A trip to the Weigh Bridge

We took our motorhome Elton for his first “test” weigh-in at the Weighbridge today. It’s important that we don’t overload the van; if we’re stopped by the police and taken to a weighbridge for testing and we’re overweight, we’d be fined, AND  we’d have to lose all excess weight before they’d allow us to leave the weigh station and continue our journey. Potentially that would mean having to leave some of our possessions behind. We’ve heard of many motorhomers being tested and having problems being overweight, particularly in Europe; we don’t want to have problems with this.

All vehicles have a VIN plate that includes the weight limits for the vehicle –  the maximum weight the vehicle weight can be, the maximum (train) weight including a towed caravan or trailer, and the maximum weight of each axle. There’s actually a whole industry built around managing this, and more ways of looking at different measurements  and acronyms than you can shake a stick at. But for us it was simple – keep our max weight below 3,850 KG, and making sure neither axle exceeds its specified weight limit.

The weight limits on our VIN plate

There are weighbridges all over the place where you can pay to get your vehicle weighed, such as farms, industrial areas, and public council run weighbridges. They’re easy enough to find on the internet, and a quick phone call will let you know if they offer weighing services to the public. They vary how much they charge, but the one we use charges £5 per measurement, so overall £15 for our three measurements.

Before we went to the weigh station, , we loaded up the van with most of the things we want to take with us when we set off travelling, so we’d get a reasonable view of where we stood against all of our maximum weights. We were nervous about doing this, as if we were over our limits, we’d have to cut down on what we could take with us !

Driving up onto the weigh bridge

When we arrived at the weigh station, we needed to take three measurements, overall weight, and then each axle individually. To do this, you start off by just driving the front wheels onto the weigh plate and getting a measurement taken. Then drive the full vehicle onto the weigh plate and getting another weight measurement, and then just leaving the rear wheels on the plate and getting the third measurement taken It’s simple to do and the operator then gives you your three measurements.

Our results :

  1. Total Vehicle               Target –  below 3,850Kg,         Actual 3,500Kg
  2. Front Axle,                   Target – below 1,950Kg,         Actual 1,520Kg
  3. Rear Axle,                     Target – below 2,000Kg,       Actual 1,900Kg

So all of our measurements are within their weight limits and overall, we have plenty of capacity on the Maximum Gross Weight, but we are within 100Kg on the rear axle. That’s because most of our stuff is stored in the big garage at the back of the motorhome, and because we have a large overhang at the back of the vehicle behind the back axle, actual weights of items are magnified (because of lever principles etc etc).

Nothing to worry about right now, but we will look at redistributing some items from the garage – such as heavy bike batteries – towards the front of the vehicle. We’re also going to have another clear out and rationalise of the things we’re going to take with us. Think my toolbox is going to take a hit !

Our next weigh will be when we set off and we are fully loaded – that’s going to be very scary !!


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