Have you ever wondered how heavy is your vehicle, or the vehicle that you want to purchase, and the terms gross weight and curb weight are making you extremely confused? If this is the case, then you are at the right place because we are going to clarify everything to you when it comes to gross weight vs curb weight.
Knowing the weight of the vehicle and in which class it belongs is a real key for you. I’m saying this for a reason. Everybody is limited to the size of a vehicle they may drive. So, if the vehicle that you plan to drive goes above a certain gross weight you are going to get fined and pay a ton of money for something really everyone should know.
But you don’t have to worry, we will get to that. What is important though, is to learn how to differentiate these terms at the beginning. Knowing the difference will make you able to learn to tell which is which and which one of these weights is important for you at the specific moment and application. And we are going to learn everything when it comes to gross weight vs curb weight.
First, we are going to learn what is curb weight, and then we will cover what is gross weight. Then we will compare the two and learn what these mean for you. After, we will take a look at the GVWR classes of vehicles that are out there and what does gross weight means when it comes to driving a pickup truck. Later we will learn the top pickup trucks and their curb weight. So, if you want to learn more, follow along till the end.
What Is Curb Weight?
Now let’s first see what is curb weight. Since this is the base weight and is the most important for you to know if you want to run a vehicle empty like a car or an SUV. So, what is the curb weight?
The curb weight is the base weight of the vehicle, unloaded. In this weight is included all of the factory equipment and all the accessories. Including a full tank of gas. Passengers, optional equipment, or cargo do not go into the curb weight measurement.
The curb weight is not the exact weight of the vehicle. But rather something closest that you can get when it comes to it when it comes to weight measurement. This measurement greatly aids the transport of these vehicles. Since the transport companies know the weight of a specific vehicle, they know how many of them can load on a carrier.
When it comes to learning the curb weight of a specific vehicle, you can just google it out. Then compare the gross weight vs curb weight. But more on that, we are going to cover a bit later where we will give our opinion on gross weight vs curb weight.
What is important though, is that logically a vehicle with a bigger curb weight can be loaded more than a vehicle with a smaller curb weight. This is the case because the chassis of the vehicles that can haul has a much bigger curb weight since it needs to perform more difficult tasks. This means the frame is much stronger as well as the suspension.
But more on that when we will cover the different classes of vehicles and their max gross weight. Next, let’s cover what is gross weight is.
What Is Gross Weight?
Now let’s discuss the gross weight. It is important to know that the gross weight of the vehicle is not the same as the curb weight.
If the curb weight was the weight of the vehicle without passengers and optional equipment. The gross weight on the other hand includes the vehicle’s overall weight including the cargo that is loaded on it. In addition to this, the gross weight also includes the passengers.
What is important though is that every vehicle has a minimum curb weight and a maximum gross weight. So when it comes to the gross weight vs curb weight we can say that one of them is the minimum weight and the other is the maximum weight of the vehicle when it is loaded with cargo and passengers.
The gross weight or GVWR numbers were invented for a reason. And that was because a lot of people were overloading their vehicles to carry more cargo and passengers and not understanding the risks that were there because of this.
Since you overload a vehicle, you are putting your life in danger. The components of the vehicle have a limited factory load that has to be followed for failures and possible deaths to be avoided. This weight as we said is the gross weight.
Anything above the gross weight means that the vehicle will start to show its downsides. The frame could start cracking and separation could occur. Also, the suspension might fail and the vehicle could crumble. If this happens at a great speed the consequences could be fatal for you and your passengers. That’s why stick to the gross weight of the vehicle and learn gross weight vs curb weight to understand these two better.
How Do I Find The Gross Weight (GVWR) On My Vehicle?
To learn the gross weight of the vehicle, you have to find the Safety Compliance Certification Label. This label is located on the driver’s side pillar.
On the pillar, there should be a white sticker with a bar code. This bar code isn’t important though. The important thing is the numbers that are written on the sticker.
There you will notice the GVWR acronym. This acronym is about gross weight. This weight is the maximum weight that the vehicle can carry on it and you should focus on never exceeding this weight if you don’t want something bad to happen to your car or truck.
As we mentioned, the frame could bend or something structural will get damaged if the gross weight exceeds the recommended numbers. When you look at the sticker number, you should conclude that this is the maximum that your vehicle can carry and if you go above that means a red alert and possible damage to your truck or car.
Gross Weight VS Curb Weight – What Is More Important?
Now let’s discuss gross weight vs curb weight, which of these numbers is more important for you?
Let’s say that you are driving or you plan to buy a family sedan. In this case, the gross weight shouldn’t be in your interest because these types of vehicles have limited loading space and you basically cannot overload them. Even though if you add some load like sandbags or something really heavy they also can show their weak sides.
This rule also is for two-door coupes and other cars that are not made for utilitarian usage. And here is where the gross weight comes into play. When you plan to use a vehicle that you want to carry heavy stuff and large equipment gross weight should be one of your top priorities.
