Where and How To Weigh Your Travel Trailer (Or Other RV’s)

Where and How To Weigh Your Travel Trailer (Or Other RV’s)

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The most common way to weigh a travel trailer or any other type of RV is to use CAT scale at a truck stop or a gas station. It can cost you anything between $10 to $20. Weighing process is made simple with CAT scale mobile application that identifies your current CAT scale location and also emails you the measured weight data.

Follow below steps:

1. Download the CAT scale mobile app “weighmytruck

2. Locate the nearest CAT scale.

3. Be ready with your RV fully loaded with all the items.

4. Travel to the CAT scale location. Wait for your turn to come.

5. Place the RV on the scale with all the tire position properly.

6. In case of travel trailer, you can weigh each, towing vehicle and trailer separately and both together as well.

7. Once you place the RV, open the app. Using GPS it will show your exact CAT location address. Accept it, if it is correct.

8. Fill in all data like RV type and then start the weighing process on the APP.

9. This, then need to be accepted by the station master.

10. Once it is accepted, make the payment.

11. You will see the weight data for your RV on the app and also receive an email from CAT. CAT provides a guarantee on the weights that they measure.

Watch below video to know the exact details on how to use the app and weigh your motorhome or travel trailer.

using CAT scale for weighing a motorhome

Where and how to weigh travel trailer

Not many people weigh their RV’s or trailers correctly. Many of us would be not even weighing them and just assuming the weight.

Its good to have an assumption on weight, but its more safe to know the exact weight when it comes to a towing a travel trailer or fifth wheel.

There are many parameters in trailer weight terminology and knowing some of the basics will always help you.

If you are here to know how and where to weigh a travel trailer or any other RV then read on.

Towing a trailer is a different game altogether when you compare it with driving a motorhome.

An old guy i met couple of months ago told me about various weighing techniques he used over the years. I was not surprised about the points he made about how weights are important and weighing them correctly is critical.

Below are the different ways one can weigh a travel trailer or Motorhome.

  • CAT Weighing at Truck stops
  • Weighing at RVSEF
  • CAT scales at gas stations
  • Local weighing points

Finding specially designed weighing stations only for RV’s can be hard. But, its not hard to find weighing scales that cater to trucks.

Trucks need to be weighed more often and that’s why you would find such weighing scales for trucks everywhere. It doesn’t cost much to weigh on such scales. Most RVers will agree that, they only use truck weighing scales for measuring the RV weight.

Lets see what all different options you have to weigh your travel trailer or fifth wheel or any other RV type.

1. Truck stops – CAT weighing

truck stops for rv parking
truck stops for rv parking

The easiest way to weigh your travel trailer or any other RV is to make use of truck stops weighing scales.

You will find such trucks stops everywhere on highways. Most of the truck stops will have those weighing scales.

You should do the travel trailer weighing at certified scales only, that is CAT; which stands for “certified automotive truck”.

It is fine to do the weighing of RV or travel trailer or fifth wheel at truck stations as long as the station master allows you to do so. At most places you wont have any issue with this.

The reason why truck station weighing stops are more is because every truck has to go through this, as otherwise they may be fined for overloading.

Normally, they have particular licenses with which they can carry only up to certain limit of weight, else they need to go for up scaling the license.

Weighing by Wheel Position

The best way to do RV weighing is to measure weight by wheel position. This, however, may not possible at truck stop CAT scales.

Also, with trailer, you probably want to do it multiple times, with the truck and without truck, that is the max you could do at such truck stops.

At a normal truck station’s CAT scale, you would find multiple scales (mostly 3). You need to place your rear wheels on the first scale and position the travel trailer in such a position so that the trailer tires are on the third scales.

Once you have placed the trailer and truck on the scales correctly, the next step is to push for the weighing button and that would signal the weighing master to start the calibration.

Once the process is completed you would get a slip with all the details that will include the steer axle weight, the drive axle weight, trailer axle weight and the overall weight.

So, basically you get gross weight of RV, axle weights but not individual wheel weights and corner weights. Knowing individual weights on each of the wheel can help prevent damage to the RV but that is not accurately possible with such weighing.

2. Weigh your travel trailer or RV at RVSEF

The reason why weighing by wheel position is the most recommended way of doing is because it gives you how much weight is exerted on each of the wheels. This is the best way to know how much pressure (psi) you need on your tires, how much weight you should redistribute.

Weighing at RVSEF gives you exact weight for each of the wheels and that can help you a lot.

You would get a detailed report on all the weight parameters for your travel trailer or fifth wheel.

RVSEF (RV safety and education foundation) is basically a non profit organization that has developed weighing techniques that are accepted and recommended by tire manufacturers, RV manufactures and other industry personals/organizations.

RVSEF weighing

But, RVSEF doesn’t have weighing satiations at many locations. They have schedules and tours where-in you have to go for weighing the RV, that’s the problem.

If you see them in your area near; then its definitely worth it and try the weighing. You can visit their site and look for upcoming schedule under schedule tab.

3. CAT scales at gas stations

Gas stations like loves and others for trucks also have weighing scales for trucks.

