A Review of Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings

Before towing a trailer, or any sort of cargo, it is important to have an adequate understanding of your GVWR, otherwise known as “gross vehicle weight rating.” Continue reading for a quick review on all things related, including how to calculate your GVWR, as well as, recommended trailer towing tips and more!

Indianapolis Towing & Recovery 317-247-8484
Indianapolis Towing & Recovery 317-247-8484

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating – GVWR

A gross vehicle weight rating, or GVWR, is the manufacturer-engineered maximum capacity of weight your vehicle can safely tow. By adhering to this manufacturer load capacity, you will ensure that your vehicle is not towing too much weight. If you were to exceed your gross vehicle weight rating, it could cause a wide range of damage to your vehicle’s drive train, transmission, brakes, suspension, engine, and more.

GVWR and Tongue Weight (TW)

To learn your vehicle’s GVWR, all you have to do is open the driver’s side door and look at the label on the door jam. Here, you will find the gross vehicle weight rating, as well as, other pertinent information for towing, hauling, and more. This figure is meant to encompass the weight of the passengers, cargo, persona affects, and the towing vehicle’s total weight. It does not, however, include the total weight of the trailer (also known as the vehicle’s gross weight) nor trailer tongue weight, which is where your calculations come into play. Keep in mind that proper tongue weight is approximately 10 to 15% of the total trailer weight when loaded with cargo. Read our blog, “A Brief Explanation of Tongue Weight (TW)” to review trailer tongue weight facts.

In order to calculate your towing vehicle’s true GVWR, you will need to do a little math; but not to worry, it’s merely some simple adding and subtracting. For instance, if your GVWR is 7,000 pounds and your trailer weighs 600 pounds, simply subtract your trailer weight from the GVWR, and then use that figure as your actual gross vehicle weight rating. From there, you will need to continue to subtract the weight of any passengers, cargo, personal belongings, and the towing vehicle weight.

Here is an example:

Towing Vehicle Weight – 5,000 lbs.
GVWR – 6,884 lbs.
Trailer Weight – 550 lbs.

The towing vehicle, with the trailer attached, can safely haul up to 1,334 lbs. without exceeding the max weight rating. This figure must include the total weight of all passengers, cargo, and personal belongings in the whole convoy.

Where to Get Professional Towing Assistance

Call Zore’s Towing at 317-247-8484 for prompt, 24 hour towing and roadside assistance in Indianapolis and its surrounding counties. Our licensed towing and recovery division retains an extensive fleet of over 35 tow trucks and wrecker equipment, allowing us to assist drivers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year, rain, snow, or ice. Request a free estimate, anytime.

Zore's Towing Indianapolis 317-247-8484
Zore’s Towing Indianapolis 317-247-8484

A Brief Explanation of Tongue Weight (TW)

When it comes to safe towing, the most important factor is knowledge. And part of this knowledge is knowing your tow weights. This includes the weight of your load, the capacity of your towing vehicle, and your towing trailer’s tongue weight. Most experienced towers are familiar with their load weight and capacities, but many tend to overlook tongue weight, which is equally important as the rest.

Continue reading for a brief explanation of these weights, with a primary focus on tongue weight.

Indianapolis Towing & Recovery 317-247-8484

What is Tongue Weight?

Tongue weight is the downward force or pressure the trailer puts on the back of the towing vehicle (specifically on the ball by the trailer coupler). Why is this weight measurement important? Well, too much weight on the back of the vehicle can cause it to raise in the front, thus making the rear brakes work too hard. Too little weight can cause the trailer and vehicle to be unleveled, which is dangerous while taking turns or driving at high speeds.

Tongue weight should never be more than 15% of the total trailer weight, including the weight of its cargo. This weight calculation is referred to as “gross trailer weight”, which is the same as “gross vehicle mass”, or “GVM.” See our blog, “Towing Acronyms for Vehicle Manufacturer Specifications” to learn all the weight definitions for safe towing. For now, here are two additional towing weight definitions you need to know in order to tow a trailer safely:

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) – The acronym, “GVWR” stands for “Gross Vehicle Weight Rating”, which refers to the maximum recommended weight of the vehicle or trailer when it is fully loaded in adherence to the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) – The acronym, “GCVWR” stands for “Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating”, which refers to the combined weight of a trailer and the towing vehicle, including all passengers, as well as, fuel, equipment, and the cargo on the trailer.

Unsure of Your Towing Weight Capacities?

If you are not sure what your weight capacities are for your trailer and towing vehicle, refer to the owners’ manual for both. See our blog, “What is a Compliance Certification Label and Where is it on My Car?” to learn more about the importance of calculating these figures. If you need to replace a lost owners’ manuals for your trailer and/or vehicle, you can download them online, sometimes for free.

Need Professional Towing?

Zore's Towing Indianapolis 317-247-8484
Indianapolis Towing & Roadside Assistance 317-247-8484

Call Zore’s Inc. at 317-247-8484 for friendly 24 hour towing in Central Indiana. We open a family-owned and operated business for 90 years, so you can trust us for prompt and professional service. We are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year, so our certified tow truck operators can be there for you anytime, any day! Request free estimates, anytime.