Understanding Trailer Terminology

I remember the days of heading up to the local scrapyard, picking up a discarded camping trailer, using my pickup to wench an old outbuilding on top, screwing it down with some sheetrock screws, and toting it down the road as my brand new tiny house on wheels. Those were the days. Too bad big business got involved and came up with a whole bunch of building practices for trailers and the like. I mean, who cares if the metal is rolled or straight iron?

I kid. I kid.

When preparing to build your tiny house on wheels it is beyond important to understand just what kind of trailer you need and how to determine the right trailer to purchase for such a build. But with acronym after acronym, who can be sure what they need? Perhaps this list of trailer terms will help!

Base Curb Weight    
This is the weight of the vehicle including fluids (fuel, coolant, lubricants) and any standard equipment installed by the factory.  It does not however, include passengers, cargo, dealer or aftermarket installed equipment.

Gross Vehicle Weight  (GVW)
This is base curb weight plus passengers, cargo, dealer or aftermarket installed equipment.  Note, when a trailer is attached this weight would be PLUS the tongue weight.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
This is the maximum total weight the vehicle was designed to carry.

Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR)
This is the carrying capacity for each axle system (this would include the tires, suspension components and the axle).  You will usually find that the rear axle has a higher GAWR than the front.  Do NOT make the mistake of adding your 2 GAWR and thinking that this is what your vehicle will carry.

courtesy of Tiny House Basics

Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR)
This is the maximum combined weight of both the towing vehicle (including cargo and passengers) as well as the trailer (including all cargo).

Maximum Trailer Weight    
The maximum weight of a trailer the loaded vehicle is permitted to tow.

Gross Trailer Weight (GTW)
Weight of Trailer Fully Loaded

Tongue Weight (TW)
The downward force, or weight exerted by trailer coupler on hitch ball.

Unloaded Vehicle Weight Rating (UVWR)
This is the weight of the vehicle (usually a trailer) including fluids (fuel, coolant, lubricants) and any standard equipment installed by the factory.  It does not include passengers, cargo, dealer or aftermarket installed equipment.

Unloaded Tongue Weight    
The downward force, or weight exerted by trailer coupler on hitch ball of an unloaded trailer including any standard equipment installed by the factory.  It does not include cargo, dealer or aftermarket installed equipment.

Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC)
This is the weight of cargo, dealer or aftermarket installed equipment you can carry. Subtract UVRW from GVWR to determine the CCC.

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]

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