DIY PROJECT, Weighing Your Truck and Trailer
September 12, 2019
Many people think that weighing their truck and trailer combo is not necessary since they are not a commercial entity. I am going to say that is wrong. I believe that the more knowledge you have, the more you can make wise choices. Especially, since adding more weight into your trailer sometimes is not noticeable on the outside.
So, how would you be able to know if you are overweight? Or if the trailer is over the maximum towing capacity of the truck? Or even overweight for your hitch?
It is very common for salespeople to sell you a trailer that is grossly over the towing capacity of your truck. So why not know the facts and prevent yourself from causing harm to others, yourself and your truck on the road?
Check your truck’s owners manual for the towing capacity.
We weigh our truck quarterly when we are on the move. We weight it empty (all tanks flushed and empty), and we weigh it once again with the freshwater full. Since when we boondock, we always end up adding more water to our fresh tank. Our tanks are as follows:
- 64-gallon freshwater
- 52-gallon gray water
- 54-gallon black water
So, as you can see, we can add a bit to our fresh water tank (close to 40-gallons) and we still are safe from overfilling the black or gray tanks. We recently started implementing weighing the truck after we finished a long boondocking trip, to ensure that the added water weight still fits in the parameters of our truck capacity to safely tow as well as the trailer axles max weight.
Parts of a Commercial Scale:
Before we talk steps, there are a few things we need to know about the commercial scales. Most commercial scales are divided into 4 different scales to be able to weigh different parts of the vehicle,
- Scale one deals with the front axle of the tow vehicle,
- Scale two deals with the rear axle of the tow vehicle.
- Scale three deals with the axles of the trailers.
- Scale four deals with the axle of the trailers if the trailer is long enough to not put weight on scale three.
I am going to touch a bit about how to weigh a truck and 5th wheel, truck and trailer, motorhome and motorhome with a tow car.
Weigh a Truck and a 5th Wheel:
When weighing your truck and fifth wheel trailer it must be completed on the scale and it is best if you position the front axle of the truck on scale 1 and the rear axle of the truck on scale 2. The trailer will be on scale 3. More about how we weigh our fifth wheel below.
Weigh a Truck and a Trailer:
When weighing your truck and trailer it must be completely on the scale and it is best if you position the front axle of the truck on scale 1, the rear axle of the truck on scale 2 and the trailer on scale 3.
Weigh a Motorhome:
When weighing your motorhome, the front axle of the motorhome is on scale 1, and the rear axle of the motorhome on scale 2.
Weigh a Motorhome and a Tow Car:
When weighing your motorhome and tow car, the front axle of the motorhome on scale 1, the rear axle of the motorhome on scale 2, and the tow car will need to be completely on scale 3.
We usually use CAT scales at truck stops. They have an app (download here) that can be downloaded. With the app, you don’t have to go into the truck stop to pick up the scale ticket; it will be emailed to you!
When was the last time you weighed your rig? If you haven’t, have you already located the most convenient scale for your next trip? Let us know in the comments below.