Public weighbridge, surprise at recorded weight.

Sep 2, 2006
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Hi, I am currently looking to change my towcar and have been looking away from heavy 4x4,s and the usual kerb weight is throwing up compromises I haven,t needed to consider for a while. Caravan is a hymer nova 545 uk, usual weekend stuff, very little food and three sunloungers and all the usual gear including a sun canopy, barbecue x2 gaslite x 2 etc . On the way home this afternoon I thought that it would be useful for the first time to check the caravan weight on a public weighbridge . The unladen caravan left the factory weighing 1330kg and it's plated to a useful maximum of 1700kg which has never been an issue for my Touareg. The weighbridge recorded 1660kgs still attached to the back of the car! The jockey wheel gauge usually indicates around 110kgs without the three bikes I usually travel with (no bikes on this weekend). This surprised me, we normally travel with the bikes and a zodiac inflatable and all the gear. So basically it would appear that i am usually well over weight. This will change the thinking for the next car. Has anyone else visted a weighbridge and as above being rather surprised at the real world figures? Regards Paul.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Someone recently posted a similar message not quite as extreme as yours but from memory he decided to strip out 50kg. He was an experienced csravanner who considers himself conscientious regarding weights. Just looking at vans that arrive on site you can clearly see that they must be well overloaded. You did well to decide on weighing it. I keep a spreadsheet of equipment weights and use different loads depending on the type of trip. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly payload is reduced by what are often the basics. Your van compared to U.K. made vans has a healthy payload. Hope you can square the circle. :)
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello Paul,

It really is a serious matter, becasue if you are overloaded your insurance may be invalid, not to mention the possibility of being prosecuted for an overloaded vehicle which is automatically considered to be dangerous.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Please be aware that public weigh bridges are generally for laden goods vehicles and a tolerance of 5% is allowed and more than likely it will over read. On a caravan or trailer the actual weight could be 1600kg but it could over read by up to 80kgs indicating that the caravan weighs 1680kg when it does not.
Third party insurance would always remain in force even if over weight however they will claim from you in the event of a mishap. Stating that breaking the law will invalidate your insurance is not quite correct otherwise most of us would have our insurance invalidated just by exceeding the speed limit by even .5mph! However it is always a good idea to stay within the law to avoid any hassles.
 
May 7, 2012
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Buckman said:
Please be aware that public weigh bridges are generally for laden goods vehicles and a tolerance of 5% is allowed and more than likely it will over read. On a caravan or trailer the actual weight could be 1600kg but it could over read by up to 80kgs indicating that the caravan weighs 1680kg when it does not.
Third party insurance would always remain in force even if over weight however they will claim from you in the event of a mishap. Stating that breaking the law will invalidate your insurance is not quite correct otherwise most of us would have our insurance invalidated just by exceeding the speed limit by even .5mph! However it is always a good idea to stay within the law to avoid any hassles.

It is correct that breaking the law will not neccesserily invalidate your insurance. If you do your insurer has to make a decision as to if the problem is sufficient to allow them to do this and if they will take the point. The last bit is where the better companies will differ from the rest as the point at which they will turn a claim down is likely to be less severe so the cheapest might be costly in those circumstances.
If you ask will overloading the caravan invalidate your insurance though, the answer is possibly. It depends on how much and why. An innocent modest amount should not be a problem in most cases, but willfull serious overloading would. Where the company draws the line will vary and in some policies you might find trailers weighing more than the tow car areexcludded so check your cover.
 
Jul 15, 2008
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paul_5132583 said:
...........So basically it would appear that i am usually well over weight. This will change the thinking for the next car. Has anyone else visted a weighbridge and as above being rather surprised at the real world figures? Regards Paul.

.............I don't get your thought process here.

Your post says you are usually towing your caravan with it overweight and with the normal alko hitch weight limit being exceeded.

