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Whether you are looking to book a hot shot service or towing your camping equipment you may at some point come across the acronym GVWR. What does it stand for and what does it mean for you?

GVW mean the Gross Vehicle Weight
GVWR means the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
GCVWR means the Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating

You may call a Hotshotting service and hear that your particular shipment exceeds their GCVWR or you may see GVW posted on the sides of trucks. So what is the deal?

Typically as a hot shot operator we are using pick up trucks and trailers. Truck manufacturers set a limit or rating as to how much weight each axle is rated to safely weigh with cargo so as to not overload the various components and so you can safely manoeuvre and stop. The same applies to trailers. Each unit will have it’s own GVWR and the truck towing it will also have a GCVWR that includes the trailer and it’s cargo.

Modern trucks can easily exceed these ratings on flat ground and in ideal circumstances. However adding hills, long miles and emergency maneuvering and stopping will mean you risk damage to your equipment and risk your life and that of other drivers.

Two of the biggest things we see as hot shot drivers is unsafe overloaded vehicles and blown tires. Both of these issues can be prevented to a good degree by knowing what your equipment is rated at.

Like a Hotshotting operator your vehicle and trailer is designed and rated for a particular use and load limit. Keep in mind any aftermarket add-ons come directly out of you GVWR so if you add big wheels and tires plus two aftermarket bumpers on your truck you have eaten up several hundred lbs of payload capacity. Also bear in mind any roof rack transported items or snowmobile bed racks not only come out of your payload but the weight is up high and will affect your vehicle handling especially during emergency manoeuvres.

If you are towing a travel trailer keep in mind the manufacturers will build using the minimum rated axles, springs and tires to save costs. If you load up with too many toys and gear you risk overheated tires, hubs and busted springs.

So why not do like the hot shot professional drivers do and know what your equipment weighs and what it’s rated for. Then add the weight of the cargo and make sure you are safely within your GCVWR.

And here’s a bonus pro tip: if you are at your GCVWR you are running at 100% which is legal but IMHO risky for any long duration. We set our limit at 80% which allows for error in calculations and prolongs the lifespan of your expensive equipment.