“Combined” Weighbridge weight correct or wrong?

Aug 5, 2023
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Hi folks,

We are just back from our long bank holiday weekend away, and on route home stopped off at a Weighbridge, been wanting to do this for a while.

When we arrived the lad told us to swing around and drive onto the Weighbridge which we did

As we started to unhitch the car to leave the caravan on, he said you’ll be wanting to leave the car there for the ‘combined weight’

I said no, we just want the weight of the caravan to see if it’s over or not, when he then said nah, you’ll just be wanting the combined weight of the caravan and car.

If we wanted the weight of both then he would charge us two weighs.

I explained again and he went into the office then came back out and said just to drive the car off which we did and he said the caravan on its own is 2000kg which is right on the nose of the caravan upgrade plate we purchased.

So we have an Audi SQ5 2020 model and the caravan was upgraded to 2000kg,
Car Max Permissible weight = 2625
Mass in service = 2118
Braked = 2400

The receipt print off stated our total weight combined was 4380, and he said our caravan was bang on 2000kg…. :unsure:

Are we right in saying he’s correct or something isn’t adding up?
 
Aug 5, 2023
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So how can he state our caravan is bang on 2000kg,

Does that mean our car would be 2118 plus 262kg in the car which would include, half tank fuel, 2 kids (14 and 9 year old) and some bags in the boot?

He never gave us a print out of the caravan on it's own, only the conbined which was 4380.

I honestly didn't think we would be hitting 2000kg already :(
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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Most likely the car doesn't weigh 2118kg when it's empty. After all, Mass in Service is not the actual weight of your particular car, but that of the car without any factory fitted options that the manufacturer submitted for type approval. As RogerL says, the result sounds pretty plausible to me, too.
 
Nov 6, 2005
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So how can he state our caravan is bang on 2000kg,

Does that mean our car would be 2118 plus 262kg in the car which would include, half tank fuel, 2 kids (14 and 9 year old) and some bags in the boot?

He never gave us a print out of the caravan on it's own, only the conbined which was 4380.

I honestly didn't think we would be hitting 2000kg already :(
Even with upgrades on UK market caravans, it doesn't surprise me if caravans are overweight even when only loaded modestly - it's probably around 4 decades ago but I recall one on the caravan magazines weighing a brand new caravan provided for review and it's unladen weight was more than the gross weight !!!
 
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The lad also mentioned something about being under the 6.1 limit, and the police wouldn’t be interested.

So the caravan weight has to be 2000kg or below?

The car gross with 4 person, 1 tank of fuel, boot full plus pulling caravan if all came to 6 the police wouldn’t be interested…:unsure:
 
Mar 14, 2005
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The lad also mentioned something about being under the 6.1 limit, and the police wouldn’t be interested.

So the caravan weight has to be 2000kg or below?

The car gross with 4 person, 1 tank of fuel, boot full plus pulling caravan if all came to 6 the police wouldn’t be interested…:unsure:

The police would primarily be interested in whether the combined weight of car and caravan exceeds the plated permissible gross train weight which is presumably 5025kg (2625 + 2400). If they suspect that the caravan may be overloaded, they may also check the caravan's axle load, too, without it having to be unhitched. Although that wouldn't be the true total weight of the caravan because it doesn't include the noseweight, they would probably be satisfied if it doesn't exceed 2000kg and give you the benefit of the doubt regarding the noseweight.
 
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Ok so how I’m understanding this is

5025 gross train which is both Car/Caravan combined, the car can be no more than 2625kg and the caravan can’t be more than 2400kg

Our caravan has an upgraded plate of 2000kg which is what we should stick on or under?

Hopefully that’s all correct above :)

Seems so odd..and it’s puzzling us why we can be so exact and bang on 2000kg which is the total limit for this caravan, just shocked how we weren't over.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Ok so how I’m understanding this is

5025 gross train which is both Car/Caravan combined, the car can be no more than 2625kg and the caravan can’t be more than 2400kg

Our caravan has an upgraded plate of 2000kg which is what we should stick on or under?

Hopefully that’s all correct above :)

Seems so odd..and it’s puzzling us why we can be so exact and bang on 2000kg which is the total limit for this caravan, just shocked how we weren't over.

Your understanding is correct except that the caravan on its own must not exceed 2000kg, not should not exceed that value. In that case, if both the car and the caravan are within their respective limits, you would obviously not exceed the gross train weight limit.
 
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If I have understood your posting correctly, only the caravans road wheels were on the weighbridge. Assuming this was the situation, all you have been given is the trailers axle load. As lutz explained above, that is not the same as the caravans total weight, becasue it has not accounted for the nose load which is supported by the car.

