What is Gross Vehicle Weight Rating?
Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is a term used to describe the maximum amount of weight a vehicle can safely hold. This includes its curb weight – the total weight of the vehicle before it is in use – as well as passengers, fuel, cargo, and vehicle accessories such as a toolbox. GVWR is usually found on the placard attached to the driver’s side door. To find out how much extra “stuff” you can take with you, subtract the vehicle’s curb weight from its GVWR. Gross combined weight rating (GCWR) is a similar concept, but it applies to the combined weight of a vehicle and a trailer, including all fluids, passengers, and cargo. Knowing your GVWR and GCWR limits is important to ensure your vehicle is not overloaded.
What are the Different Ways to Find out the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating Using the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)?
1. Use a Vin Decoder
Using a VIN decoder is a great way to find out the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of a vehicle. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:
Step 1: Go to https://vpic.nhtsa.dot.gov/decoder/ and enter the full VIN into NHTSA’s VIN decoder, then click Decode VIN.
Step 2: Look for the build data from the manufacturer which can be found at the bottom of the page result. This build data will include the GVWR for the vehicle in question.
Step 3: If the build data does not have GVWR listed, refer to the field at the bottom of the page result which lists the build plant and country for the searched vehicle. Contact the vehicle manufacturer to inquire about the GVWR.
Step 4: If necessary, refer to the sticker on the vehicle which contains the VIN. This sticker may also include other important information, such as the engine type and emission certification.
By following these steps, you can use a VIN decoder to find out the GVWR of a vehicle.
2. Check the Vehicle’s Title or Registration
To check the vehicle’s title or registration to find out the gross vehicle weight rating using the VIN, follow the steps below:
Locate the vehicle’s VIN. It is typically found on the dashboard of the driver’s side, where the door latches when closed on the driver’s side door, or on the vehicle’s title, registration, or insurance card.
Use the VIN to check the vehicle’s title or registration. The title or registration will list the gross vehicle weight rating (GVW).
If the GVW is not listed on the title or registration, check the owner’s manual. The manual will list the car’s curb weight. It can also typically be found on a sticker inside the driver’s door jamb.
If the GVW is still not found, unfortunately it cannot be identified by VIN. However, this information is usually included on the trailer’s info plate or sticker.
3. Read the Truck’s Owner’s Manual
Step 1: Find the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). The VIN can be found on the driver’s side door jamb or inside the owner’s manual.
Step 2: Use the VIN to determine the truck’s towing capacity. Automakers have calculators that can help you determine the towing capacity of the vehicle using the VIN.
Step 3: Find the curb weight of the truck listed in the owner’s manual. This can also typically be found on a sticker in the driver’s door jamb.
Step 4: Add the weight of cargo, fuel, and passengers to the curb weight to calculate the maximum weight the truck can safely haul.
Step 5: Subtract this number from the truck’s gross vehicle weight rating (GCWR) to determine the maximum towing capacity. The GCWR can be found in the owner’s manual or in the vehicle specification page of the manufacturer’s website.
4. Ask the Truck’s Manufacturer
To ask the manufacturer of a truck about its gross vehicle weight rating using the vehicle identification number (Vin), you will need to do the following steps:
Find the VIN sticker of the truck. It is usually located on the driver’s side door jam or on the dashboard.
Use a VIN decoder to view the information provided on the sticker.
Contact the manufacturer of the truck and provide them with the VIN.
Ask the manufacturer for the truck’s gross vehicle weight rating.
Check the vehicle specification page of the truck’s manufacturer to find the GCWR and towing capacity numbers.
5. Research the Truck’s Specifications on the Internet
Researching the specifications of a truck on the internet is a simple process. You will need to know the truck’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) in order to get the most accurate information. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to research the specifications of a truck on the internet:
Step 1: Visit the website of the specific truck manufacturer. For example, RAM Trucks, Ford, or Toyota.
Step 2: Look for a ‘towing calculator’ or VIN decoder option on the website. For example, RAM Trucks has a towing calculator.
Step 3: Enter your truck’s VIN and select any other necessary options.
Step 4: Review the specifications, such as the Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) and towing capacity.
