- Wed, Dec 18, 2013
Whether you have just bought your first motor coach or if you are a veteran, questions pop up about weighing in. It’s a critical step that extends the life and your enjoyment of the coach. Here are answers to the questions we hear most frequently:
Why should I weigh my motor coach?
Motor coaches provide ample storage and amenities, so it’s easy to underestimate just how much yours is carrying. An overloaded coach can set up a chain reaction of costly breakdowns. And unexpected expenses are the last thing you want to worry about when planning a trip. Trouble is easy to prevent, if you adhere to proper weight ratings: these three minimize wear and tear, preserve the health of your motor coach and—most importantly—ensure safety.
What matters most is that your coach is within the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) specified by your manufacturer. Everything you’re carrying, the total weight, should be under the GVWR.
It’s not just the weight, though, it’s also the distribution: Gross Axle Weight Ratings (GAWR) set the parameters for maximum weight each axle can bear.
If you are towing a vehicle, Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) helps you stay within a safe weight for the entire load.
What happens when your coach is over weight? You risk stress on tires and brakes, which can snowball into suspension and other mechanical issues, not to mention dangerous travel situations.
Unequal weight distribution is just as dangerous. It’s possible to be within the proper total GVWR and GAWR ratings but still overstress an axle. The weight must be balanced between all four axles, so that tires aren’t stressed, and the only way to be sure is to weigh each axle separately.
Despite these details, it really isn’t difficult to weigh your motor coach. The first step is to find a scale, preferable a CAT scale, where you can weigh wheel position, overall weight and axle load. It helps to keep a log, so that you have a reference of previous weigh-ins. This will help you track variances and diagnose the source of potential issues—especially if you have noted what was on board at the time.
Motor coaches are complex and sophisticated, but you can preserve yours by maintaining proper overall weight, inflating tires to specification and balancing the load. How much weight can you carry? The Recreational Vehicle Safety & Education Foundation suggests up to 8.3 pounds per gallon in water, 6 in gas, 6.6 in diesel fuel and 4.5 in propane.
Where should I weigh my motor coach?
Moving companies and truck stops are good places to start, but the CAT scale locater will help you find your closest weigh station. Choosing stations along the freeway isn’t encouraged, given urgency from big rig drivers. But you’ll have a seamless experience if you contact the weigh master ahead of time and discuss your goals. He should be familiar with the requirements of your motor coach, which differ from trucks. He’ll guide you through the process.
How often should I weigh my motor coach?
Weigh-in frequency varies according to how much you travel; annually is a good benchmark, and if you add/remove cargo, it would be wise to double check weight distribution.
What is the optimal weight for my motor coach?
What’s optimal for one coach brand may be too much for another. The best approach is to understand your coach’s weight upon purchase—make sure you have manufacturer information, and weigh your coach before adding cargo. Water and fuel add significant amount of weight, so understanding how much the coach weighs before and after adding these necessities helps you juggle the quantities for travel.
Protect your investment: prolong the life and luxury of your motor coach with expert care and check ins.
* Photo by Josh Liba