Weighing your RV

Weighing your RV can be the difference between a safe, enjoyable trip and a costly, disastrous trip. The Recreation Vehicle Safety Education Foundation (RVSEF) has weighed well over 10,000 motor homes and trailers in conjunction with RV events. The results are a real eye opener. Nearly a quarter of the RVs weighed had loads that exceeded the capacity of the tires on the vehicles. On average, these RVs were overloaded by over 900 pounds based on manufacturer specifications. In a separate survey conducted by Bridgestone / Firestone, 4 out of 5 RVs had at least one under inflated tire, a third of which were dangerously under inflated and at risk of failure. Most of the weight was on the rear. 40% of all rear tires were overloaded. Improper weight distribution resulted in 28% of all motor homes being out of balance by 400 pounds or more from one axle end to the other.

With multiple slide out rooms, amenities like washers and dryers, holding tank capacities and the ample amount of storage space available on modern RVs it’s easy to see why so many RVs are overloaded. Add this to the fact that many RVs are already close to capacity when they leave the factory and the problem is magnified. Overloaded RVs are extremely dangerous. That’s the bottom line.

Driving or towing an overloaded RV is a leading cause for RV accidents. The suspension system, tires, wheels, brakes, axles, and the RV itself all have weight ratings. Weight ratings are established by the manufacturer and are based on the weakest link in the chain. When you exceed a weight rating you are overloading one or more components on the RV and risk wearing the component out prematurely or complete failure of the component.

The first step to weighing your RV is to find scales. This shouldn’t be a problem; you can look in the Yellow Pages under moving and storage companies, gravel pits and commercial truck stops. There are several different kinds of scales. What is important is to find scales where you can weigh individual wheel positions in addition to the overall weight, and the axle weights. When you weigh your RV and/or tow vehicle they should be fully loaded for travel. Always keep in mind that weighing your RV is a snapshot in time. Weights can and do change according to how you load and distribute the weight in your RV and on many other factors. You should get in the practice of weighing your RV periodically to stay within all weight ratings. Whenever an overload condition exists resolve the problem before using your RV.

To download some helpful brochures on RV tire care & how to weigh your RV go to http://www.bridgestonetrucktires.com/us_eng/rv/index.asp

Happy RV Learning,

Mark Polk
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