Should I Weigh My RV?

What’s my RV weight? Should I weigh my RV? Let’s explore this topic.

There are many weights: dry weight, curb weight, axle weight, vehicle weight, towing capacity, trailer weight, and total combined weight.

How does one know what each weight category means? Beyond that, how does one determine the weight of their RV combination? Let’s just answer one question at a time.

Should you drive into a truck weigh station that’s located along the interstate to weigh your RV? No! They would probably be rather upset if you did. Those weigh stations are intended for commercial trucking only. They also are not likely to be able to provide you with a printed weigh ticket containing the information.

Driving a Class A motorhome on Newfound Gap Road in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

CAT scales

CAT scales are located at numerous truck stops. Their website has a listing of all facilities.

Recently the fee to weigh was $12.50 plus $3 if you need to do a re-weigh. The process is fairly simple but you could always park first and go inside to ask about the procedure at the service desk.

CAT scales are intended for truckers who need to know the separate weights of the front axle (or steer axle), the drive axle(s), and the trailer axle(s), plus the total weight. For this reason, the scale consists of three platforms.

Due to the dimensions of the various RV combinations, it might be difficult to get the right axles positioned on the right platforms. You might have to move during the weighing process.

Some trucks that are over-length or that have a spread-axle trailer need to do this. That is another reason to park, look at the scale first, and then go inside to chat with the weighmaster.

But ideally, you want your front axle on the first platform, your rear axle(s) on the second platform, and anything you are towing on the third platform.

If the lengths just don’t work out, the weighmaster will give you instructions and have you move during the weighing process to position the axles on the platforms as needed. How-to weigh instructions can be found on their website.

When approaching the scale, make sure you have enough distance available to allow your vehicle combination to straighten out before reaching the scale.

Then, pull onto the platforms slowly and smoothly. Be sure to brake gently. It’s not good for the platforms to shake them by applying the brakes too suddenly.

Use your mirrors to check the position of your axles on the platforms and follow the instructions given by the weighmaster.

There is an intercom like those at a fast-food drive-through. He may ask for a truck number for your weigh ticket. You might just be able to say “RV” or give a few digits of your license plate number.

After weighing, park your rig and then go inside to get the weigh ticket.

Don’t block the scale by going inside while your rig is sitting there in the way.

CAT Scale offers a phone app also which might be an advantage if you plan to weigh very often.

Driving a Class A motorhome on Utah Scenic Byway 12 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Other options to weigh my RV

Another option, rather than using a CAT scale at a busy truck stop, might be to visit a local grain facility to see if they allow weighing but not during the fall harvest season.

If you have a friend who is a farmer with their own scale, you have that as an option, also. This would allow you to disconnect the trailer if you want to know the separate weights of the towing vehicle and the trailer without any of the trailer weight being supported by the towing vehicle.

Some scales rather than having three platforms just have one narrow platform that can weigh only one axle at a time.

Some require the vehicle to be still; others can weigh while the vehicle is moving slowly across the platform. You might have to stop for a bit with each axle on the platform so each axle can be weighed separately before you move up to weigh the next axle.

The scale may be able to add up the weights or it may only provide the separate weights and you’ll have to do the math. The slow-moving scale might be the same: it will provide separate axle weights but it may or may not do the math.

An important point is to approach the scale from the proper direction.

Some scales are located so that an approach from only one direction is possible or feasible. Others are in the middle of the lot and could be approached from either direction.

Look for the word, ENTER on the overhead sign. Clearance? Well, all vehicles are limited to 13 feet 6 inches in height except for oversized loads and the sign has room to spare for a semi so there should be room to spare for your RV to fit.

Note that the option of an agricultural scale above may require you to both unhitch and reposition even to get the separate front and rear axle weights of the towing vehicle.

The agricultural facilities are not usually concerned with the individual axle weights. They are concerned with two weights: a full-grain truck and the same truck when it is empty. Thus, they often consist of only one long platform and cannot provide individual axle weights.

