Gross vehicle weight rating

The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), or gross vehicle mass (GVM) is the maximum operating weight/mass of a vehicle as specified by the manufacturer[1] including the vehicle's chassis, body, engine, engine fluids, fuel, accessories, driver, passengers and cargo but excluding that of any trailers.[2] The term is used for motor vehicles and trains.

The weight of a vehicle is influenced by passengers, cargo, even fuel level, so a number of terms are used to express the weight of a vehicle in a designated state. Gross combined weight rating (GCWR) refers to the total mass of a vehicle, including all trailers. GVWR and GCWR both describe a vehicle that is in operation and are used to specify weight limitations and restrictions. Curb weight describes a vehicle which is "parked at the curb" and excludes the weight of any occupants or cargo. Dry weight further excludes the weight of all consumables, such as fuel and oils. Gross trailer weight rating specifies the maximum weight of a trailer and the gross axle weight rating specifies the maximum weight on any particular axle.


A car driver licence is limited to driving vehicles up to a maximum GVM of 4,500 kg (9,900 lb). Beyond this, a different class of licence is required. A vehicle with a GVM up to 4,500 kg is termed a light vehicle, while those over 4,500 kg are termed heavy vehicles.

Many models of small truck are manufactured to have a GVM rating of 5,000 to 7,000 kg (11,000 to 15,400 lb) but sold with the option of a GVM of just under 4,500 kg so that they can be driven on a car licence. Often, the only difference between the models is where the exhaust exits, with diesel engined heavy rated vehicles having a vertical exhaust stack above the cabin and the light rated vehicles having the exhaust exit under the side or rear like a car.[citation needed]

Many minor roads, including some in rural areas and some in suburban areas, have GVM restrictions such as 5,000 kg or 8,000 kg. These restrictions may be applied for technical reasons such as load limited bridges, or as a method of reducing the number of heavy vehicles on local roads.