The EASY Way to Weigh Your RV


Weighing your RV is the “flossing” of RV ownership.

I mean, yeah, we know it’s good for us.  But it’s kind of a bother, and you get your hands all dirty (or wet), and so we just don’t do it as often as we know we should.

I’m here to change that with this video:

 

There are all sorts of reasons to weigh your rig, and I go over a few of them in this video.  Basically, they all come down to safety.  I’ve actually written detailed posts on two of these reasons before here on TheFitRV.com.  The first has to do with setting a correct tire pressure in your rig.  (News Flash:  It’s NOT NECESSARILY what’s stamped on the tires, or on the door jamb.)

How To Set the Tire Pressure in Your RV

And the second reason has to do with figuring out how much you can safely tow.  There’s math in this next post, but it’s all just addition and subtraction.

How Much Can You Tow with a Small Motorhome?

And besides, a lot of the smaller Class C motorhomes come from the factory with precious little in the way of cargo capacity to start with.  So knowing your rig’s weight can put your mind at ease (or get you to re-evaluate what you take with you on RV trips!).

And while I’d written about these things in the past, I never went into the process of actually taking the RV and weighing it.  I just left that for you to figure out.  Well, it’s not a comfortable process to figure out, and it involves bringing your rig into close proximity with lots and lots of 18-wheelers.  But now, there’s a way to get your rig’s weight without ever leaving the cab.  THAT’s what we go over in this video.  In fact, it’s SO easy, that Stef was able to do it in an evening dress and heels.  Yep.  We went there.  We use the Weigh My Truck app from CAT Scale.

One caveat here is that this (and CAT scales in general) only provide axle weights.  They don’t do four-corner weighing.  The four corner thing is ideal if you suspect you have a side-to-side imbalance in your weight distribution.  But most people aren’t imbalanced side-to-side, and four-corner weights are absolutely NOT necessary for inflating your tires or determining how much you can tow.  And besides, even if you just get axle weights on your RV you’ll be ahead of the crowd… because that’s more than about 90% of RV owners ever do anyway.

If we can get more folks out there weighing their rigs, the highways will be safer for all of us.

So do your part – take this info and go weigh your rig.  And we’ll see you out there on the road! (…but hopefully on properly inflated tires and not overloaded…)

Cheers!



James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling certified coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he works for a large IT company.


    40 thoughts on “The EASY Way to Weigh Your RV

    1. Patrick

      Obviously it is good to keep your RV within its maximum carrying capacity. However it is also worthwhile to simply keep your RV as light as you can. With each extra kilogram your RV’s performance suffers. Fuel consumption goes up and most importantly braking distance increases. So, I think it is worth considering if you will really be needing the stuff you are taking. If you have spare carrying capacity available then it is silly to just pile more stuff into the RV because you can. Lighter is always better.

      Reply
    2. tamara

      Thank you so much for all of your great posts. I am new to full timing, still figuring everything out, and have been wanting to weigh my van, it’s been so intimidating to me though. Thanks to your video I’m signed up and ready to go.

      My favorite part was Stef packing the van! 🙂

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        All Right!
        Glad we could help, and congratulations on taking steps to keep yourself safe in your new lifestyle!

        Reply
    3. Debbie

      Today, I went to weigh my Jeep Liberty to get a “base” weight with a full fuel tank, as it will be towed behind my future RV. I tried to use the app but it didn’t work. It kept me in a loop of – input the scale # – accept – confirm your vehicle/truck info – accept (3 times). The scale would weigh me but not print the results. Finally, the attendant just did a manual weigh-in without the app.

      I don’t know if the issue was that particular CAT scale or my Jeep was much lighter than they expect (though heavier than I expected). I will try it again after I confirm the items that will travel in the Jeep full time. 🙂 Thanks!

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Oh no! We’ve had nothing but good luck with the app, but as always with technology… things can happen.
        Glad you got the manual weight working. I used to always bring a long stick when going to weigh. It really helped to hit the call button (which is always about 14 feet in the air!).

        But the important thing is you got the weight. Good on you for taking the safe approach instead of just guessing!

        Reply
    4. Andrew

      I would have thought that an RV owner would know about how to weight their RV as most truck stops have a cat scale for that very purpose along with others. Didn’t think it was rocket science.

      Reply
    5. Brett

      Do you know if the app allows you to re-weigh? When you go through the weigh master you get more than one weigh for the price. This is needed for those of us that tow a trailer to get all the needed measurements.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        We have NOT seen a re-weigh feature in the app. It’s very simple, with limited controls, designed to get you weighed and get you out.
        For something like a re-weigh, I suspect you’d need to communicate with the weighmaster.

        Reply
    6. Richard D Cook

      I have wanted to weigh our 5th wheel rig and just happened upon your timely video this morning. I’m now registered with weighmytruck and have both apps. Going to pick up our 5th wheel in Pueblo after having the Morryde 4000 suspension installed and head right over to the Cat scale for an empty weight on both vehicles. Thanks so much for a fun, informative video and my assistant is also named Stef … and loves her coffee … and me sometimes…. 🙂

      Reply
    7. Brian Lojeck

      1: James, you married well above your punching weight. 🙂

      2: just went through this for the first time last week in my class B. The (very friendly) woman running the scale called my RV “that adorable little silver van?”

