How to Find a Gross Vehicle Weight

by Casey Kennedy

The gross vehicle weight, or GVW, of a vehicle is the total weight of a vehicle including the driver, passenger and cargo placed in or secured on top of the vehicle. Unlike the curb weight of a vehicle, which does not change, the GVW varies depending on items or passengers added or subtracted from the vehicle. This number is important to know when loading a vehicle since it helps to ensure that weight is distributed evenly and that you do not overload the vehicle. An overloaded vehicle can cause brake failure and other safety hazards.

Consult your owner's manual or the vehicle manufacturer's website to determine the curb weight (empty weight) of your vehicle.

Locate the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) on the door pillar of the driver's side of the vehicle. The GVWR is the total weight that is allowed for your vehicle.

Add the curb weight of the vehicle to the combined weight of the driver, passengers and cargo. This is the gross vehicle weight. Check to ensure that the vehicle is not over the GVWR before operating the vehicle.


  • Place heavier items in the lowest part of the vehicle. Distribute the weight of the items as evenly as possible to avoid problems with the way the vehicle steers and handles.

Items you will need

About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Casey Kennedy has been writing online content since 2009. She specializes in writing about small business, careers, real estate, and ecommerce. She also enjoys writing about a variety of other subjects, including home improvement, gardening, and pet care. She attended the Academy of Art online, studying interior architecture and design while pursuing commercial flight training at Aviation Atlanta in Georgia.

More Articles

Photo Credits

  • off-road vehicle image by goce risteski from Fotolia.com