Step 5: To compute a maximum towing capacity, check the curb weight on the VIN sticker and then add the weight of the cargo, fuel, and weight of your passengers. Subtract this number from the vehicle’s GCWR (which can often be found on a truck’s door sticker).
Step 6: Consider other factors that can contribute to a pickup’s towing capability, such as the engine type, axle ratios, transmissions, chassis, suspension, tires and load ratings, hitch type and class, and trailer type.
By following these steps, you should be able to research the specifications of a truck on the internet quickly and accurately.
6. Check the Truck’s Towing Capacity
Step 1: Check the vehicle identification number (VIN) sticker on the driver’s side door for the curb weight of the truck.
Step 2: Add the weight of any passengers, fuel, and cargo to the curb weight.
Step 3: Subtract this number from the truck’s gross combination weight rating (GCWR), which can be obtained using the VIN if it is not on the door sticker.
Step 4: This is the max towing capacity for the truck.
Step 5: Check to make sure the hitch can also handle this weight.
Step 6: Consult the owner’s manual or manufacturer’s online tools to determine the base and max towing capacity for the vehicle in question.
7. Check the Truck’s Trailer Weight Label
Step 1: Locate the VIN label on your trailer. On newer trailers, it can be found on the driver’s side and on older trailers, it can be found on the tongue.
Step 2: Check for the GVWR. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is typically noted on the VIN label.
Step 3: Weigh the trailer by driving your vehicle onto a certified scale and measuring its weight.
Step 4: Subtract the trailer weight from the GVWR to calculate the maximum payload capacity.
Step 5: Measure tongue weight on a certified scale. First, drive your tow vehicle onto the scale and measure its weight. Then, measure the total weight of your trailer and subtract the trailer weight from the total weight of your trailer and vehicle combined. The difference between the two is the tongue weight.
8. Check the Vehicle’s Safety Certificates
Step 1: Go to the website https://vpic.nhtsa.dot.gov/decoder/ and enter the 17-character Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
Step 2: Click “Decode VIN” to get the vehicle information, including the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).
Step 3: Check the vehicle safety certificates to verify that the GVWR matches the information reported by the NHTSA.
Step 4: If the GVWR is not accurate, contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to report the incorrect information and request a correction.
9. Check the Vehicle’s Emissions Inspection Program
Step 1: Check the tenth position of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). If the 10th position of the VIN is a letter “A” or “B”, the vehicle was manufactured on or after October 27, 2008, and the corresponding amendments made in this rule will apply. If the 10th position of the VIN is any other letter, the vehicle was manufactured on or after April 30, 2009, and the corresponding amendments made in this rule will apply.
Step 2: Check the seventh digit of the VIN. This digit can be used to designate the emission certification of the vehicle. Yuli Chew provided a detailed chart of proposed characters to designate various emission certifications.
Step 3: Check the eighth digit of the VIN. This digit can be used to indicate the engine type, with a detailed chart of engine types and characters to represent them provided by Yuli Chew.
Step 4: Check the VIN for additional information related to State inspection and maintenance programs. This information may include the vehicle’s fuel type or type of hybrid technology and the maximum speed capability of low-speed motor-driven cycles.
Step 5: Check the VIN for motor vehicle test group and engine family, as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 40 CFR Part 86. This information can be used to support air quality monitoring efforts.
10. Ask a Mechanic
If you’re unsure if your V6 engine will be strong enough for towing, you should determine your vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). To do this, you’ll need to use your vehicle identification number (VIN). Here are the steps to follow to ask a mechanic to do this for you:
Contact a professional mechanic or the manufacturer of your vehicle to get the VIN.
Provide the VIN to the mechanic or manufacturer, who will then look up your vehicle’s GVWR.
Ask the mechanic to check the brakes, tires and other components to make sure they are suitable for towing.
Ask the mechanic if any modifications to your vehicle are necessary to increase its towing capacity.
Once the mechanic has provided you with the GVWR, you can compare it against the weight of the trailer/cargo to determine if it is suitable for your V6 engine.