You, as an RVer, can also use them. You need to inform the weighing master about what kind of RV you have and then proceed with placing the RV or travel trailer at the spot and then signal for weighing.

how to weigh on CAT scale

4. Other Local points for weighing

Other place where you may find the truck weighing scales is the gravel and concrete company. You can make a request to use the scale and if the manager agrees then that can be good for you. You obviously do this in case if you really don’t find a reliable weighing stops as mentioned above.

How much will it cost to weigh my rv ?

Weighing travel trailer at CAT scale costs around $10-$15.

Not a big amount to pay, considering the safety aspect of travel trailer. Weighing an RV is perhaps the best safety thing to do before going on a long trip.

This can give you lots of insights into the overall safety of your RV. You will get information on the overall weight of your rv or travel trailer.

When it comes to weight of a travel trailer, there are number of ratings that are listed by the manufacturer like GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating), GCWR (Gros Combined weight rating).

weighing a travel trailer or rv

What is trailer tongue weight and how to measure it

Weighing a travel trailer is much critical, you tow it with a car or truck and thus the whole system is dependent on weight of the trailer.

Knowing the trailer tongue weight is important, it is the weight a fully loaded trailer puts on the trailer hitch ball of the towing vehicle.

A tongue weight for most trailers will be close to 1000-2000 pounds and not beyond that.

It is normally found to be between 10-15 % of the trailer weight. That is, a trailer weighing around 12,000 pounds will have around 1200 lbs of trailer tongue weight when fully loaded.

Maintaining proper trailer tongue weight is critical for safely towing a travel trailer. Not having proper tongue weight can result in swaying of the trailer making it dangerous and difficult to control. Ideally, the travel trailer tongue weight should be 10-15% and for fifth wheel, it should be 15-30%.

So, how do you know the trailer tongue weight? There are multiple methods of doing this.

Below are the methods.

1. Use a bathroom scale to know the trailer tongue weight

You need to use a box along with a bathroom scale and place it properly to weight the tongue weight.

This is suitable for smaller trailers. You need to place the coupler of the trailer on the weighing scale which will be placed on the box. Or you can also do this using a sufficient long pipe and another support of scale’s thickness.

Place the tongue around a foot length away from the scale and find out the weight. The weight reading should be multiplied by the distance between the two supports.

2. Use safe ball-mount method

You can fix this ball-mount and fix this to your trailer tongue. It will read the weight for you and thus you need not use a commercial weighing scale for this. You can adjust it as per your needs and thus it s very convenient.

3. Use commercial scale for weighing the tongue weight

Just like how we discussed various ways of weighing a trailer, take your trailer to any commercial weighing station like a truck stop.

First weigh the trailer weight with all the four tires of the truck on scale. This will be your first weight.

Next, is to be weigh the truck without trailer, that is just unhook the trailer from truck and take the reading.

The difference between the first reading and the second reading is the tongue weight.

Trick here is, just make sure the weights that you take should be with fully loaded trailer.

You should have fuel tanks full, the water tanks should also be full. Also all the other heavy thins that you would be carrying in your trailer should be loaded at that time, that’s the best way to weigh for trailer tongue weight.

4. Use specially designed tongue weight scales

You also get scales that are specially designed and used for measuring the trailer tongue weights.

Remember, they will have certain limit up-to which they can work. It could be less than 4000 pounds or below. Normally a trailer weighing around 10,000 pounds will not have more than 1500 pounds of tongue weight.

Weighing by wheel positions is the best way to weigh ?

When you get the 4 point weighing of your RV, you get to know the exact weight distribution you should have.

When you have weight under each of the wheel, you can adjust the air pressure for those tires accordingly. Or, you can also adjust the weight in that area of the RV.

This can help a lot in managing the weight and reduce the issue related to over loading or incorrect weight distributions which results in tire blowouts and other issues.

Can such a 4 point weighing be done at truck station?

Well, this can be tried but will need multiple weighing.

With each wheel placed in that position to see how much weight is exerted. But, i guess that is going to be tedious process and no truck stop weighing station would do that for you.

You may find such 4 point weighing at private business or state scales but not so easily.

Its hard to find such weight scaling.

So, what do you do if you just get to know the gross weight and axle weights?

The best thing to do is to make sure you distribute the weight in best possible way and not overload any one particular side. Other thing to do is to make sure all the tires are inflated as per the RV manufacturer recommendations. You also need to makes sure tires are not very old and replace them within time.

Conclusion

Weighing a travel trailer or any other RV can be a significant way to  assure safety. A trailer heavily loaded and crossing the allowed or safe weight limits can be very dangerous and should always be avoided.

Various weighing methods we discussed above can be used. Truck stops for weighing are more popular because they are available very easily. But, correctly weighing your rv or trailer is important and you should do it at least before making a long trip.

You can make sure of weight and then decide how much stuff you need to reduce from the trailer. Weight distribution is also important and you shouldn’t load the trailer on only on one side. Weight distribution can help in keeping correct tire pressure in tires and avoid blowouts and other issue with tires and axles.

G. Yoganand

A RV enthusiast who spends countless hours researching and learning various things related to RV camping. He believes in spending time doing Outdoor activities.
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