What concerns me is if the trailers measured axle load matches the increased MTPLM plate at 2000kg, then the caravan total load will actually be greater by the value of the nose load. If you have followed industry advice then you will have at least 5% to 7% of the caravans load acting on the coupling, meaning the axles are only recording 95 to 93% of the caravans actual total weight. If this is true, then you are actually exceeding your new plated MTPLM possibly by up to 140kg.

However, Public Weighbridges have a fairly wide tolerance on their figures which should be stated on the weighbridge results. They are rather like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, but that is the way the law is written.
 
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The car / van was weighed while still attached to the caravan, we then drove off leaving the van on the bridge then my other half went in to pay. The lad said he won’t charge for two weighs and only charged for the combined, but he also wrote the caravan on its own as 2000kg on the receipt.
Gross was 4380 (combined)

Our first weight plate on the caravan was MRO 1683kg - MTPLM 1863kg
The updated plate now states MRO 1683 - MTPLM 2000kg

I really don’t think we have exceeded the 2000kg.

What we have had fitted to the caravan
Powrtouch Motor Movers (4 movers Auto) = Approx 70kg
Truma Aventa Compact Plus A/C Unit = 29.5kg
Maxview Roam plus router = 1kg
2 x TV’s = 6.4kg
Approx weight of food, tools, clothes, cutlery, bowls/plates, liquids = 60-70kg give or take
 
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One needs to remember that a weighbridge probably cannot differentiate between the the caravan being 20kg under or over the MTPLM as they are geared to measure in tons. I think the tolerance can be up to 5%? The actual weight of the caravan could have been 1960kg or 2050kg, but reading is 2000kg.

Anyway the caravan should have been weighed while connected to the car and not when detached so the lad was correct. We drive onto the weigh bridge and car is driven off so just the caravan is on the weigh bridge, but still connected to the car.
 
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Anyway the caravan should have been weighed while connected to the car and not when detached so the lad was correct. We drive onto the weigh bridge and car is driven off so just the caravan is on the weigh bridge, but still connected to the car.

In that case you would not be weighing the caravan but only its axle load. The noseweight, which is part of the total weight of the caravan, would be missing.
 
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Lutz is correct.
As someone who weighed many vehicles over the years, and prosecuted a fair few drivers I can state, without any doubt whatsoever, that the gross weight of this caravan would have been over 2000 Kg when weighed. Its like saying you just measured the front axle weight of a car and that was its gross weight, you need to have the weight of the other axle as well, in the case of a caravan that's the nose weight.

To obtain the actual weight of the caravan it would have needed to have been detached from the towing vehicle so that its axle(s) and jockey wheel were on the weighbridge plate. That is the only means of determining its gross weight. If weighed whilst attached to the towcar the nose weight imposed on the towball would not be measured. If on a dynamic weighbridge then it would require 2 weights to be obtained, the axle weight and the jockey wheel weight and those two figures added together to give the gross weight.

If you weigh yourself on the bathroom scales, and lean on the washbasin you will get a lower reading than if you don't lean on anything, same principle applies when weighing any trailer, hence the need to detach it from the towbar to get the true weight.

Be careful not to confuse axle weight and gross weight, they are not the same thing, the actual gross weight will always exceed the axle weight by a small (but possibly significant) amount

So long story shirt, the caravan actually weighed more than 2000 Kg.
 
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However my understanding was that the caravan needs to be towed by a vehicle for an offence to take place and when towed, part of that weight is transferred to the vehicle therefore although the caravan may weigh 2050kg it may be likely that no offence is being committed as long as the unit is within the gross train weight of the towing vehicle?

However I would be very surprised if any traffic officer prosecuted because a caravan is 20-50kg over weight. A lot simpler to tell the offending driver to transfer stuff to the towing vehicle and send them on their way unless the motorist decides to get mouthy. Then throw the book at them!
 
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Lutz is correct.
As someone who weighed many vehicles over the years, and prosecuted a fair few drivers I can state, without any doubt whatsoever, that the gross weight of this caravan would have been over 2000 Kg when weighed. Its like saying you just measured the front axle weight of a car and that was its gross weight, you need to have the weight of the other axle as well, in the case of a caravan that's the nose weight.

To obtain the actual weight of the caravan it would have needed to have been detached from the towing vehicle so that its axle(s) and jockey wheel were on the weighbridge plate. That is the only means of determining its gross weight. If weighed whilst attached to the towcar the nose weight imposed on the towball would not be measured. If on a dynamic weighbridge then it would require 2 weights to be obtained, the axle weight and the jockey wheel weight and those two figures added together to give the gross weight.

If you weigh yourself on the bathroom scales, and lean on the washbasin you will get a lower reading than if you don't lean on anything, same principle applies when weighing any trailer, hence the need to detach it from the towbar to get the true weight.