Doesn't that mean that your Touareg is coping rather well?
Are you saying you have driving license restrictions?
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Raywood said:
Buckman said:
Please be aware that public weigh bridges are generally for laden goods vehicles and a tolerance of 5% is allowed and more than likely it will over read. On a caravan or trailer the actual weight could be 1600kg but it could over read by up to 80kgs indicating that the caravan weighs 1680kg when it does not.
Third party insurance would always remain in force even if over weight however they will claim from you in the event of a mishap. Stating that breaking the law will invalidate your insurance is not quite correct otherwise most of us would have our insurance invalidated just by exceeding the speed limit by even .5mph! However it is always a good idea to stay within the law to avoid any hassles.

It is correct that breaking the law will not neccesserily invalidate your insurance. If you do your insurer has to make a decision as to if the problem is sufficient to allow them to do this and if they will take the point. The last bit is where the better companies will differ from the rest as the point at which they will turn a claim down is likely to be less severe so the cheapest might be costly in those circumstances.
If you ask will overloading the caravan invalidate your insurance though, the answer is possibly. It depends on how much and why. An innocent modest amount should not be a problem in most cases, but willfull serious overloading would. Where the company draws the line will vary and in some policies you might find trailers weighing more than the tow car are excludded so check your cover.

Another thing to take into account that while the caravan or trailer is attached to the car, part of the weight is transferred to the towball on the car. Not sure how it works but would think that if the nose weight of the caravan is 80kg that weight is transferred to the car so weighing while hitched up may not be correct thing to do?
When we have used public weighbridges we have always disconnected the caravan from the car. I assume that this gives us a good safety margin on a caravan with MTPLM of 2000kg with actual weight being 2000kg. Actually the nose weight on our caravan is approximately 145kg.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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It was myself that OC was refering to ref weighbridge weights, Our local weighbridge operator drinks in our pub and stays that at 1600kg our van could actually be up or down by 5kg of the indicated weight. I have weighed ours now three times and when over weight the actual weights of items removed from the caravan corresponds to the new weigh bridge readings to the same amount. Always weigh with caravan removed from the car.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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The available accuracy of a weighbridge for the purposes of checking legal compliance, is actually quite broad and is outlined in this document:-

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/weighing-vehicles-for-enforcement-consolidated-code-of-practice/consolidated-code-of-practice-enforcement-weighing-of-vehicles
Trading standards will check weighbridges and will be looking for compliance to within +/-20kg. though many will be capable of resolving to +/-10kg.

This bit will be tedious so if you don't want to know about the difference between static and dynamic loads don't read or complain unless you find a factual error.

The problem with overloads is that whilst it is static it may be properly supported and do no damage, but under towing conditions, the outfit is subjected to a wide range of different forces like vibrations, which are technically accelerations. acceleration are measured in G - referring to the acceleration due to gravity we all experience on earth.

Long established Vehicle designers and engineers know full well that types or road conditions will produce some very severe vibrations and when measured these can be as high as 8G. When you plug that value into Newtons second law of motion (Force = Mass x Acceleration, you can begin to appreciate the effect that even a relatively small overload can have.

Purely as a much simplified situation, if you have a caravan with an maximum axle load of 1500kg, and you load it to 1500kg, under some road conditions the suspension will have to absorb impact loads of 12000kg. The designers will have made their own calculations, and probably come up with designed strength in that region.

But If you over load by just 100kg, that overload is also amplified by the vibrations, and that will be adding up to 800Kg to the peak loads, and could easily be more than the design peak load limit of the vehicle.

That is one important reason why overloading is potentially so dangerous.
 
Sep 2, 2006
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Hi all, the point I was attempting to make is that I was rather surprised at being so heavy, with just a weekend outings of gear apart from the usual gear left on board. My holiday jaunts abroad whether to the french alps or the Med, usually consists of a zodiac inflatable, inflatable canoe, 3 mountain bikes, additional tents and all the usual parafinallia for a 2 week holiday. I am now aware that I have previously been overweight but not particularly aware apart from the 130kg nose weight. I have been researching lighter tow cars to rationalise solo mileage moving forward. I have been looking at vehicles around the 1750-1800 kg kerb weight range, thinking I, ll put the caravan on a diet and maintain a 85-90% weight ratio. This prompted the weigh bridge visit yesterday for a reality check. To be honest the Touareg is somewhere around the 2500kg mark so I have not concerned myself weight ratio wise for the last six years.There is so much advice on the tow car video reviews all related to kerb weights etc. The point is I reckon based on my latest exprience is apart from a small number of prudent caravanners, most people could be towing overweight and unaware! As my original post I had a 370kg loading margin which is higher than most. I therefore believe that there should be a bigger enthus on using public weigh bridges to determine exactly what you weigh. And yes it's also illegal. So unless I change the van, which is unlikely it's the heavy tow car for the foreseeable future, and i need to put the van on a diet.
 
