New to RVing? All of the in-the-know RV terms can be confusing, but here are some essential phrases you need to know. Weight related terms are a must-have for your vocabulary. A solid understanding can help you avoid a voided insurance policy purely because you didn’t know.
These terms include ratings and actual weights. Ratings are the limits placed on the vehicle or components, while weights are the actual measured weight of the vehicle.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
The maximum allowable weight of the vehicle when completely loaded, including the vehicle, cargo, liquids and fuel, passengers, and any towed vehicle tongue weight. You’ll also hear the GVWR referred to as the Maximum Loaded Trailer Weight when dealing with trailers.
Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR)
Every axle has a Gross Axle Weight Rating. It is the maximum allowable weight that the components (tires, wheels, brakes) of each axle are designed to support.
Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR)
Gross Combined Weight Rating is the total of everything. It is the maximum allowable weight of the tow vehicle and trailer combined when both are fully loaded for travel. GCWR also applies to a RV towing a vehicle or trailer behind it. Gross Combined Weight Rating minus Gross Vehicle Weight Rating represents the allowable weight for the towed vehicle.
Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC)
The maximum permissible weight of personal belongings that can be added. Cargo Carrying Capacity is equal or less than Gross Vehicle Weight Rating minus Unloaded Vehicle Weight, full fresh water weight, and full LP (liquid propane) gas weight.
Gross Vehicle Weight or Gross Trailer Weight (GVW), (GTW)
Though this is not a rating, it is a term you’ll hear regularly. Gross Vehicle Weight is the actual weight of the tow vehicle or trailer when they are fully loaded for travel. This includes the vehicle, cargo, liquids and fuel, passengers, and the towed vehicle’s tongue weight. You can find this weight by loading your RV and weighing it on portable scales, or passing through a weigh station. Check your insurance policy carefully; if your rig is overloaded it may void your policy if you happen to have an accident.
Hitch Weight or Tongue Weight (TW)
This is the amount of weight pressing down on the vehicle’s hitch, or 5th wheel connection, when the trailer is fully loaded for travel. The recommended amount is generally 10-15% of the Gross Trailer Weight.
Unloaded Vehicle Weight or Dry Weight (UVW)
The weight of the trailer or truck as built at the factory. The UVW generally does not include passengers, cargo, fresh water, LP gas, or aftermarket accessories. Read the definition in your owner’s manual carefully, as the equipment included varies with each manufacturer.