Did you know that driving or towing an overloaded rig is a leading cause of RV accidents? Even a slight overload or unequal weight distribution can seriously restrict braking and steering, dramatically increase fuel consumption, and cause sudden blowouts or breakdowns. An overweight RV also creates the danger of early failure in your rig’s tires, brakes, wheels, drive train, and other components.This might be something you may not think about all of the time. Really, for many new and some seasoned RVer’s out there the “Gas and Go” approach to RVing can cause some problems down the road (pun intended).
So, how do you know if your RV needs to go on a diet? That’s actually an easy question. Your RV is overloaded if it exceeds any of the manufacturer’s established limitations for total load, axle load, or tire loading. The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is the maximum amount your RV can safely carry. It includes both the wet weight and the cargo weight. You can find the appropriate weight limits by checking your owner’s manual for weight limitations.
So how do you lighten the load? Well, that’s another easy question to answer. If your RV turns out to be a heavyweight, go through it with a fine toothed comb and really think about what’s necessary and what’s not. Just because your rig has a lot of shelves, drawers and other storage space doesn’t mean you have to fill them all up. A really good idea is to simply remove all your belongings, then put back only the items you really need. If you can’t do it, maybe you should call that “Hoarders” TV show.
Here is something that is also often overlooked: tire pressure. Always remember to check your tire pressure before each trip. Poorly maintained tires can become a very real and dangerous issue, especially when combined with an overweight rig. Maintaining control of an RV with improperly inflated tires is a recipe for disaster.
The bottom line is a properly balanced RV, well maintained equipment, properly inflated tires and good driving can tame almost any road.