Oct 8, 2006
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Buckman said:
Raywood said:
Buckman said:
Please be aware that public weigh bridges are generally for laden goods vehicles and a tolerance of 5% is allowed and more than likely it will over read. On a caravan or trailer the actual weight could be 1600kg but it could over read by up to 80kgs indicating that the caravan weighs 1680kg when it does not.
Third party insurance would always remain in force even if over weight however they will claim from you in the event of a mishap. Stating that breaking the law will invalidate your insurance is not quite correct otherwise most of us would have our insurance invalidated just by exceeding the speed limit by even .5mph! However it is always a good idea to stay within the law to avoid any hassles.

It is correct that breaking the law will not neccesserily invalidate your insurance. If you do your insurer has to make a decision as to if the problem is sufficient to allow them to do this and if they will take the point. The last bit is where the better companies will differ from the rest as the point at which they will turn a claim down is likely to be less severe so the cheapest might be costly in those circumstances.
If you ask will overloading the caravan invalidate your insurance though, the answer is possibly. It depends on how much and why. An innocent modest amount should not be a problem in most cases, but willfull serious overloading would. Where the company draws the line will vary and in some policies you might find trailers weighing more than the tow car are excludded so check your cover.

Another thing to take into account that while the caravan or trailer is attached to the car, part of the weight is transferred to the towball on the car. Not sure how it works but would think that if the nose weight of the caravan is 80kg that weight is transferred to the car so weighing while hitched up may not be correct thing to do?
When we have used public weighbridges we have always disconnected the caravan from the car. I assume that this gives us a good safety margin on a caravan with MTPLM of 2000kg with actual weight being 2000kg. Actually the nose weight on our caravan is approximately 145kg.

Check the noseweight spec for the chassis used on your caravan. Even with a MTPLM of 2t that noseweight does seem a bit high.

Mind you, a MTPLM of 2t must be one big caravan!
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Raywood said:
...
Another thing to take into account that while the caravan or trailer is attached to the car, part of the weight is transferred to the towball on the car. Not sure how it works but would think that if the nose weight of the caravan is 80kg that weight is transferred to the car so weighing while hitched up may not be correct thing to do? ...

Hello Ray
I would agree this aspect of towing loads is not intuitive to a casual glance, but it is actually logical.

If you were to take a caravan hitched to a car, and then weigh each of the outfits axles, you can actually derive a lot of information and check the outfit is compliant with many of the outfits load limits.
Cars Front axle load
Cars Rear axle load
Cars GVW
Cars GTW
And the Cars Towed weight limit by looking at the caravans axle load.

Then by unhitching the caravan, and remeasurement of the car's axle load, by adding the two new readings you get the solo cars weight but cruishaly it will be lighter by the amount of the caravans nose weight. This proves the car carries the nose load.

By adding the caravans nose to the caravan axle load you get the caravans total weight and can compare that to the caravans MTPLM.
 
Oct 12, 2013
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I like the way some people are saying un hitch the caravan and weigh it separate then put it over with the car etc etc , the weighing station I use isn't a platform it's just rollers so you drive over the rollers and it weighs each axle unhitching our caravan isn't an option for me because I am not pulling it round over their rollers !!!
Last time I weighed ours it was with the combined weight of 34oo'ish kg , that was with the four of us in the car a boot full of stuff probably half a tank of fuel and coming back from a weekend away.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Craigyoung said:
I like the way some people are saying un hitch the caravan and weigh it separate then put it over with the car etc etc , the weighing station I use isn't a platform it's just rollers so you drive over the rollers and it weighs each axle unhitching our caravan isn't an option for me because I am not pulling it round over their rollers !!!
Last time I weighed ours it was with the combined weight of 34oo'ish kg , that was with the four of us in the car a boot full of stuff probably half a tank of fuel and coming back from a weekend away.

