GVWR: What Does It Mean and Why Does It Matter?


GVWR is an acronym that is applied to every vehicle approved for sale in the United States and Canada: Gross Vehicle Weight Registered. This is a measurement that says that your vehicle is designed to not exceed this value. It is the total weight of the vehicle itself, its passengers and its load.

This is a safety net that is influenced by the stopping power of your brakes, your overall weight, engine power and wheelbase. All of these factors are influences on the GVWR and all matter.

Consider this: if you build the coolest Overland Tacoma in the world, equipped with a roof top tent, all the gear you might need, a full tool set, food, water, fuel – the list goes on and on, and when you consider that a gallon of water or fuel weighs 8 pounds by itself, you can understand how quickly weight can get the best of you. Not to mention all those modifications that were done, putting on heavy steel skid plates and bumpers, also ate at the margin as well.

All of a sudden, your Overland Tacoma build is 1,500 pounds in excess of the maximum GVWR Toyota designed your truck to be at. Now ask yourself, what do you think would happen if you got into an accident and happened to kill someone in your overweight truck? Even someone who is not a lawyer can recognize that that is a can of worms not worth opening. Additionally, the performance of the vehicle suffers immensely when placed under those conditions, and vast amounts of fuel are consumed to get it up to speed.

GVWR indicators are located on the manufacturer’s specifications sticker on the inside door jam of the driver door, as well as in the owner’s manual of the vehicle.

Looking for the easiest way to see if your vehicle is portly or lean? Look no further than your nearest truck stop! Truck stops all over the country are equipped with certified CAT Weigh Stations so that your friendly trucker can make sure they’re staying within the confines of their weight restrictions. Pull up to the weigh station, grab your ticket and up onto the scale you go. Once you have the all clear you can pull off and grab your weight stub to compare.

Not only is this a great way of making sure you’re within the confines of the law, it’s also a fantastic way to set the bar for yourself to know if all the things you’re wanting to bring on that camping trip are really needed and how much they all weigh. A light vehicle is a happy vehicle.

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