What does GVW Mean?

GVW stands for Gross Vehicle Weight. This means the total, fully laden weight of the vehicle in question, and is normally measured in “tonnes”, a tonne being 1,000 kgs.

For example, the common transit van is often referred to as a “three and a half tonner”, which is the weight class it belongs to. If you check online specifications, you will find that ford transit vans have a kerb weight somewhere in the region of 1,500 to 2,000 kgs. This means fully fueled, with driver on board and a full payload, the vehicle should not exceed 3,500 kgs in total. The chassis is not designed to carry any more weight than this, and so will not be insured to carry any more either.

The next weight class up from 3.5 tonnes, is 7.5 tonnes, (also colloquially known as a seven and a half tonner).

But how do I find out how much my vehicle weighs, to remain compliant?

The vehicle itself will have a plate or sticker located somewhere on it that carries the VIN (vehicle identification number). This will also tell you how much the empty vehicle weighs and is usually located under the bonnet somewhere, or on one of the door pillars. Vehicle weights are also listed in a vehicle’s handbook too, although if you really struggle there are plenty of places online that will list it. Simply, subtract this figure from 3,500 (for a three and a half tonner), and you have the weight of the maximum load you can carry.

If you don’t know how heavy the load is, there are many places around the country called “weighbridges”, which are like a huge set of scales. Simply drive the vehicle to one, and for a small fee, they will tell you the vehicle’s weight. Local councils have a list of weighbridge locations, and they are also commonly found at municipial waste sites.

For further help and advice with commercial vehicles, or an insurance quote, follow one of the following links:

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