By following these steps, you can ask a mechanic to determine the GVWR of your vehicle using its VIN. Additionally, the mechanic can advise you on the best modifications to make to your vehicle to increase its towing capacity, so you can safely and confidently pull your trailer or cargo.
How to Use the Information About Gross Vehicle Weight Rating From the VIN?
Step 1: Determine what weight rating is required for the vehicle you are looking for
To determine the weight rating for the vehicle you’re looking for, you will need to first determine the curb weight of the vehicle. This number can typically be found on the VIN sticker. You should also estimate the passenger weight based on the maximum number of passengers who could ride in the vehicle.
Once you have the curb weight and estimated passenger weight, subtract the total from your vehicle’s Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR). This number can be looked up using your VIN or found on the VIN sticker on the vehicle’s door.
The total you get after completing this step is the vehicle’s max towing capacity. You can also use the gross vehicle weight range/tonnage categories to determine the class of vehicle you have. The U.S. government classifies vehicles into various classes based on the GVWR and you can find your vehicle’s GVWR on the plate affixed to the sidewall.
Finally, you should also check to make sure the hitch can handle the weight of the vehicle you’re looking for. To ensure the safest towing experience, it is important to be familiar with the various weight ratings and terms.
Step 2: Find out whether the vehicle has been approved for that weight rating
To find out if your vehicle has been approved for a given gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) from the VIN, take the following steps:
Look up your VIN at the manufacturer’s website.
Once you have your VIN, check the website for the specific GVWR for your vehicle.
Refer to the vehicle’s owner’s manual or the sticker in the driver’s door jamb to find the curb weight of the vehicle.
Determine the passenger weight by looking at the maximum number of passengers who could ride in the vehicle.
Subtract the total from #3 and #4 from the vehicle’s GCWR.
The total you get after completing #5 is the vehicle’s max towing capacity.
Check to make sure the hitch can also handle this weight.
Step 3: Research how to install a weight distribution hitch
Step 1: Find out curb weight (on VIN sticker).
Step 2: Add the weight of passengers, fuel, and cargo to the curb weight.
Step 3: Subtract this number from your vehicle’s GCWR ( you may have to look this up using your VIN if it’s not on the door sticker).
Step 4: This is your max towing capacity.
Step 5: Check to make sure the hitch can also handle this weight.
Step 6: Determine the appropriate hitch class for your tow vehicle and trailer.
Class I — Generally used for small and midsize cars and crossovers, Class I hitches can pull up to 2,000 pounds and generally withstand a tongue weight of 200 pounds.
Class II — Generally used for large cars, crossovers , and minivans , Class II hitches can pull up to 3,500 pounds and withstand a tongue weight of 350 pounds.
Class III — Generally used for full-size vans, trucks, and SUVs , Class III hitches can pull up to 5,000 pounds and withstand a tongue weight of 800 pounds.
Class IV — Generally used on full-size vans, trucks, and SUVs, Class IV hitches can pull up to 10,000 pounds and withstand a tongue weight of 1,200 pounds.
Class V — These hitches can pull up to 20,000 pounds and get used only with full-size trucks or SUVs specifically configured for towing heavy loads. Class V can withstand a tongue weight of up to 2,000 pounds.
Step 7: Calculate the Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) and Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) using the weight of the trailer and vehicle combined.
Step 8: Ensure that the Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) and Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) do not exceed the max towing capacity of your tow vehicle.
Step 9: Research weight distribution hitches that are compatible with the class of your tow vehicle and trailer.
Step 10: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install the weight distribution hitch according to the size and weight of your trailer.
Step 4: Research and consider options for upgrading the brakes, tires and axles
Step 1: Research options for upgrading the brakes on your tow vehicle. Look for brake pads and rotors that are designed for heavier towing loads. Look for reviews and ratings to find the best option for your vehicle.
Step 2: Consider upgrading the axles. Talk to RV shops to see what upgrades they offer. Ask what the differences are between the standard axles and the beefier versions.
Step 3: Research tire options. Ask around to find which tires are best suited to hauling an RV. Avoid low-resistance tires that improve gas mileage as they can limit the weight a vehicle can pull.
