Glossary terminology for Truck, SUV Payloads and Trailer Weights. Check back as this list will grow
|When towing live cargo such as horses with their high center of gravity, swatting flies with their tails, it is advisable to not tow at the maximum trailer capacity.Base Curb Weight: the empty weight of a vehicle including all standard equipment, 150# driver and a full tank of fuel. Does not include cargo, options or passengers.Base Curb Weight plus Cargo Weight plus Passenger Weight equals Gross Vehicle Weight.Cargo Weight: includes all weight added to the Base Curb Weight. When towing , trailer tongue weight is included in Cargo Weight. Truck, SUV and Trailer terminology for loads and towing.Payload: the combined maximum allowable weight of cargo and passengers that the truck is designed to carry.Gross Vehicle Weight Rating minus the Curb Weight equals Payload.GVW: Gross Vehicle Weight – the actual loaded weight of your vehicle, the Base Curb Weight plus actual Cargo Weight plus passengers.Gross Vehicle Weight plus Loaded Trailer Weight equals Gross Combination Weight, GCW must not exceed GCWR.
GVWR: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating – the maximum allowable weight of the fully-loaded vehicle with axles (including passengers and cargo).
The GVW must never exceed the GVWR.
GAW: Gross Axle Weight- the total weight placed on each axle, (front and rear.) The easiest way to get this number is to drive just the front axle of the loaded truck with the loaded trailer on a scales and then drive the all the loaded truck’s tires on the scale with the loaded trailer still connected but not on the scale. Subtract the front axle weight from the total loaded truck weight and you have the rear axle weight.
GAWR: Gross Axle Weight Rating- the maximum weight to be carried by a single axle, (front or rear.)
The total load of each axle must never exceed its GAWR.
GCW: Gross Combination Weight- the weight of the loaded vehicle, (GVW) plus the weight of the fully loaded trailer.
GCWR: Gross Combination Weight Rating- the maximum allowable weight of the towing vehicle and the loaded trailer, including all cargo and passengers.
The Gross Combination Weight must never exceed the GCWR.
GTW: Gross Trailer Weight – the actual total weight of the loaded trailer. Trailer- Gross Vehicle Weight not to exceed the GVWR of the trailer.
TW: Tongue Weight – refers to the amount of the trailer’s weight that presses down on the trailer hitch, whether a bed mount hitch, (mini- fifthwheel or ball) or a receiver hitch attached at the rear of the truck.
WDH: Weight distributing hitch
Trailer and Receiver Hitches Classes and Types. Mounted to the trucks frame.
Class I-Light Duty: 2000#’s maximum trailer weight. 200# tongue weight, 300 #’s with weight distributing hitch.
Class II- Medium Duty: 3500#’s maximum trailer weight. 300# tongue weight, 500#’s with weight distributing hitch.
Class III- Heavy Duty: 5000#’s maximum trailer weight. 7500#’s trailer weight with a weight distributing hitch. 300 – 500# tongue weight. Up to 750# tongue weight with weight distributing hitch.
Class IV-Extra-Heavy-Duty: 10,000 to 12,000#’s and above maximum trailer weight depending on the manufacture. 1,000# tongue weight with a weight distributing hitch. Class V receiver hitch can be over 12,000#’s.
Caution: Always read the label on the hitch including factory equipped receivers. Some hitches are rated their maximum capacity only if you use a Weight Distribution Hitch.
Trailer brakes and cab controls are needed on trailers weighing over 1500#’s. Surge brakes used commonly on boats will not have a manual control in the cab, but rely on the movement of the tow vehicle to activate the trailer brakes.
Weight Carrying Hitch or Drawbar: All the Tongue Weight of the trailer is carried by the hitch.
Weight Carrying Hitch or Draw Bar or Stinger or Ball Mount
Weight Distributing Hitch: Most of the trailer’s Tongue Weight is transferred to the tow vehicle’s frame (through the hitch receiver). Total load is distributed to all the axles of the truck and trailer. For more info on WDH, click
With gooseneck trailers, tall modern trucks don’t always allow you much clearance between the bedrail and gooseneck floor. Eight inches is usually good clearance considering dips and potholes.
1/2 ton, 3/4 ton or 1 ton? Rear Axles Explained
Long box or short box?
Duals or Single Rear Wheels?
Limited slip differentials.
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Always read your owners manual about your particular trucks weight limits, pulling limits, and gross vehicle weight rating!