Last Updated on September 10, 2022 by Jessica Lauren Vine
Before you purchase an RV, especially a used one, you need to get it weighed before you close the deal.
The biggest concern is that your rig can handle it. Many RVs have been updated and modified which can have a significant impact on total vehicle weight.
At the time of this article, it costs less than $15 to weigh your RV if you use Cat Scales. If you want to buy your own scale, it could cost thousands of dollars.
Knowing the weight of your rig can spare the life of your suspension and your tires. An overloaded RV can end up with you on the evening news – having rolled down a mountainside. It’s critical to know the limits of your rig and the vehicle towing it.
Why Would You Need to Weigh an RV?
Simply, to figure out if your towing capacity can exceed or match the weight.
To keep you from being “that guy on the side of the road with a blown tire or another issue. Here we go again”—read your owner’s manual to find out what your rig’s capable of. Move out of that safe area and you risk doing damage to it, your towing vehicle, and maybe even others.
If you live in a state like I do, Colorado, keep in mind you may be facing steep grades going up the hill and down. Down can be a little scary. Ask any RV weekender who’s traversed Wolf Creek pass (10,850 ft, 6.8% grade) or Hoosier Pass coming into Breckenridge (11,541 ft and 8% grade). I’ve driven these plenty and know even in a standard four-wheel car these passes can be a white-knuckle event.
Knowing your RV and vehicle’s total weight (with all that camping gear) is essential to not just a fun time but a safe time in the mountains.
Where Do You Go to Weigh Your RV?
There are few places where you can officially weigh an RV. The simplest is a Certified CAT scale at your local truck stop. Most truck stops can be found off major interstates or highways.
Follow the instructions for multi-axel vehicles and especially if you have a class C that is towing another vehicle—either another car, boat, motorcycle, or OHV. At most CAT stations you’re going to spend less than $15 bucks.
You can also purchase a scale solution so you can reliably weigh your rig at home. Many of these devices are durable and can be implemented to weigh vehicles with different axle configurations and spacing between the axles.
These systems will have some sort of digital indicator to show weight. If you’re serious about having your own weight check station equipment, be prepared to spend a little cash.
The systems I’ve checked out run in the thousands of dollars. Also, you need a system that does not just record the total weight of your rig but the axle weight as well.
It’s better to learn about your rig and how to properly and safely RV from other people’s experiences and mistakes than your own. Weighing an RV sounds like a lot of work but it’s not very difficult. Other than tire inflation, knowing how much your rig weighs is up there on the safety meter. Stay on top of it.
Before you head off, make sure that you check out these other RV-related articles.