Questions arise about how heavy is a truck, RV trailer, or truck-trailer combination. If your truck-trailer, or RV unit exceeds specified gross vehicle weights, the driver will require a higher class of licence. In British Columbia, for example, if you are towing a trailer exceeding 4,600kg (10,100lbs), but neither the truck nor trailer has air brakes, the driver is required to have a heavy trailer endorsement (Code 20).
The best way to find out is to put it on a scale.
If you live near a truck stop, most of these have public scales that charge a small fee to give you an accurate weight of your vehicle. Most truck stop scales are certified. CAT scale is one of the more recognized truck stop scales, and you can find their scale locater here.
If there isn't a truck stop, but a commercial weigh scale, often the personnel will leave the scale on for those that wish to weigh their vehicle. If the scale is working, you can weigh your unit at these location, and these are easily found with an internet search. The best part is that these scales are free!
Note for truck drivers: If you loaded in a nearby town, you can weigh your unit at the government weigh scale; however, if your unit is overweight and authorities are inside, you may not get a friendly request to "slide your axles". In other words, inspection personnel may issue you a fine - be aware of the risk you take weighing your unit at a roadside weigh scale.
If you don't live near a truck stop, or you are a truck driver and are picking up in a small town there are "hidden" public scales.
The following businesses may have public scales capable of weighing your unit.:
- gravel pits;
- scrap yards;
- or saw mills.
Call first to ensure that they will in fact weigh your unit and the cost of this service.
Tip for truck drivers: if your gross vehicle weights are within compliance, but your axle weights required adjustment—either by sliding the trailer tandems or the 5th wheel plate—move off the scales to slide your trailer axles. Never slide axles on the scales.
The scales charge a reduced fee for a re-weigh. And your company should cover all the costs of weighing your unit to ensure weight compliance.