Let’s say that you have a construction company and you need a truck that has to carry a certain load. Even though the trucks that you want to purchase look pretty similar on the outside, their gross weight ratings are very different from one another.
You cannot compare a Ford F-150 with an F-250 or F-350. They belong to a different class of vehicles. And that is something that we are going to cover in the following chapter where we will learn the different GVWR classes.
Nevertheless, when planning to purchase a vehicle, a truck for example. You always have to look at the gross weight rating and learn more if this is the truck for you.
If you get an underpowered truck for example that has a weak frame and suspension and you load it like a truck that has beefy suspension. The weaker truck will start to show its weak sides and will start to develop damage from that weight.
GVWR Classes – Gross Weight VS Curb Weight
As we mentioned in the previous chapters. The GVWR is the maximum operating weight for a certain vehicle that cannot be surpassed. Unlike with the curb weight of the vehicle which is the base weight without the load and optional equipment.
Since we clarified the gross weight vs curb weight. It is quite useful to discuss the different classes of gross weight also known as GVWR classes. Trucks are basically following this nomenclature. So, based on the gross weight, you can tell which class of truck you need to fulfill the task that you plan this truck for. So, which are the classes? Let’s elaborate.
The base class is Class 1 of trucks, this class ranges from 0 up to 6,000 lbs. These trucks are trucks like the Ford Ranger. Then there are Class 2 trucks, these trucks range from 6,001 up to 10,000 lbs. This is Ford F-150 territory. After this comes Class 3 trucks which GVWR ranges from 10,001 up to 14,000 lbs. The Class 4 goes even further and these trucks can carry a GVWR between 14,000 and 16,000 lbs.
After Class 4 all of the trucks are heavy-duty trucks that are meant for carrying a lot of load. Class 5 ranges from 16,001 to 19,500 lbs. Class 6 goes even further, the GVWR for this class ranges from 15,501 up to 26,000 lbs. And everything after that is even heavier and to drive these trucks you will need to have a CDL, we are going to cover that a bit later.
There are class 7 which ranges from 26,001 to 33,000 and class 8 that goes from 33,001+. This is the 18 wheeler territory.
Driving Licenses And GVWR
Depending on the state, there are a few types of driving licenses. But what is the most important with these licenses is that they limit the GVWR or gross weight on the vehicle that you can drive.
The base driving licenses which are intended for non-commercial vehicles are limited to up to 26,001 lbs. So if you have a non-commercial driver’s license that is category A, B, or C, you cannot drive a truck or a bus that goes beyond 26,001 lbs. If you surpass this weight rating you will get fined and get a ticket. In the worst case, you might even get your driver’s license suspended or possibly revoked. Authorities will not like when the drivers are driving vehicles that are out of their scope.
If you want to drive a vehicle with a higher class which would be Class 7 or 8, you will need a CDL. But what is a CDL?
CDL is a commercial driver’s license, with the class A CDL, you will be able to drive an 18 wheeler truck or a big school bus. With Class B, you can drive a truck that is between 26,001 and 33,000 lbs. And with Class C, you will be able to drive commercial vehicles that are below 26,000 lbs.
Overall, that’s it when it comes to these types of licenses and what you need to know in this case. Gross weight vs curb weight is not that difficult to understand and all you need is a bit of focus to learn these numbers and limitations. There are a total of 8 truck classes and each of them has its own limits.
Top Pickup Trucks And Their Curb Weight And Gross Weight
We learned what is gross weight vs curb weight. Now let’s learn something really cool and interesting. This would be especially useful if you are on the market and you want to purchase a pickup truck. New or used it doesn’t matter because we are going to focus on the curb weight and the gross weight only.
We will learn which is the curb weight of each of these trucks and then we will take a look at the gross weight of that specific vehicle. The curb weight would probably be correct. But the gross weight would be something approximate. For the correct gross weight, you will need to consult with your local dealership or take a look at the sticker on the pillar if you want to know the exact maximum gross weight for that truck.
What is important though, is that we will learn the truck classes to which these trucks belong based on the gross weight. So, let’s dive into it.
Ford Trucks – Gross Weight VS Curb Weight
First, we are going to start with Ford’s F-series of trucks. These are the most popular options out there and are attributed to most of the sales when it comes to the pickup market.
The F-150 is the smallest out of the bunch and this truck has a curb weight between 4,000 to 5,700 lbs depending much on the trim level this truck comes equipped with.
The gross weight on the other hand is about 7,000lbs which puts this truck in Class 2 trucks according to the gross weight. So when it comes to gross weight vs curb weight means that this truck cannot haul a lot of stuff on it.
The F-250 is the bigger brother of the F-150 and has a bigger curb weight of about 6,000lbs, quite heavier than the base F-150 when considering the total mass of the vehicle.
The gross weight on the other hand maxed at 14,000 lbs making it a Class 3 truck according to the gross weight. So, when it comes to the gross weight vs curb weight, this means that the F-250 is the way to go if you plan on hauling a lot.