Driving a Class A motorhome on U.S. Highway 89 in northern Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What is four-corner weight?

It is important to note that truck stop scales can only weigh an entire axle. They cannot weigh the left side and right side separately. For this, you will have to find an RV dealer that has the equipment to weigh each tire separately.

The cost is higher but pales in comparison to the cost of a blowout if the axle is too heavy on one side even though it is within its weight rating limit.

Total axle weight is important but side-to-side balance is also important to avoid overloading one side of the axle.

Even though four-corner weight as it’s called is important, total axle weight is still important to know when four-corner weight cannot be determined.

Four-corner weight is also known as wheel position weight—the weight of each wheel on the vehicle.

If you are a member of Escapees RV Club (one of the RV memberships I recommend) you can use SmartWeigh to get this four-corner weight. According to Escapees, the SmartWeigh program provides critical RV weight safety and load management information in a highly accurate and usable format.

If you are involved in an accident, having the weigh ticket as proof of being within limits can be an important document to have. Be aware, though, of weight creep.

You know, you add this to a compartment, you add that, you modify, and before long, you no longer weigh what you weighed the last time you visited a scale.

Driving a motor coach on Newfound Gap Road in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Weight definitions

For those of you who really want to dig into this topic the generally accepted weight definitions are as follows:

  • Dry weight: Weight of the empty vehicle with no fluids or contents.
  • Curb weight: Weight of the vehicle parked at the curb ready to be driven usually including coolant, oil, and a full fuel tank.
  • GAWR: Gross Axle Weight Rating is the maximum amount of weight one individual axle can carry. In the case of a true tandem axle, sometimes each individual axle is given its own rating and sometimes the entire two-axle assembly is given a rating. RVs seldom have a true tandem axle (two axles connected to a single assembly which is in turn connected to the chassis). A trailer with two axles has two individual axles not a tandem axle assembly. A tag axle on a longer Class A is not the same as a tandem axle.
  • GVWR: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is the maximum amount that the entire vehicle can weigh. This might be less than the sum of the GAWR values. A vehicle maker might have to specify a larger capacity axle for one reason or another (e.g., larger brakes) but perhaps the drive train is not meant for this much weight. Thus, the GVWR might be less than the sum of the individual GAWRs.
  • Towing capacity: Weight that a vehicle can tow. A tow vehicle might be able to TOW 10,000 pounds but perhaps it can CARRY only 500 of those pounds—the tongue weight—on its hitch assembly. The tongue weight must factor into the GVWR and will also affect the GAWR of the rear axle.
  • GCWR: Gross Combined Weight Rating is the total weight of the entire combination vehicle: the tow vehicle, the vehicle being towed, all fuel and water, all persons and luggage and equipment in the tow vehicle, and all water and possessions and camping gear in the towed vehicle. With a Class A, B, or C, this is the weight of the RV plus the weight of the towed car (and maybe a dolly or trailer) or boat or whatever else might be back there.
Driving a Class C motorhome in Utah Scenic Byway 12 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Now that we have that squared away—where are you going to go? Here are a few suggestions:

Worth Pondering…

I’m still learning.


Love’s RV Hookups: Comfortable RV Stays at Truck Stops?

Love’s Travel Stops offer a number of convenient amenities to travelers. And in some locations that even includes RV hookups.

In May of 2021, Love’s Travel Stops introduced Love’s RV Hookups. But what exactly does this mean and what are the pros and cons of using them?

In this post, I’ll sort through the details and give you the scoop from my perspective as well as those of other RVers.

Let’s jump right in!

Sonoran Desert RV Park, Gila Bend, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Can RVers stay overnight at truck stops?

RV travelers have long been able to spend the night at many truck stops across the country. But that usually means parking among the tractor-trailers especially if you’ve got a big RV like ours.

Have we done it? No. On long road trips, we appreciate the ability to pull off the highway and catch some shut-eye before hitting the road again in the morning.