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        1: Don’t I know it?!
        2: How did you turn out on the weight? (And where can we find very friendly scale operators?)

        Reply
    8. Craig

      James and Stef, thank you for adding so much entertainment, knowledge and fitness to the RV community. I may know the topic but will always watch it anyway because of all the effort you two put into making the videos fun. Just ordered the bands for the us to use on the road…thanks Stef!

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Thanks, Craig. We love it when people “get” us.
        See you on the road (with your resistance bands)!

        Reply
    9. Ian

      Another option for weighing might be your local landfill, if possible. I know ours has no problem just giving you the vehicle weight. I’ve even stopped in when its quiet and they’ve done front/rear and left/right splits for me.

      Reply
    10. Pierre Turcotte

      It is also important to weigh each side of the RV so as to insure proper balancing of the load left and right and also to prevent overloading individual tire(s). You could be surprise to find that, while you respect the total axle limitation, you are way off side to side (being perfectly 50-50 is almost impossible but being 70-30 is very bad, requiring some item shuffling around!). You simply have to drive on the scale with one side off it and the side being weighed on the plateau. I personally use the DOT scales I come across along the road and I try to weigh more than once on a trip (if it stretches over many weeks) as typically, load will vary depending on the amount of supplies you have on board. It is also free, and they do not bother you if you go there when they are closed (just be sure to use one with the scale display outside!) A simple Excel worksheet does wonder to visualize the situation.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        While four corner weighing would be ideal, I’d be happy if more people weighed their rigs *AT ALL*. So I’m aiming for that.

        The “one side off” thing only works if the apron on the side of the scale is level with the scale itself. At a number of scales we’ve been to, that wouldn’t work due to that, or curbs, or cement pylons, or other obstructions. Also… doing it that way costs twice as much!

        Reply
    11. Tim

      Excellent reminder James!

      I used to weigh my 45′ Bus routinely, but they also had hydraulic lift scales at the repair facilities, so I could not only get each axle, but also each tire to ensure my side-to-side weights were within range. We’re planning on purchasing a T, so the CAT scales will certainly be in our future.

      I don’t believe the CAT scales can do each tire, but each axle should get you close, or go to an FMCA rally, etc., that may have some scales there as well. Don’t know if they had scales at the GNR …

      One thing you may have mentioned, depending on the manufacturer of your tires, is that the tire manufacturer should post the inflation psi for your tires, based on weight. At least Michelin has this advertised on their website, which is what I kept printed in the RV for insurance purposes … should I have ever needed it (which I didn’t) 🙂

      And Vanna did an outstanding job!

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        I do actually have links to tire manufacturer’s inflation/load tables in the linked post on tire inflation!

        Reply
    12. American Rambler

      Just for our information, what is the gross weight for your RV? Now especially since you have performed modifications to it. It looks like your sitting at 8700 lbs and change, plus looks like your a bit tail heavy. Thanks, Ron

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Well, this ticket came out at 8720, but we weren’t fully loaded. I’m not at all concerned about the front/back balance. The vehicle is designed for that.

        Reply
    13. Geneva S.

      I use the state weigh stations in Oregon if they are closed.
      The scales are still functional and I can get an idea before I head out on a long trip how much I can haul back with me.

      Reply
      1. Ian

        Love the ‘closed’ weigh stations on Oregon back highways. Have stopped there with my passenger cars too. And add in there’s usually enough space off the highway for a reasonable place to stop and stretch if you have to.

        Reply
    14. Gary

      James, you have one lovely assistant with a beautiful dress, but unfortunately she has horrible taste in coffee. Starbucks? Blech!!

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Oddly enough, she doesn’t usually get the coffee.
        She makes up her own recipes usually, rattling off all the ingredients in the store to some hapless barista.

        Reply
      2. Stefany

        When James read me this comment I said, “…was that written by ‘Gary’?” James all surprised and amused, YES! I told him you’re our resident coffee snob, ha! It’s been years since going round about coffee with you in old FitRV posts, but I remember! (…and love ya for it) (said as I sip today’s Starbucks concoction of awesome…) xoxo

        Reply
        1. Gary

          As long as the concoction doesn’t contain coffee. Did I ever tell you that they burn their beans intentionally and have trained millions of Americans to think overroasted beans are a good thing? The more you roast a bean the less caffeine it contains. That’s why they do dark roasts, so that they can charge extra for 2, 3, even 4 espresso shots in a latte.

        2. Stefany

          I do believe you mentioned they burn their beans, lol! But you gotta remember who you’re talking to here. You might need to cover your eyes for the next sentence, but I’m totally cool with INSTANT COFFEE! GAHHH!

    15. Cary Alburn

      Just watched your video on weighing the RV. Thank you! Lots more convenient than asking the local concrete mix company if they will weigh and at what time, with a nice record and all.

      If all it takes to get your lovely assistant into such a pretty dress is a Starbucks, give me an address to send you a Starbucks gift card. So pretty!

      Reply

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