The F-350 is not that bigger than the F-250 and is only slightly heavier coming at 7,200 lbs of total curb weight.
When it comes to gross weight, this truck is also limited to 14,000 lbs. So, when it comes to gross weight vs curb weight, the F-350 is also an excellent performer that can carry a lot of stuff.
Now we come in the heavy-weight territory. That is what the F-450 is all about. When it comes to the best that Ford can offer in terms of hauling and carrying equipment. This is it. The F-450 has a curb weight of 8.700 lbs. Making it the heaviest out of the bunch.
When it comes to gross weight the F-450 goes to up to 16,500 lbs on the maxed out models. This is frankly the best performer out there when it comes to gross weight vs curb weight. And this puts the F-450 in Class 4 trucks.
RAM Trucks – Gross Weight VS Curb Weight
Now let’s see the competition and take a look at the Dodge offering with their RAM pickup lineup. The RAM is also another excellent performer that keeps going when many trucks stop. So, it’s definitely worth putting their name on our list.
The RAM 1500 is the smallest of the bunch and it is an F-150 category. With a curb weight of about 4,700 lbs.
The gross weight of the RAM is between 6,000 and 7,800 lbs making it a Class 2 truck based on the gross weight. And when it comes to the gross vs curb weight, we can conclude that it cannot carry a lot.
The curb weight of the RAM 2500 is between 5,900 and 7,400 lbs. Making it quite heavier and a level above the RAM 1500.
The max gross weight of this model is something similar to the F-350, at about 14,000 lbs. This makes the RAM 2500 an excellent truck for hauling and places it in the Class 3 trucks based on the gross weight. And based on the gross weight vs curb weight, we can conclude that the RAM 2500 is a good performer.
The RAM 3500 is quite similar to the 2500 and the only difference would be that the 3500 is a dually. This means that the rear has 2 twin wheels on each side of the axle
It has a bigger curb weight than the RAM 2500 considering that it has a heavier rear suspension and a bigger bed. But the gross weight is about the same. Maxed at about 14,000 lbs.
Chevrolet Trucks – Gross Weight VS Curb Weight
A list of trucks based on the gross weight would not be complete if we don’t talk about Chevy and their lineup of pickup trucks.
The Silverado 1500 is the smallest of the Silverado trucks. Quite similar to the F-150 and the RAM 1500. It belongs in the same category as them. Although, quite lighter with curb weight between 4,500 lbs and 5,300 lbs
The gross weight of the Silverado 1500 is about 6,800 lbs. Making it a Class 2 truck based on the gross weight rating.
When it comes to medium heavy-duty trucks, the Silverado 2500 is probably one of the best choices out there with a curb weight between 6670 and 7600 lbs.
The gross weight of the Silverado 2500 is about 11,350 lbs at max. Making it a really good truck if you want to get something in this Class 3 trucks based on their gross weight. So when comparing gross weight vs curb weight, we can say that the Silverado 2500 is one of the best performers out there.
The Silverado 3500 is a heavy-duty truck that is made by Chevrolet. This truck is basically a competition to the F-450 and RAM 3500.
It has a curb weight between 7,000 and 8070 lbs and a gross weight of up to 14,000 lbs. Making it a Class 4 truck based on the complete gross weight. Overall, an excellent truck if you want something really hefty that can take everything that you throw at it.
GVWR Facts: What You Need to Know
- GVWR stands for Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, which is the maximum total safe weight of your vehicle.
- GVWR includes the weight of your vehicle when empty, passengers, fuel, accessories, cargo, and the tongue weight of a tow trailer.
- If you exceed the GVWR of your vehicle, you could face ticketing, criminal charges, and serious damage to the vehicle itself.
- Some states may charge you with manslaughter if you exceed the GVWR and are involved in an accident resulting in the loss of life.
- Different GVWRs have legal requirements, such as specific insurance and a CDL license to operate a commercial vehicle.
- It’s important to know the GVWR of your vehicle to avoid legal and safety issues.
- The GVWR can usually be found on a sticker on the inside of the driver-side door or in the owner’s manual.
- To calculate the maximum load you can haul, subtract the curb weight of the vehicle from its GVWR.
- The tongue weight of a tow trailer is normally 10-20% of the combined tow load and trailer weight.
- Overloading your vehicle can cause serious damage to its suspension.
Conclusion To Gross Weight VS Curb Weight
In this article, we covered a lot when it comes to the curb weight vs gross weight issue. We learned what is curb weight and what is gross weight. As we can tell, curb weight is the weight when the car or truck is unloaded. And the gross weight is the maximum weight that the truck could handle before it breaks.
Then we learned the gross weight truck classes as well as what the gross weight means for your driving license and which trucks you can drive with your regular driver’s license. And as we can recall, these are trucks up to 26,000 lbs.
Lastly, we have covered the pickup trucks of the American big three truck manufacturers and learned to which GVWR class they belong.
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