So why no? Why aren’t truck stops a preferred place to stop for the night?

For one thing, parking overnight at a truck stop is usually noisy. Many trucks (especially refrigerated ones) must keep their cooling units running all night to prevent food from spoiling.

More importantly, though, I don’t relish potentially taking a space from a professional trucker who needs the space. They’re working for a living and may be tired or legally required by Hours of Service Regulations to take a break.

So, yes… RVers can park overnight at most truck stops. But I don’t mind paying a few bucks to have a spot to park our rig overnight in an area that won’t interfere with truckers. In exchange for doing that, we’d probably also get a better night’s rest.

So, let’s see what Love’s RV Hookups are all about.

49er Village RVV Park, Plymouth, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

About Love’s RV Hookups

In 2021, Love’s Travel Stops began the process of expanding its offerings by adding dedicated RV hookups at some of its travel stops.

Love’s RV Hookups and RV Stops offer RVers an opportunity to do more than fuel up, stretch their legs, or grab a snack. Love’s Travel Stops now offer more dedicated RV parking spots nationwide than any other truckstop.

And, RVers can take advantage of many amenities at Love’s Travel Stops network of over 500 off-highway locations:

  • Propane refill: Running low on propane? You can get a refill at Love’s en route to or from your next camping destination.
  • Dump station: If you’ve just completed a boondocking stint or you’ve been on the road for awhile and your tanks are getting full, Love’s offers dump stations so you can empty those tanks and stop carrying all that crud down the highway.
  • Private shower facilities: Love’s private shower facilities are great for RVers whose rigs either have wet baths, outside showers only… or no shower at all.
  • Laundry facilities: Traveling with the family and spending the night at a Love’s? You can take the opportunity to do some loads of laundry while you’re there.
  • Dog parks: New Love’s Travel Stops are being built with dog parks and Love’s is adding a dog park to some of their older locations as well. There are currently 350 Love’s dog parks nationwide.
  • Food, beverages, and other conveniences: All Love’s Travel Stops offer snacks and a variety of food and beverages for sale. They also offer many convenience items as well as some electronics, apparel, and Love’s merchandise.
  • RV hookups: And yes, some Love’s Travel Stops now offer RV hookups right there at the travel stop. In addition, Love’s has partnered with KOA to add full-sized RV parks at some locations. (Yes, we’re talking full-on RV parks right at the location of the travel stop.)
Poche’s RV Resort, Breau Bridge, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Do all Love’s Travel Stop locations offer RV hookups?

No. As of this writing, Love’s has 29 travel centers with sites specifically dedicated to RVs. Among those locations there are 357 hookup spots as Love’s terms them. But by the end of the year the big fuel stop company says they’ll add 30 locations to the list with an additional 1,000 RV-dedicated sites. That’s a 287 percent increase of available RV sites.

Typically these hookups are back-in sites. All of them provide a safe place to be off the road and 30/50-amp electrical service. Fortunately, most appear to be a fair distance from the truck parking areas so hearing the roar of a reefer truck is not likely to be an issue. Some locations include full hookups including water and sewer.

Other Love’s locations continue to offer lots of amenities and conveniences for all travelers. That includes some that are specifically for RVers even at the Love’s that don’t have hookups.

Holiday Travel Park of Chattanooga, Chattanooga, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


The current average rate for a back-in site across all Love’s locations is $36.70 per night including electric. Dialing it down to specifics, you could stay at the Drayton, North Dakota Love’s hookup and back in for $32 a night. Go whole hog at Love’s Normal, Illinois, RV Stop and you can get full hookups at a back-in site for $37.50. Make that a pull-though site for $41.50. Compare this to the nearest KOA, in Casey, Illinois, a couple of hours away. For a full-hookup site you’ll pay $52.95 for a back-in site and $69.95 for a pull-though. True, you won’t have the amenities like a swimming pool at Love’s but for those who are looking for economy and not frills, it’s something to think about.

Bird Island Basin Campground, Padre Island National Seashore, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What about discounts at Love’s?

