When you’ve loaded up your RV for the first time, ensure you make a pitstop at a CAT Scale location. You may think you have a good idea of how much your RV weighs, but it’s best and safest to have an actual number. Weighing at a CAT Scale is easy, and when you do so, you’re showing that safety is important to you.
Let’s look at how to go about weighing your RV and why it’s critical.
Table of Contents
- What Is a CAT Scale?
- Who Can Use a CAT Scale?
- Why You Should Weigh Your Truck or RV
- How to Find a CAT Scale Near You
- How to Weigh Your Vehicle Using a CAT Scale
- Using a Cat Scale Without the App
- Considerations When Weighing Your RV
- Travel Safely Knowing Your Vehicle Weight
What Is a CAT Scale?
The CAT Scale Company “provides the professional truck driver a reliable, accurate, and certified weight through the cooperative relationship with our truckstop partners.” You can find the scales at over 2,000 truck stops all over the country.
For the trucking community with high fines and stringent regulations, CAT Scales provide the accurate weight of the truck and trailer. In fact, their website explains, “If a driver receives an overweight fine after weighing legal on a CAT brand scale, CAT Scale Company will either pay the fine or appear in court with the driver as an expert witness to get the fine dismissed.”
But what do CAT Scales have to do with RVing? They provide accurate and reliable weights for RVs too. If you tow or drive an RV, you need to know the weight of your setup.
Pro Tip: Before you drive onto a CAT scale, find out The Most Important Question New RVers Don’t Ask: RV Weight.
You can find a scale using the CAT Scale Locator app and pull onto the scale for a measurement. They have instructions about where to stop and how to set up your RV for an accurate reading. You can’t miss them because of their huge sign behind truck stops.
Who Can Use a CAT Scale?
Anyone can use a CAT Scale. Even though the company serves the trucking industry, truckers aren’t the only drivers allowed to use the scales. Anyone with an oversized vehicle can and should use it. The website has instructions for trucks and trailers, from a spread-axle trailer to a motorhome or boat.
You’ll need to download the Weigh My Truck app and the CAT Scale Locator app. The Weigh My Truck app allows you to put in the CAT Scale code, weigh your truck, pay the fee, and then get on the road without ever leaving your vehicle.
Why You Should Weigh Your Truck or RV
The correct weight is crucial to having an enjoyable RVing experience. If you tow a travel trailer or fifth wheel that is too heavy, it can create serious problems. RVs can only hold a certain amount of weight for safe travel. If you exceed that, you risk damaging the frame, increasing the chances of a tire blowout, and putting too much strain on your tow vehicle.
Your tow vehicle has a towing weight rating. If you pull an RV heavier than your towing capacity, you can damage your truck’s brake system and transmission. You’re also going to have a rougher driving experience. So knowing the actual weight of your car and trailer or motorhome is important for safe driving.
Take a look at our article about GVWR and why you need to stay within the limits, then use scales to figure out what your weights are.
Pro Tip: Never assume your vehicle can tow a trailer safely just because it’s a big truck. Here’s why: Think a One-Ton Truck Is Big Enough to Pull Your Camper? You May Be Wrong.
How to Find a CAT Scale Near You
To find a scale near you, download the CAT Scale Locator app. You can search for locations near you or along your route. You can also save places that you know you’ll use frequently.
The app will give you access to all of the 2,000 plus CAT Scale locations across the country without going online to look at individual truck stops. If you don’t want to download the app, you can also Google locations or visit the CAT website.
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How to Weigh Your Vehicle Using a CAT Scale
After using the CAT Scale locator app to find a location near you, drive to that truck stop and then look for the large sign indicating the scale’s location. Usually, it’s around the back where truckers fuel up.
Once you arrive at the truck stop, the whole process shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes. Here are a few steps to guide you through the process.
Download the Weigh My Truck App
First, download the Weigh My Truck app. Do this the night before or at least before arriving at the truck stop. You can create an account and input payment information, so you’re all set to weigh as soon as you arrive. The CAT Scale Company accepts several forms of payment, including credit cards and PayPal.
Pull Onto the Scales
Next, pull up onto the scales. You’ll see an identification number that you put into the Weigh My Truck app to confirm the location. Then confirm your truck and trailer or motorhome information stored on the app.
If you weigh a truck and travel trailer, both must be on the scale completely. Position the steer axle (front wheels) of the truck on platform one, the drive axle or rear axle of the truck on platform two, and the trailer will then sit on platform three. The designated areas are marked, so you shouldn’t have any trouble.
If you weigh a truck and fifth wheel, follow the same guidelines as above with the positioning of your truck and camper. However, to get an accurate weight of the camper, drop the travel trailer or fifth wheel in a parking spot and return to the scale to weigh just your truck.
This adds a little bit of time, but it’s necessary to know the camper’s weight. Subtract the truck weight from the combined one to know the weight of the travel trailer or fifth wheel. You have to pay another $3 for a reweigh.
It’s important to note that CAT Scales provide axle and total gross weights. They do not provide individual wheel weights.
Get Your Weight Sent to Your Phone
As long as you position correctly, you’ll receive a guaranteed accurate weight in the app. You can also get a hard copy from the clerk inside.
If you’re within the limitations of your truck, trailer, or motorhome, you’re good to go and continue traveling. If you’re overweight, you’ll need to decide the next steps for getting to a safe weight.
Pro Tip: Many people make the mistake of overpacking their RV. Make sure you leave these unnecessary items behind: 7 Things You Honestly Should NOT Bring Camping.
Using a Cat Scale Without the App
It’s much easier to use a CAT Scale with the Weigh My Truck app. If you can’t download the app for some reason, you can still use the CAT Scale to weigh your vehicle.
After you pull up and position yourself correctly, go inside to give your payment to the clerk. Go back to your vehicle to get it weighed. Then return to get the receipt.
Considerations When Weighing Your RV
You want to weigh your RV when it’s full. If you typically travel with some water in your fresh tank, make sure you have some in there. If you usually travel with five people in your motorhome, make sure they’re all inside when you weigh.
Have a full fuel tank in your truck and your truck loaded with all of the people and cargo you normally bring. It’s important for the weight to reflect your traveling lifestyle.
Travel Safely Knowing Your Vehicle Weight
If you travel overweight, you may have problems filing an RV insurance claim or dealing with warranty service should any accidents or damage happen while traveling. These hassles are inconvenient and may be expensive. You also risk endangering the lives of your passengers and other drivers if you exceed the weight limits set by the manufacturer.
Getting the correct weight on a CAT Scale doesn’t take very long. It’s also inexpensive at $12. Even with the added $3 of a reweigh for just your tow vehicle, knowing that you can tow a safe amount of weight brings peace of mind. It also reduces your risk of an accident. So the $12-15 is well worth it.
Your RV’s height is another important measurement to know. While you won’t be able to get this information from a scale, you can learn how to measure it yourself. Get started here: What Is Your RV Height, and Why Do You Need to Know It?
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