How to determine a gross vehicle weight

Written by will guzzardi
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Knowing your gross vehicle weight (GVW) can be vitally important information. Many bridges are only rated for a specific vehicle weight, and if your car or truck is over that weight, you may have to reconsider your route. Furthermore, this information isn't always easy to obtain. Very few people have access to a scale that can weigh their vehicle. But with a bit of ingenuity, you can get a pretty good idea of your GVW.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging


  1. 1

    Determine the weight of your car or truck on its own. If you're only interested in ballpark figures, you can estimate that a compact car is around 1814 Kilogram; a mid-size car is around 5,000; light trucks, minivans and SUVs will weigh closer to 6,000 or 3.18 Kilogram; heavy-duty trucks may weigh as much as 5443 Kilogram. To find out exact figures, perform an Internet search for your vehicle's make and model, and find a spec sheet for your car. The vehicle weight will be buried deep in the specs, but it'll be there.

  2. 2

    Weigh your cargo. This shouldn't be much of a concern for the average driver, but if you're carrying a great deal of extra cargo, for instance in the bed of your pickup truck, try to determine the weight of this additional cargo.

  3. 3

    Calculate the total weight of your passengers. A male of average build can be estimated at 90.7 Kilogram, and a female at 59 Kilogram, but if you're looking to be precise, ask your passengers their weight, or weigh them on a bathroom scale.

  4. 4

    Add the weights of the vehicle, the cargo, and the passengers. This final sum is your gross vehicle weight.

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