Gross Vehicle Weight Rating and Why It’s Important

Created July 21, 2017

Western plow

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is quite possibly the most important truck statistic in the plowing industry. It refers to the total vehicle weight that the truck can handle while still operating safely, and it’s the basis for every aspect of how the truck operates. When you use plows, and especially spreaders, your truck will frequently approach its GVWR limit.

What’s the Big Deal If I Exceed my GVWR limit?

It’s Illegal: At the highest and most obvious level, it’s the law. If you exceed your GVWR and you get stopped and weighed, you’ll get a ticket. It’s not “just a number.” GVWR limits exist for a reason. The manufacturer put that particular number down on the data plate because they want to keep you and others safe.

It’s Dangerous: If you go over your weight limit, your truck’s brakes may not stop the vehicle in a short enough distance to ensure that you won’t have an accident, given human reaction time. Also, if you see something in the road and have to maneuver suddenly to avoid it, your truck may not handle as expected. The GVWR is the last safe point where you can be sure that if you are properly alert and following traffic laws, you will not endanger pedestrians, property or other drivers.

It’s Damaging to Your Truck: In general, as you move down the road with a load above your GVWR, you are putting a strain on your truck’s wheel bearings, causing them to wear out faster. You can also cause long-term damage to the steering system. In severe cases, the added weight could increase the internal tire pressure to the point that you could have blowouts. Hitting bumps in the road could bottom out your suspension and damage springs, as well as create a number of other problems, all of them expensive.

It’ll Shorten Your Truck’s Life: Exceeding the recommended weight on your truck puts a strain on the entire truck: the frame, suspension, body and every other part of the truck. Over the long term, metal flexes and fatigues at a much higher rate when excessive weight is applied.

However long your truck was going to last you before you overloaded it, you can be sure that driving around with too much weight is going to shorten the life of your truck.

For more information on how to determine your gross vehicle weight rating, visit your local WESTERN dealer.