Step 4: Consider aftermarket wheels. Look into the pros and cons of larger wheels and how they may impact your vehicle’s performance and towing capacity.
Step 5: Research different technologies that help make towing safer. Talk to truck manufacturers to learn about new technologies available to make towing safer.
Step 5: Learn about GCWR, curb weight and know what it means
GCWR, or Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating, is the maximum combined weight of a tow vehicle and trailer. It includes the GVWR, or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, of both the tow vehicle and trailer, as well as the weight of any cargo that may be loaded in either. Knowing your GCWR is important because it is the maximum limit for the combined weight of the vehicle and trailer. If the GCWR is exceeded, the tow vehicle could become unstable and dangerous, leading to a potential accident.
Curb Weight is the weight of a vehicle without any passengers or cargo, and includes only the weight of the fluids needed for the vehicle to run. It is an important factor in determining the GVWR, as it can be subtracted from the GVWR to determine how much payload and cargo the vehicle can safely handle. Knowing your curb weight can also help you determine your vehicle’s towing capacity, since you need to subtract the curb weight from the GCWR to find out how much additional weight your vehicle can handle.
Step 6: Study about the installation of a weight distribution hitch, changing the tires, and upgrading the hitch
Step 1: Determine the curb weight of your tow vehicle – this can be found on the vehicle’s VIN sticker.
Step 2: Add the weight of passengers, fuel, and cargo to the curb weight.
Step 3: Subtract this number from the vehicle’s Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR). This is the maximum towing capacity for your vehicle.
Step 4: Check to make sure the hitch can handle the weight you are aiming to tow. Both the hitch and the tow vehicle’s rating should not be exceeded.
Step 5: If you need to increase towing capacity, you can upgrade the hitch class. If your tow vehicle can accommodate the upgrade, stepping up in hitch class may get you the bump you need.
Step 6: Install a weight distribution hitch. This type of hitch uses spring bars to help level the load a trailer places on your tow vehicle and reduce sway.
Step 7: Replace tires with low-resistance tires that improve gas mileage. Be sure the tire vendor knows they are working on a tow vehicle.
Step 8: Load your trailer properly to maintain a proper tongue weight. This will ensure the safest towing experience.
Step 9: Stay safe on the road. Learn how to properly hitch the trailer and the best way to load your trailer.
Step 7: Read about DOT regulatory policies and procedures related to civil justice reform
The Department of Transportation has established policies and procedures for civil justice reform in 49 CFR part 565. This rule specifies the preemptive effect, any effect on existing federal law or regulation, clear legal standards for affected conduct, retroactive effect, whether administrative proceedings are required before parties may file suit in court, definitions of key terms, and other important issues affecting clarity and general draftsmanship of regulations. Additionally, the Department of Transportation has represented its commitment to civil justice reform in Executive Order 12988, which requires agencies to make every reasonable effort to ensure that regulations specify in clear language the preemptive effect, effect on existing federal law or regulation, clear legal standards for affected conduct, retroactive effect, whether administrative proceedings are required before parties may file suit in court, explicitly or implicitly define key terms, and address other important issues affecting clarity and general draftsmanship of regulations.
Step 8: Familiarize yourself with GCVWR and understand its importance
GCVWR stands for Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating and is the total amount for your loaded truck and trailer. It is important to know this value when using VIN information in order to calculate your towing capacity and ensure you are not overloading your vehicle. Knowing your GCVWR ensures that you are safely using your vehicle and trailer and are not exceeding the maximum weight the vehicle is capable of carrying. Additionally, commercial trucking companies need to know the GVW of the trucks they are transporting in order to avoid fines for overloading. Knowing your GCVWR is especially important for pickup truck owners, since they carry significantly more cargo than a passenger vehicle. Knowing your GVWR and subtracting your curb weight from it will tell you how much extra “stuff” you can take with you. The GVWR can be found on the placard attached to the driver’s side door and the curb weight can be determined by taking your vehicle with all its gear to a weigh station. The GCVWR is not encoded directly in the VIN pattern, however it can be found through most commercial vehicle data solutions by searching by VIN or YMMT (year, make, model, trim).