Editor, RV Travel

Tom
4 years ago

Great, thanks Russ!

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