The rates I talk about here are nightly. There are discounts by the week and for 28-day stays. At the Normal, Illinois RV Stop that night in a pull-through I referenced above for $41.50 translates down to $37 per night for a week’s stay and just $22.64 per day if you stay a full 28 days. Some of Love’s sites can be occupied for more than 28 days; it varies by location.

Boondocking on Utah Scenic Byway 24 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What are the disadvantages of Love’s RV hookups?

I don’t really see any disadvantages to the hookups themselves. They’re a great addition for all the reasons I’ve noted above especially because they offer convenience for RVers without taking space from truckers.

However, I try to share both pros and cons of things. I’ve heard a few grumblings here and there on a couple of issues.


Some travelers seem to feel that what they’ve been using for free will now cost them. But until now, there’s been no option for hookups. My take is that we prefer to avoid staying overnight in areas meant for truckers particularly in busy travel stops if we’ve got other options.

This can be more than an annoyance to truckers. If several big rig spaces are taken by RVers and a long-haul trucker can’t park for the night that can be a safety problem for them and other drivers on the road.

And it may be a problem that Love’s is trying to solve by giving RVers their own spaces. I see that as a good thing. More options, please!

Some see it as a way for Love’s to make more money. But, really, RVers have to pay for hookups anywhere they go. If you’d rather boondock, then just don’t reserve a Love’s RV Hookup.

However, if you arrive at a Love’s on a hot summer night and you want to run your air conditioner so you can get a good night’s sleep, now you’ve got the option to hook up your rig and relax.

Thousand Trails Lynchburg, Lynchburg, Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Number of Available Spaces

Some RVers appreciate the opportunity to hook up the rig at a Love’s Travel Stop but note that most only have five or so hookups available.

Love’s is starting a new program and I think they’re probably testing the waters and they’ll expand as their marketing data suggests they should.

However, some Love’s have many more RV hookups than others. For example, Love’s RV Hookup in Winona, Texas (I-20, Exit 575) has 25 full hook-up campsites. Two of those are ADA accessible.

Columbia Riverfront RV Park, Woodbridge, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


I’ve read comments about Love’s RV hookups not being big rig friendly especially for those of us with a toad. Some RVers also note that the spaces are so close together that slideouts can’t be used. Others have said that the lots are too open to the sun, too brightly lit at night, and too noisy due to trucks and interstate traffic.

Staying at a Love’s RV Hookups location isn’t your traditional camping experience nor should we expect it to be.

For a more traditional camping experience near a Love’s location, their RV parks designed in conjunction with KOA might fit the bill depending on your travel route.

Tucson-Lazydays KOA, Tucson, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How do I reserve an RV Hookup at a Love’s Travel Stop?

While you don’t need to make a reservation, if you want to ensure a spot at Love’s, their reservation system is simple. You can make a reservation by internet at where the entry for each site has a Reserve link. Or you can phone Love’s customer service line at 1-800-OKLOVES (1-800-655-6837). Option 5 will get you to a representative who can take a reservation. You can also use an app like Campendium.

Pala Casino RV Resort, Pala, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Concluding thoughts

Love’s RV offerings certainly can’t be classified as resort quality. But if you’re looking for a place to spend the night and run your air conditioning with 1,000 more RV sites coming online this year, you may find one in your corner of the RV universe that works.

While this may not be a perfect solution to the problem of too few campgrounds for too many RVers it is an important step in the right direction. I commend Love’s for taking the lead on this. The company has recognized a problem (too few places to stay a night along the road with an RV) and done something about it.

The average full-hookup site is about $36 which is fair in today’s world where it’s hard to find full-hookups for less than $50.

This is not the solution to campground crowding, but it’s a logical step to help alleviate the crowding in existing RV parks and campgrounds.

Stay tuned: I’ll keep you posted on Love’s progress and whether any other big box stores get in on the action.

Worth Pondering…

Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.

—Charlie Brown, from Peanuts