What does GVWR mean? What happens if you exceed your GVWR?

What does GVWR mean? Whether you’re packing up the bed of your truck or towing a trailer, there are a handful of weight ratings and terms that you should be familiar with. This includes understanding the meaning of GVWR and its significance so that you can have the safest towing experience.

What Does GVWR Mean?

GVWR is a term that you might have heard of but maybe don’t truly know what it means. It stands for Gross Vehicle Weight Rating and it represents the maximum amount of weight that your vehicle can handle safely. Your GVWR can be found on the placard attached to the driver’s side door.

What does GVWR mean

The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is basically the maximum total safe weight of your vehicle, counting the curb weight (the weight of our vehicle when empty), plus the weight of your passengers, fuel, any accessories added to the vehicle, cargo, and the “tongue weight” of a tow trailer (normally 10-20% of the combined tow load and trailer weight).

For example, let’s say the GVWR for your vehicle is 7,000 pounds. The curb weight is 5,000 pounds. That means any load you haul would have to be less than 2,000 pounds (as you would have to account for the weight of fuel and passengers). But what does the GVWR mean for you, really? What happens if you exceed it?

What Does the GVWR Mean for You?

If you exceed what the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of your vehicle is, you could get ticketed. But that could be the least of your worries if you’re caught surpassing your vehicle’s GVWR, meaning you could also face criminal charges, including manslaughter in some states if there is an accident that involves the loss of life.

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That’s not to mention overloading your truck could cause serious damage to the vehicle itself, like breaking the suspension.

There are also legal requirements for different GVWRs. Your vehicle may need specific insurance if it rates above a certain GVWR. You may need a CDL license to operate a commercial vehicle over a certain GVWR. This is why it’s important to know what the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is for your vehicle.

What Happens If You Exceed Your GVWR?

It’s crucial to not just know the meaning of GVWR but to know the actual number for your vehicle. You risk serious trouble for your tow vehicle or yourself if you exceed it. Slightly exceeding your GVWR will lead to worsened handling and an increased risk of an accident.

If you’re significantly over your GVWR, your vehicle may show very visible signs of struggling. For example, slow acceleration, sagging springs, poor shifting, and high engine temperatures. These could damage the engine, suspension, or other systems.

What is the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating for Your Vehicle?

What is the gross vehicle weight rating for your truck? It’s easy to find the GVWR for your truck. There is usually a sticker on the inside of the driver-side door. This will tell you both the GVWR and the curb weight. If the information is not there, check your owner’s manual.

So, what is the gross vehicle weight rating for your truck? You’ll need to review your owner’s information, as previously mentioned. We can’t provide a one-size-fits-all answer to questions like, “What does GVWR mean on my truck?” and “What is the gross vehicle weight rating for my vehicle?” since we keep a large inventory of rugged pickup trucks.

From RAM to Ford and everything in between, we supply the Bloomington, Morton, and Peoria areas with top-tier, work-ready trucks. If you want to know the GVWR for one of our models or you need help establishing the GVWR for your truck, our team can help! Just reach out for more information.

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Why Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings Matter

Overloading your vehicle can do serious damage to the suspension. If you’re pulled over while in excess of your vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating, you could end up paying a hefty ticket. However, the consequences are far more severe if you’re involved in an accident while surpassing your vehicle’s GVWR — if the accident involves a loss of life, some states may levy criminal charges, including manslaughter.

What does GVWR mean

Your vehicle’s GVWR will also impact legal requirements. For example, vehicles above a certain GVWR require additional insurance or require the operator to hold a CDL license.

How Is GVWR Calculated?

Years ago, gross vehicle weight rating was calculated by adding the gross axle weight ratings (GAWRs) together. Today, the process is much more involved. If you were to add the GAWRs of a truck, it’s likely the sum will be much lower than the GVWR calculated by the OEM.

Safety systems with automatic braking and stability control systems, for example, can reduce the GVWR. Manufacturers complete thorough tests to ensure the GVWR given is as accurate as possible. Adding the GAWRs will give you a ballpark estimate of a truck’s GVWR, but the figure shouldn’t be taken at face value.

Why is GVWR Important?

There are several logistical and legal implications for trucking companies regarding GVWR, meaning it’s essential that you know and abide by the limits.

  • Trucks above specified gross vehicle weights require drivers to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
  • Vehicles above certain GVWRs require additional insurance.
  • Overloading can damage the suspension, wheel bearings, and steering system, increasing the likelihood of a breakdown.
  • Exceeding weight limits puts pressure on the entire truck, causing metal fatigue that will ultimately reduce a vehicle’s lifespan.
  • Ticket fines for exceeding GVWR limits can add up to thousands of dollars.
  • Truck handling is reduced when a truck is overloaded, impacting the driver’s ability to brake and maneuver properly, and increasing the risk of an accident.
  • If overloaded trucks are involved in an accident, you may face criminal charges.

How Does GVWR Relate to Towing Capacity?

GVWR and towing capacity may seem similar, but they should be considered differently. The GVWR helps determine tow capacity because a truck can only tow as much as its rating permits.

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But remember that only the vehicle’s weight, fluids, cargo, and passengers contribute to the gross vehicle weight rating. Conversely, total towing capacity (GCWR) refers to how much weight a vehicle can pull with a separate trailer attached behind.

Fleet managers need to be aware of both limits if they are to avoid exceeding either parameter. To determine the maximum tow capacity for each semi truck in your fleet, you’ll need to know each truck’s weight rating and compare them to the gross weight of each respective trailer.

From there, it’s pretty straightforward. If the manufacturers’ weight ratings are higher than the trailer’s total weight, it’s safe to tow. If the trailer weight exceeds the manufacturer’s rating, it’s not.

What GVWR is Considered Heavy?

Vehicles are usually grouped into three categories, light, medium and heavy duty. The delineations between them is based on their GVWR ratings. Different organizations have different cutoffs but the general rule of thumb is light duty is anything under 10,000 lbs.

Medium duty is between 10k and 20k. Heavy duty is over 26,000 lbs. So according to the federal highway administration, your big pickup is not really heavy-duty. If you really look at the axles, brakes, and drivetrains on a heavy-duty truck you will see that they really are built much bigger and stronger for heavier loads.


Is GVWR the actual weight?

The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is basically the maximum total safe weight of your vehicle, counting the curb weight (the weight of our vehicle when empty), plus the weight of your passengers, fuel, any accessories added to the vehicle, cargo, and the “tongue weight” of a tow trailer.

How do I know my GVWR towing capacity?

You can find your truck’s towing capacity in the owner’s manual or calculate it on your own. To find your truck’s towing capacity, subtract your truck’s curb weight from its Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating (GCVWR).

Can I tow a trailer with a higher GVWR than my truck?

Vehicle manufacturers provide a “tow rating” in their owner’s manuals which provides the maximum weight the tow vehicle can tow when fully loaded. The GVWR of the trailer should never exceed the tow rating of the tow vehicle, even if the trailer is not loaded to its maximum capacity.

Above is information about What does GVWR mean? that we have compiled. Hopefully, through the above content, you have a more detailed understanding of What happens if you exceed your GVWR? Thank you for reading our post.

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