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Weight and Safety Tip | GCWR

Weight and Safety Tip | GCWR

By Jim Koca #86367, Escapees RVers’ Boot Camp Instructor

Last issue, I covered GAWR (gross axle weight rating). This issue, I’ll cover gross combination weight rating (GCWR), another weight rating that you should be aware of if you tow a vehicle.

It is a common sight these days to see motorhomes pulling vehicles and, of course, pickups pulling trailers on the highways. The GCWR is the maximum allowable combined weight of the tow vehicle and the attached towed vehicle. This weight rating is not found on the federal data plate, but is available in the chassis manufacturer’s manual, or, for towing vehicles, it is in the manufacturer’s towing guide.

So, why do we worry about the GCWR? If this number is exceeded, you may experience reduced handling, difficulty in climbing hills, problems stopping or blown tires. The GCWR presumes that both vehicles have functioning brakes. You should never exceed your vehicle’s GCWR.

The best way to determine if you are exceeding the GCWR is to have your RV and towed vehicle weighed. The SmartWeigh program will provide you with the total weight of both units. This information can then be used to identify any weight-management issues that you have on your RV. As the owner and driver, you are responsible for the operation and safety of your RV. If you are going to tow a vehicle or trailer, it’s a smart move to play it safe by learning your vehicle’s GCWR.

One Response

  1. We do not have a fifth wheel yet, but have a Chevy 3500 Duramax Diesel. We know the weight of the truck and are trying to select a fifth wheel that will keep us in compliance. Any help would be appreciated.

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