It is that time of year again when we will be pulling out the RV and hitting the road. So it is time for your annual safety briefing as well. I want to bring up a subject that I feel is so important. Your RV Weight. These homes on wheels have a limited amount of weight that the RV can safely handle. It is called the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or GVWR. This is the maximum you can safely put on the wheels and tongue of the RV. It is also the maximum LEGAL weight you can have. If you exceed this weight and you have an accident, you can be held accountable for the accident, even though you were not at fault, because your vehicle had exceeded its weight limit. So how do you determine your weight? Go to a truck stop that has a CAT scale, spend $11 or $12 dollars and have the RV weighed. Compare the value you will be given to the RV sticker that shows the GVWR. If you are overweight, you need to remove stuff from the rig until you are back under the GVWR.
Overweight is the leading cause for RV accidents. When you are overweight you stress the tires and they blow out. In addition, tires pressure needs to be increased as the weight increases. Failure to have the proper pressure for the weight they are carrying will cause the sidewalls to bulge and also leads to premature failure of the tires (blow out) which causes loss of control, damage to the RV and possible loss of life.
When you have your rig weighed you will be given a sheet of paper that shows the weight on each wheel. This is very important information as it determines the pressure for that tire.
Let me show you an example. I have Good Year tires on our Class A. According to the weigh ticket my front axle weighs 8960 lbs. Divide that by two and each tire is carrying about 4,500 lbs. I rounded up for safety. At that weight the tire pressure according to Good Year should be 90 PSI. My rear wheels are dual tires. My rear axle weight is 16,180. Divided by 4 is 4,050. Again according to Good Year, my tire pressure for the rear wheels should be 85 PSI. So you can see that the tire pressures are different for the front and back. Since these tires can be pressurized to 120 PSI, I keep the all at 95-100 PSI most of the time.
How often should you weigh the RV? If you are pretty constant with how you travel, once should be enough I would guess. But if your load changes, or you start carrying water or propane when you didn’t use to then weigh your rig again. If in doubt, weigh it again. It is better safe than sorry. Remember SAFETY IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.