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How To Weigh A Caravan

How To Weigh A Caravan

Australians are recognized for their affinity for the outdoors. The majority of Australians grow up having open outdoor spaces, wide backyards around their households and love to enjoy sports and barbeque activities in warmer weather. However, due to rapid urbanization average size of living spaces is reducing with every passing day. Thus rather than having traditional backyards, homeowners are opting to spend their weekends outdoors by camping or other such activities. Using a caravan for such fun outdoor activities can make your overall experience delightful and comfortable.

According to statistics, in 2019 the number of caravan and camping visitor nights exceeded 60 million and 14 million trips for the first time.

[Source: https://www.caravanindustry.com.au/caravanning-and-camping-most-popular-holiday-type-for-australians-in-2019-with-60-million-holiday-nights]

Thus when these weekenders plan for their fun weekends, in excitement they tend to overload their caravans with luggage. But overloading your caravan or trailer adversely affects vehicles' performance and jeopardizes safety. Overloading also creates difficulties while towing a caravan. Weighing your caravan with the caravan scales is the only way to ensure that your vehicle is well within the limits.

When a Caravan Weight Check is Recommended?

  • When you are loading your caravan for a new adventure, it is safe to register a tare (empty) weight. This process enables you to understand how much more weight you can load while remaining under the maximum weighing limit.
  • After fully loading the caravan with water, gas, and luggage, weigh it while the passengers have occupied the caravan.     
  • Also, you are purchasing a new caravan, it is best to weigh the caravan before purchasing it because the plated weight will differ greatly from the actual weight after the van is fitted with all accessories.
  • Many individuals want to revamp their old caravan and install all the latest all that technology has on the offer. If you have made any such recent additions in your vehicle then it is ideal that you measure weight once again just to ensure it still stays within permissible limits.

How To Weigh A Caravan?

You can take the caravan to public weighbridges or use a portable caravan weight scales to measure weight at home. Nevertheless, it is considered best to weigh a caravan at weighbridges to accurately determine weight during loaded and unloaded conditions.

Some of the terminologies used in weighing caravan:
  • Tare Mass can be defined as the total mass of the caravan without any load. That means the vehicle is completely unoccupied with all the tanks being empty, while all the required equipment fitted into their places. Generally, the Tare mass weight of the caravan can be found in the manufacturer's handbook.
  • Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) is the total mass of the vehicle carrying maximum permissible weight according to the manufacturer. This weight is usually measured while your caravan is detached from the towing vehicle.
  • Gross Trailer Mass (GTM) can be defined as the maximum mass your caravan can have while being attached to the towing vehicle.

Weighing a Caravan at Home With Portable Caravan Scale:

Portable scales are easy to use and can be carried anywhere. Also, these scales can be repaired at your nearest scale repair shops. To use these scales you just have to drive your caravan over these scales to record the reading. The weighing scale stores the data until you record the reading for each of the caravan wheels and then indicates the total weight of the vehicle. Additionally, scale helps you in determining overloading on the right side or left side of the vehicle. Ideally, the overall weight must be distributed evenly on both sides. Even loading ensures the vehicle’s better performance.

Weighing a Caravan at a Public Weighbridge:

Despite the obvious advantages, portable caravan scales might not produce perfectly accurate results. Thus it is advised to use weighbridge facilities near you. These facilities not only allow you to weigh the entire caravan but also allows you to measure the rear axle load by reversing back onto the plate. Also, when it comes to payloads, both the towing vehicle and caravan have legal weight limits. As a result, after you've loaded up for your journey, it's best to make your first stop at a public weighbridge.

At the weighbridge facility, you must measure the weight of the caravan while completely empty and also when fully loaded. ‘

Below are the Steps You Must Follow To Use a Weighbridge:

  • Remove everything from your caravan except the equipment legally needed for transit. Remove all water containers and luggage bags etc.
  • Fill up the gas tank, since a vehicle with a full tank will weigh more than 50kg heavier than one with a nearly empty tank. This ensures the minimum weight your caravan is at all times.  
  • After emptying, drive your caravan along with the towing car over the weighbridge and stop with all wheels on the platform and take the first weight measurement with the driver in the car.
  • Further, drive away in such a way that car wheels are off the platform while caravan still stays on the platform. Apply brakes of both vehicles. 
  • Then detach the caravan from the towing vehicle and take a second reading. This procedure will help you to obtain the weight of the empty caravan and also the combined weight of both vehicles. 
Keeping your caravan well under permissible limits not only ensures your safety but also makes it easier to tow the caravan during the entire journey.

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