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If you’re in the market for a capable pickup truck or SUV, you’ve seen plenty of specs. Things like towing capacity, payload capacity, and torque are easy to figure out. However, other specs might be a little more confusing. What are GVWR and curb weight, and are they important for your truck or SUV? Find out if you need to prioritize these specs when you go truck or SUV shopping.

What is GVWR?

Jeep's Grand Wagoneer shares a full-frame with the Ram 1500, what are GVWR and curb weight and are they important for a truck or SUV?
2022 Grand Wagoneer has a tow rating of 9,850 pounds | Stellantis

GVWR is an acronym that stands for Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. Gross vehicle weight rating is the maximum total safe weight of everything on, in, or around your vehicle. This means every other statistic, spec, and anything else you can think of is included. For instance, if your truck’s GVWR is 15,000 pounds. That means the car’s weight, fuel, accessories, passengers, cargo, and a tow trailer’s “tongue weight” need to stay under that amount.

This does not consider towing capacity because that is not on the actual vehicle. Towing capacity plays more into the power of the engine, the torque, and the overall ability to pull something. That’s why it doesn’t directly affect the GVWR of a vehicle. However, if you’re pushing the limits of your GVWR, it might be safer to avoid towing something simultaneously.

What is curb weight?

A Yakima SkyBox rooftop cargo box attached to a pickup truck, what are GVWR and curb weight and are they important for a truck or SUV?
A Yakima SkyBox rooftop cargo box | Robert Alexander/Getty Images

According to Ford, curb weight is the vehicle’s weight, including a full tank of fuel and standard equipment. It excludes the weight of passengers, cargo, and any optional equipment. Curb weight is considered the closest and most accurate actual weight of the vehicle on its own. Lastly, curb weight does not determine any capability and is not a “capacity.”

Simply put, curb weight is how much your vehicle weighs on its own. Although the car’s weight might be substantial in some situations, curb weight is less important than most other metrics. If you need to ship the vehicle on a carrier or tow it behind another car, that’s when knowing the curb weight is essential.

Are GVWR and curb weight important for your truck or SUV?

GVWR is an important specification for your truck or SUV. Knowing all of its capacities might be necessary depending on what you intend to do with the vehicle. Putting too much weight inside a car, or towing behind a vehicle, can cause many structural issues. The last thing you’d want is for your truck or SUV to get damaged because too much weight is on board. This is important for anyone who will tow or haul large loads with passengers and other cargo inside.

Curb weight is important in particular situations. It isn’t handy to most people, but those who will ship or tow their vehicle need to know their truck or SUV’s curb weight. In the case of shipping, car carriers need to know the weight of each unit, or your vehicle (among others) could be damaged during the trip very easily. Additionally, if you’re towing a vehicle with another, the curb weight must be under the other vehicle’s towing capacity. If not, the result could be significant damage to both vehicles.

In conclusion, most people won’t need to know their truck or SUV’s GVWR or curb weight. However, if you’re a frequent hauler or tower of heavy weight, make sure to look them up. This knowledge could end up saving you a lot of money in the long run.


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