Ten Towing Terms (Acronyms) You Need to Know

There are many things to consider when hitching your trailer to your tow vehicle. The following are some common towing terms to know when selecting a towing vehicle or purchasing a travel trailer.

GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating)

Maximum allowable weight that a single axle can support. Do not exceed the gross axle weight rating on the trailer and tow vehicle certification label. It is measured in tires and includes the weight of the axle, tires, wheels, and brakes. Many problems can occur if this weight is exceeded; The tires may not be able to support the weight, possibly resulting in an explosion situation, the vehicle’s steering may become less responsive, and the brakes may not be effective. GAWR is listed on a data plate that is typically located on the outside near the front of the unit or, in some cases, could be inside a cabinet door inside the trailer.

GVW (gross vehicle weight)

How much a vehicle really weighs. Do not confuse with GVWR. GVW must never exceed GVWR. The trailer weight is not considered part of the GVW weight, but the tongue weight is part of the GVW.

GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating)

A weight limit set by a manufacturer for a specific vehicle is the total weight that the vehicle has been designed to support. The GVWR appears on a data plate that is normally affixed to the inside of the driver’s door frame, it is equal to or greater than the sum of the UVW plus the NCC. There are a few things that can go wrong if you exceed the GVWR; The suspension can become ineffective or even break due to the added stress on the tires, the brakes may not be able to stop the car effectively due to the excessive weight being pulled by the tow vehicle.

GTWR (Gross Trailer Weight Rating)

The maximum weight of the trailer. This weight is located on a metal tag on the frame of the trailer and is based on the allowed weight of the trailer and the load.

SCWR (Sleeping Capacity Weight Rating)

The manufacturer’s measure of weight, determined by multiplying 154 pounds by the amount of sleeping capacity in one unit (3 beds X 154 pounds = 462 pounds).

CCC (load capacity)

Weight that can be safely added without exceeding the GVWR of a vehicle or trailer. It is a weight limit and should not exceed the manufacturer’s specifications. Here’s how you can calculate CCC: GVWR – UVW – SCWR – Propane Fuel (4.2 lbs / gallon) – Fresh Water Weight (8.3 lbs / gallon) = CCC. If you are unsure of a vehicle’s CCC, ask the dealer or seller for a certified proof of weight.

NCC (net carrying capacity)

NCC is being replaced by CCC (see above) on new RVs. NCC is equal to or less than GVWR minus UVW.

GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating)

Gross Combined Weight Rating. Total weight of towing vehicle, trailer, all fluids, trailer contents, and vehicle and passengers.

UVW (unloaded vehicle weight)

Weight does not include passengers, cargo, fresh water, LP gas, or dealer installed accessories. It is usually found inside a closet.

TWL / TLR / VLR (Tongue Weight Load / Tongue Load Rating / Vertical Load Rating)

Amount of trailer weight pressing on the trailer hitch. Too much weight on the tongue can cause not enough weight on the front wheels of the tow vehicle; too little weight can cause the trailer to sway. A weight distribution hitch will solve this problem by transferring the weight to the front of the tow vehicle axle. Take a close look at the manufacturer’s trailer tow ball steel strength specifications before purchasing one or attaching your tow dolly.

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