If you re-read my last post you will see you don't have to pull the solo caravan over the weighbridge, only drive the car over again, and all the caravans weight values can be derived through simple and reliable calculations.
 
Oct 12, 2013
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Dodger524 said:
Frightening things weighbridges, you never know what they will tell you. :woohoo:

If I keep up with my exercise running biking & weights it should be ok if my weight keeps dropping , I'm not too worried !!
 
Nov 16, 2015
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So really, we take our vans to the weighbridge and we could be up or down by maybe 40 kg. And when we are stopped for road side check what happens then?
Anyone on here been stopped for a check and what happened. ?
Concerned
Hutch
 
Jun 20, 2005
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Taking a few steps back I do wonder if we are getting paranoid about our weights :eek:hmy:
In 40 years of caravanning I have never used a weigh bridge.
Rightly or wrongly I have relied on both car and manufacturers plated weights.
I may be close on my MTPLM but I know the heavy stuff , awning etc is inside the tug.
Sir WC RIP actually weighed every single item , teaspoon included and things he didn’t need . He found he was close and in fact was carrying things he didn’t know he had. Did he use a weigh bridge? No.
Maybe we should all relax.
And in answer to the last question I have never , read or met anyone who has been stopped and prosecuted for a weight discrepancy.
Yes . Awareness is very important but there are times I feel we take the weight issues to the point of paranoia :woohoo: Now goes into hiding :whistle:
 
Nov 11, 2009
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EH52ARH said:
So really, we take our vans to the weighbridge and we could be up or down by maybe 40 kg. And when we are stopped for road side check what happens then?
Anyone on here been stopped for a check and what happened. ?
Concerned
Hutch

Yes flagged to follow him by a motorcycle policeman near Ringwood. Escorted to a vehicle checkpoint with weighbridge. Car weighed and caravan weighed outfit weighed if I recall correctly. Anyway axle loads were determined. Must have been okay as I was then sent on my way after checks on both vehicles and paperwork. . Miserable sproats didn’t give me a weight certificate so I could validate my itemised spreadsheet produced using bathroom scales and Excel. But it must have been reasonably accurate as I tend to run close to the MTPLM on some trips. Or perhaps since it was summer the caravan had shed some of its +- 5% margin by its damp drying out a bit.

And “yes” I too have been subject to a random breathalyser test in a little out of the way village in France. And “No” I wasn’t anywhere near the limit then.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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I agree dusty,I have no intention of going to a weightbridge,even though it's at the top of the road from work/storage.Why? Because we only pack what we need,as a family of four what would you leave behind if you were overweight?Im fairly sure we'll be close(or just over)max.I pack awning etc over axle of van,rest- bbq,chairs bikes in/on car.
Next week were off to Devon,we only pack clothes for one week(do a wash after week)no food,do a shop day after arrival.So long as you're sensible.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Whilst I can understand your position. Let’s hope that should you take a flight somewhere the pilot doesn’t take a similar approach to weight control.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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Brasso
Following up on my last post I must mention that probably once a year , like Sir WC RIP I do weigh 99% of everything we carry in the caravan. It does add up and can be more than you think.
Things light the awning, poles etc I believe should go in the tug.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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My biggest risk factor is my co-conspirator who being 130 miles to the south of me without access to my phone,by her own admission doesn’t really know what weight goes in the fridge, always packs twice or more times what the dogs eat, and packs Coca Cola as if it’s going out of fashion. And seems oblivious to the fact that there are shops throughout UK and Europe! Needless to say there is often some reallocation of supplies. She spits blood when I say “Time for Project Minimise” despite dishing out the relevant marked up spreadsheet well before take off.
 

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