Dry weight, GVWR, UVW.. What does it mean?

Published February 16, 2019

Dry weight, GVWR, UVW… What does it mean?

I put this little guide together to better understand the meaning of weight ratings on trailers such as UVW, dry weight, and GVWR. At Family RV, safety�is our #1 goal for you and your family. With many numbers to calculate and figure out what’s true and not true.Click here to check your vehicle tow rating.

GVW: Gross Vehicle Weight

Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) is the actual weight of the fully loaded vehicle or trailer, including all cargo, fluids, passengers, and optional equipment, as measured by a scale.If you are in a motorhome and not towing anything, the GVW is the total weight of the RV and everything in it. If your RV is composed of more than one unit (towing a trailer or a vehicle), then the GVW is only part of the total.The GVW is important because without this number you can not determine if you are within the limits set forth by the manufacturer, laws, and regulations. This number can be approximated based on information provided by the manufacturer or dealer. 

GTW: Gross Trailer Weight

GTW Includes (Gross Trailer Weight)
  • All GAW’s (Gross Axle Weight)
  • Tongue Weight or King Ping Weight
  • Weight on all deployed jacks
Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) is the same as Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) when referring to a trailer. While GVW can be applied to tow vehicles and trailers, GTW makes it clear that we are speaking of a trailer.When connected, a portion of the trailer’s weight is transferred to the tow vehicle through the hitch. In this case, the GTW includes all axle GAW’s and the Tongue Weight or King Pin Weight.

GVWR: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is the maximum number that the GVW�or GTW should never exceed. GVWR is applied to trailers as well as vehicles, but you may see this rating referred to as the Maximum Loaded Trailer Weight.

GAWR: Gross Axle Weight Rating

Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) is the maximum number that the GAW of a single axle should never exceed. You may see the more specific RGAWR when referring to the rear axle, or FGAWR, when referring to the front axle.

Tongue Weight or King Pin Weight

Tongue Weight (also called Tongue Load) is the actual weight pressing down on the hitch ball by the trailer. The recommended amount of Tongue Weight is 10-15% of the GTW.King Pin Weight (also called Pin Weight) is the actual weight pressing down on the fifth wheel hitch by the trailer. The recommended amount of King Pin Weight is 15-25% of the GTW.These weights are added to the tow vehicle’s GVW. 

UVW: Unloaded Vehicle Weight

UVW Includes
  • Vehicle weight as manufactured at the factory
  • Full fuel tank weight
  • Equipment fluids weight
Unloaded Vehicle Weight (UVW) is the weight of a vehicle as manufactured at the factory. It includes full engine and generator fuel tanks and fluids, if applicable. It does not include cargo, water, propane, or dealer-installed accessories. Be aware that some manufacturers weigh each unit to determine UVW, while others provide only the average or estimated weight for each model.We have seen the following variations to this definition:
  • Includes actual factory installed options
  • Includes commonly ordered factory installed options
Pay close attention to how the manufacturer defines UVW because this is often used to calculate other weights, such as the cargo carrying capacity or Payload. 

Dry Weight

Dry Weight is the actual weight of a vehicle or trailer containing standard equipment without fuel, fluids, cargo, passengers, or optional equipment.We have seen the following variations to this definition:
  • Includes commonly ordered optional equipment
  • Includes fluids of generator and other onboard equipment (oil, coolant, fuel)
  • May or may not include RV batteries
Pay close attention to how the manufacturer defines Dry Weight because this is often used to calculate other weights, such as the cargo carrying capacity or Payload.Sometimes you can spot them on the main A-frame chassis.Look for these stickers by the main entry door. 

Cargo Weight

Cargo Weight Includes
  • Personal cargo weight
  • Optional equipment weight
  • Tongue Weight or King Ping Weight
Cargo Weight is the actual weight of all items added to the Curb Weight of the vehicle or trailer. This includes personal cargo, optional equipment, and Tongue or King Pin Weight.This is important because it will determine how many things you can safely pack into your RV. Within this number, you need to fit the weight of your clothes, linens, books, dishes, beer, cleaning supplies, computer equipment, hiking gear, bicycles, water sports implements, food�basically everything you want to take with you.