Ratings -vs- Non Ratings

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Mar 3, 2013
Is it safe to say that ?Ratings? are set and established numbers as dictated by the manufacturer regardless if it?s for the prime mover or the trailer?

Is it also safe to say that ?Non-Ratings, (my own colloquialism?), are measured weights determined by scale? E.g. gross vehicle weight, gross combined weight, gross axle weight?

I have a lot of data for two prime movers and 12 trailers that I am working with in order to get closer to three trailers to choose from. Distance prevents me from taking my truck to a weighing scale. Distance also requires research from the internet.


Sorry, but I can't figure out what your question may be, Reggie. Ratings are maximum values set by the manufacturer of the vehicle, whether it be a tow vehicle (truck) or trailer or motorhome. Gross Vehicle Weight RATING, Gross Combined Weight RATING, Gross Axle Weight RATING, etc.

Measured or scaled weights are just that - an actual value obtained on a scale. It is compared to a Rating to see if you have equaled or exceeded the manufacturer's specs for a given parameter.
Reggie, click the Glossary button above and go to Weight ratings for an explanation of the various ratings.
I think I know what you are asking.....

What a lot of people don't understand is that manufacturers do not build vehicles and then test them to see what they will be rated at.

Manufacturers build their vehicles to standards that are set out by the marketing dept. Engineering takes those standards and determine what parameters are needed to meet those standards while staying within a set budget.
Wayne, Gary and Tom,

I appreciate your efforts. Gary, you did answer my question. I can only do so much research before I have to take my vehicle to the weighing scale.

Here is another question. Do all weighing scales enable you to measure all the data required to ensure your within the safety limits as projected by the manufacturer?

For example: The individual axle and GVW, in order to determine the rear axle weight? How about the right and left side scale weight of the prime mover? Then determining the individual axle and GVW of the trailer? and finally the left and right side of the trailer?

What is the average cost to doing this and how long should it take?

Thanks in advance.


While I appreciate a fellow who is thorough, you may be making this more difficult than it needs to be. You don't need a micrometer when you are cutting with an axe, so to speak.

Have you read the Library article on weighing trailers? If not, time to do so now.

And the companion article on towing capacity:

I haven't been to a scale in a few years, but my last weight was under $10. It was a three segment scale, so could weigh three separate axles at one time (and that gives you a total as well).  Most weigh stations aren't set up for corner or side weights, but that is of concern only when setting tire pressure and it can be estimated well enough anyway.

You may want to make two passes, one with the trailer hitched and one without, just to get the bare truck numbers. Not totally necessary, but nice to know.
The scales at truck stops, e.g. the common CAT scale, will have three segments as in the article Tom mentioned. Scales at local moving & storage companies, grain elevators and gravel yards will usually be just single element "table" type and require more maneuvering and several passes to get all the data.

Very informative and your right. Perhaps I am making this harder than what it seems. I understand all the definitions, the articles, and the video. It seems pretty easy until I start putting together scenarios. Thanks for the data and the reference materials. Have a good day.


There is an RV-specific safety program by RVSEF that includes weighing, often seen at rallies etc. They do per-wheel weights and explain them. We had it done at an Escapees event and felt it was helpful. Their events list is here: http://rvsafety.com/weighing-schedule/  Under "Weighing Program" they have more info including definitions, FWIW.
Never been to a rally before. Perhaps my wife and I can make it to one in October. We shall see. Thanks for the link. By the way what is FWIW?

Mahalo nui loa!
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