Be careful not to confuse axle weight and gross weight, they are not the same thing, the actual gross weight will always exceed the axle weight by a small (but possibly significant) amount

So long story shirt, the caravan actually weighed more than 2000 Kg.

The caravan was weighted on its own sitting on the weightbridge.

We drove off which is when he told us the caravan was bang on 2000kg
 
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Sorry Buckman but your understanding is simply wrong in regards to the caravans weight. The weight on the towbar is still part of the caravans weight, it might be imposed on the towbar, but that doesnt alter things. Read my post re bathroom scales.
I can assure you that the offence is still most definitely committed, whether it would be detected or prosecuted is another matter. A Police officer has a huge amount of discretion and most probably would, in the circumstances above, offer "words of advice" to the driver and get them to redistribute the load, but that doesnt mean the driver hasnt committed an offence or isnt liable for prosecution. Again don't confuse axle and gross weights.

There is a bit of leeway for open backed HGV's but that is to cover the possibility that any load has absorbed rainwater and weighs more than when the journey was started (leaky caravan??)

But the original question related to the OP's caravans actual weight, and thats what I addressed in my detailed reply. It is important to understand exactly how the actual gross weight of a trailer is obtained, and that is only possible by weighing it on its own.
 
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The caravan was weighted on its own sitting on the weightbridge.

We drove off which is when he told us the caravan was bang on
Ah sorry, I misread your original post, I thought you hadnt detached the caravan, my mistake! . But in my defence you did say he only gave you a combined weight ticket.
 
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He gave me the combined ticket but as mentioned he didn’t want to charge me twice for combined and on its own. So he wrote the 2000kg on the ticket for just the caravan
 
Oct 19, 2023
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As someone who weighed many vehicles over the years, and prosecuted a fair few drivers..........
What is (was) the normal course of events if someone is over their mtplm? Is there a degree of tolerance similar to speeding? Are people given a slapped wrist and allowed to redistribute loads if they are slightly over?

Before anyone jumps in, I accept that you could be prosecuted for driving 0.1 mph over the speed limit .......... but in reality you would be unlucky to be prosecuted below speed limit + 10% + 2mph, assuming that you weren't doing anything else wrong, and I'm not advocating that you exceed any speed limit under any circumstances.

EDIT. Answered before I posted the question. I need a faster finger. 🤦‍♂️
 
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Even with upgrades on UK market caravans, it doesn't surprise me if caravans are overweight even when only loaded modestly - it's probably around 4 decades ago but I recall one on the caravan magazines weighing a brand new caravan provided for review and it's unladen weight was more than the gross weight !!!
At one time the owner manual would say that a caravan could be +~ 5% of the stated MRO which at that time was annex works empty caravan. This variation could be due to atmospheric conditions. But I guess as more impermeable materials are used this May no longer be the case.
 

Mel

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There was a chap on a Facebook group complaining that he had weighed his caravan only with items included in MIRO ( although he may or may not have included a motor mover- there was some debate about that and what counted as MIRO) and found that the weight was over the MIRO by some margin. He wanted some redress from the dealer and wasn’t getting anywhere.
Anyway, him aside, I would like to bet that none of us weigh our vans at MIRO; so it is possible that the figure we start with before doing any calculations about what weight we add, may not be as accurate as we hoped?
Mel
 
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What is (was) the normal course of events if someone is over their mtplm? Is there a degree of tolerance similar to speeding? Are people given a slapped wrist and allowed to redistribute loads if they are slightly over?

Before anyone jumps in, I accept that you could be prosecuted for driving 0.1 mph over the speed limit .......... but in reality you would be unlucky to be prosecuted below speed limit + 10% + 2mph, assuming that you weren't doing anything else wrong, and I'm not advocating that you exceed any speed limit under any circumstances.

EDIT. Answered before I posted the question. I need a faster finger. 🤦‍♂️
Just read what happens when DVSA weigh trailers and caravans at services during holiday time. Discretion is used as long as the transgression isn’t major. But that doesn’t mean you could not be prosecuted or the caravan retained.
 
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There was a chap on a Facebook group complaining that he had weighed his caravan only with items included in MIRO ( although he may or may not have included a motor mover- there was some debate about that and what counted as MIRO) and found that the weight was over the MIRO by some margin. He wanted some redress from the dealer and wasn’t getting anywhere.
Anyway, him aside, I would like to bet that none of us weigh our vans at MIRO; so it is possible that the figure we start with before doing any calculations about what weight we add, may not be as accurate as we hoped?
Mel
After having a 240 kg overload on a 1000kg MTPLM I did weigh my caravan empty but with battery and mover. Shocks all around!!!
 

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