Curb Weight vs. Gross Weight: What Are The Differences?

Vehicle weight is an essential value to always know. It gives you a clue of its operation regarding fuel needs and suitable terrain and many more. Still, on this vehicle variable, we bring you to curb weight vs. gross weight.

Many people confuse the two terms and may wrongfully assume that they refer to the same thing. There is more to them that you should know, as presented in this article.

Curb Weight

curb weight by vin

Starting the discussion is curb weight, which is the vehicle’s total weight, including factory-installed accessories and essential amenities required for it to run. The amenities we are talking about are fuel, coolant, and transmission fluid.

The definition of curb weight varies by location. For instance, the definition given above is the standard in most parts of the world. However, in regions like Europe, the curb weight also includes a 75-kg allowance to keep up with European directives.

Not veering far from curb weight, we also have the car’s dry weight.  Also, going by shipment weight in some quarters, it the vehicle’s mass without consumables like fuel, coolant, and transmission oil. Other manufacturers refer to it as unladen weight, though it is the same as curb weight in some quarters.

How important is curb weight when getting a car? You should be keen on the weight to determine elements like fuel economy. Low curb weight is desirable as the car will be friendly in fuel consumption. Lightweight cars have excellent performance; as such, you are in for fun driving.

You may also check on the weight value if you want a heavier vehicle. They are pretty stable at high speeds and are pretty safe in a crush than lightweight models.

Additionally, knowing a vehicle’s curb weight is essential when you want to ship or tow it.

How Do I Calculate Curb Weight?

Typically, you will find a car’s curb weight information on the manufacture’s website. Optionally, you may weigh it on large scales, such as those found on weighbridges.

The other way to determine this value is by using the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). You will find this figure on the sticker on the car’s door. From this value, you subtract the vehicle payload, which includes passenger and cargo weight.

For instance, if the gross vehicle weight rating is 6000-lbs, and the payload is 1700-lbs, the curb weight will be 4300-lbs. To get an accurate figure, you have to account for several things. They include the masses of your cargo, fuel in the tank, passengers, and other accessories installed on the vehicles, like bull bars and light sets.

Does curb weight include fuel? Yes, this mass measure also accounts for roughly 90% fuel mass in the fuel tank.

Gross Vehicle Weight

gvwr calculator

We now shift our focus to gross vehicle weight, abbreviated as GVW. It is the car’s weight, inclusive of passengers, cargo, and other utilities like fuel and transmission fluid. You may also say that it is the mass of the empty vehicle plus its total payload. At times, it also goes by gross curb weight.

The car payload is the maximum weight that the vehicle can safely support. Earlier on, we talked about the gross vehicle weight rating; GVWR in abbreviation. It is the safe maximum weight value of the car, including its payload.

GVW vs. GVWR; what is the difference? While many people may think that the two measurements are the same, they are not. GVW is the weight at any moment, whereas GVWR is the weight rating from the chassis manufacturer. In short, GVW will vary depending on the payload, while the GVWR is the recommended value from the manufacturer.

Not forgetting, there is the gross combined weight rating (GCWR), which is the maximum safe weight of your car plus a trailer. This value looks at the safety aspect and not the maximum load capacity. You can locate this value on the driver’s car door.

The vehicle weight chart relies on the GVW and shows the limits for different vehicle classes. The chart limits vary depending on state and country.

How Do I Calculate Gross Vehicle Weight?

It is crucial to know your car’s gross vehicle weight. Should it exceed the gross vehicle weight rating, you know that you are compromising your safety. To get this figure, you need to have the car’s curb weight. You can get it in several ways, as earlier hinted.

Next, you weigh the mass of your cargo and passengers, including the driver. Add the curb weight to the passenger and cargo mass. The figure you get is the gross vehicle weight.

Curb Weight vs. Gross Vehicle Weight Differences

You can differentiate curb weight from gross vehicle weight from their respective definitions. The former is the car’s weight plus factory installed utilities and consumables like fuel and oil.

On the other hand, gross vehicle weight is the car’s mass, including its utilities, passengers, and cargo. In other words, it is curb weight plus cargo and passengers, including the drivers. The main difference is the inclusions, where GVW accounts for the payload: the cargo and passengers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does Curb Weight Include Gas?

Curb weight simply refers to the mass of the car when not in motion on the curb. This weight includes factory-installed accessories and utilities like fuel and other necessary fluids, like engine and transmission oil. Note that the value excludes passenger and curb weight.

Q: Is GVWR The Same As Curb Weight?

The gross vehicle weight rating is the maximum payload limit a vehicle can safely handle. It gives you a hint of load value that you should not exceed. On the flipside, curb weight is the vehicular mass, including accessories installed by the manufacturer and amenities like fuel, engine oil, coolant, and transmission fluid.

So what is the relationship between GVWR and curb weight? You use the GVWR to get the curb weight after you minus the payload.

Q: What Does GVWR PNBV Mean On A Trailer?

GVWR stands for gross vehicle weight rating and refers to the maximum weight a vehicle or trailer can safely support. PNBV is GVWR in French. You will mostly see this abbreviation in French-speaking countries, such as Canada.

Q: What Is Max Gross Weight?

Among the many car weight values that you will encounter if you deal with vehicles is the maximum gross weight. It is the maximum mass of the vehicle, passengers, and load that a vehicle has a license to handle.

Q: Is KERB Weight Wet Or Dry?

In the automobile scene, dry weight means the vehicle mass without fuel, oil, and any fluids needed for the vehicle to run. Kerb weight, which is the same as curb weight, is wet, as it includes car consumables like fuel and coolant. In European countries, the kerb weight includes the drivers’ weight, approximated at 75-kgs or 165-pounds.

Q: Is GVWR The Weight Of The Vehicle?

The gross vehicle weight rating is more of a set weight limit that a car should meet for safe driving. It is not the vehicle’s weight, though you can use its figure to come up with the curb weight.

Q: Does GVWR Include Trailer Weight?

The GVWR factors in the masses of the car, the passengers, cargo, and the car’s utilities and accessories. Some manufactures stop there to get the GVWR, while others include the trailer tongue weight, accounting for towing force. To avoid confusion, there is the gross combined weight rating, which is the safe combined weight of the vehicle and trailer.

To get the ideal trailer weight, you subtract the curb weight from the gross combined weight rating.

Q: How Do I Know How Much Weight My Trailer Can Hold?

If you want to tow a trailer, there are several things you have to look at, such as the trailer’s holding capacity. When you get the holding capacity, you know the limits the trailer can safely handle.

To get this value, look for the trailer’s data plate, which will contain the GVWR. Record the number, then get the trailer’s weight. The data plate may also contain this info. If not, you can weigh it on a scale. Subtract the trailer weight from the GVWR to get the load limit.

As A Conclusion

When looking at vehicle weight, you need vast knowledge about it, and you will have to know about curb weight and gross vehicle weight. The good news is that this piece touches on the curb weight vs. GVW topic. Use the info provided to boost your know-how on car mass and get values such as car payload and GVWR.

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Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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