How to weigh your RV at the truck stop

By Chris Dougherty
Chris Dougherty is a certified RV technician. Here is a letter he received from a reader while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor.

Dear Chris,
I have read a lot about checking the weight of your RV. My question is: Where does one go to have your RV weighed one axle at the time? —Bob

Dear Bob,
Checking the weight of your RV is essential, as I’m sure you know.

Staying within the weight limitations of your RV is not only important from a safety standpoint, but it helps to reduce maintenance costs on your coach. Overloaded vehicles suffer from premature wear on critical parts and systems, including the drive train, suspension, axles, wheels and brakes.

rv scale chrisMost commercial scales have separate pads the truck stops on to give weight by axle. The important point is to get out of your rig on the scale and make sure each axle is on a different pad. Now, with a trailer this may be difficult, as the trailer axles are close together. Weighing by wheel position is the gold standard, but is almost impossible on most truck stop scales as they don’t have the room to put half the vehicle on the scale. A truck scale is better than nothing, though, and will at least tell you if you’re within your GVWR.

One of the best places to get weighed is at moving and storage companies, because you can center one set of wheels in the middle of the pad and get a more accurate weight for wheel position. The Recreation Vehicle Safety Education Foundation offers coach weighing at various events and venues across the country, and the event schedule can be found at this website

##RVT832

 

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7 Thoughts to “How to weigh your RV at the truck stop”

  1. B Patterson

    What about in CA….does not seem to be any scales open when they are not checking big rigs. Seems like with all the taxes we spend we should have some sort of rights to use a device that is not costing anything to use when no one is there.

  2. Mark Elliott

    Would it be crazy to think you could scale your RV or tow vehicle/trailer at the local garbage transfer station? They have loop drives to make maneuvering easy so it seems like all you would need to do is get the attendants OK to weigh your individual axles. Of course side/side weights wouldn’t be possible but you could get accurate axle weights and probably much closer to home than big rig highway scales.

  3. CB Roberts

    http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/MCT/Pages/EnforcementScaleOperations.aspx

    Oregon Department of Transportation Scale Decks

    Operational 24/7 for public use, including when the sign on the highway may indicate the scale is closed.

    Only closed to the public during repair status.

    http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/MCT/Documents/MotorCarrierEnforcementTruckScales2-2018.pdf

    https://catscale.com/cat-scale-locator/

  4. CB Roberts

    Michelin and other tire companies as well as many RV experts will tell you it is very important to get “corner weights” or individual wheel position weight meaning weighing each tire or pair or tires to get accurate weight not only of the axle but of each side of the vehicle. Some say axle weight and one side is enough but I personally strongly recommend weighing axles and both sides and adding the side weights to see if they add up to the axle weight – helps determine accuracy. This is the only way to accurately determine correct tire pressure. And it might tell you if you need to think about shifting some weight around in the RV to even up weight on each side. Proper handling won’t happen if you don’t balance your load and inflate tires to proper PSI. Read all about it in the Michelin Guide and other info found on the Michelin website. The states with open scales the public can use can be found in Oregon.

    https://www.michelinb2b.com/wps/b2bcontent/PDF/RV_Tires_Brochure.pdf

    https://www.michelinrvtires.com/reference-materials/tire-guide-warranties-and-bulletins/

    https://www.michelinb2b.com/wps/b2bcontent/PDF/motorHome_weighing_pressure.pdf

  5. Tom

    Hi Chris, Here’s what may be a dumb question…can we weigh an RV or truck camper (or any other vehicle really) at the weigh stations which appear on some state and federal highways and interstates? If so, is it free?
    Thanks!

    1. Russ De Maris

      Tom:
      The weigh stations you refer to are state-operated facilities; most tend to discourage (or outright run off) RVers and other private vehicles from coming in to weigh. However, some states will leave the scales turned on when the station is technically closed (Washington state for example). In some of those instances, we’ve gone in and scaled ourselves in. Of course, those stations are typically in outback areas, generally not on an interstate. You’d need to look close for regulatory signage, because if you did scale when regulations didn’t allow it, the fine could be a whole lot more than you’d pay running over a CAT scale at a truck stop. A buddy of mine scaled his Class A at a Pilot stop the other week and paid less than $10. I’ve used a privately run scale in cotton country in the past, and paid something like $8.

      Russ De Maris, Senior Editor, RV Travel

      1. Tom

        Great, thanks Russ!

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