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Why you should weigh your vehicle BEFORE you buy a Caravan.

May 13, 2020



Why you should weigh your vehicle BEFORE you buy a Caravan.

Recently Check Weight was asked some advice by a client before he bought their caravan.

Here’s why this was a very smart move.

The Client (we will call him Peter) phoned Jeff at Check Weight – he had bought a 2017 BT50 with a “3500 kg” towing limit – he was looking at a caravan and wanted to know if the BT50 would be able to tow it.

Peter sent Check Weight – the rego of the BT50, a photo of the BT50 (GVM3200) and the compliance plate of the proposed caravan purchase. (Caravan ATM 3114)

Now in theory a BT50 “should” be able to tow a 3500 kg caravan – but that is just one consideration.

There’s also GVM, ATM & GCM and axle weights to be considered.

One of the things we noticed first is that the BT50 was very nicely kitted out with canopy, bull bar – winch, roof racks etc . All these accessories reduce your payload and increase your overall weight.

So Check Weight did some analysis, and came up with –the following:

· it will be close

· it might be OK

· you might be overweight.

But the reality is we are making an educated guess. The only real way to know is to weigh the vehicle and give you a benchmark weight to start with. We also suggested asking the caravan salesperson if we can weigh the proposed caravan as well, whilst hitched to the BT50.

So Peter booked Check Weight to weigh his BT50.

On the day of the weigh the caravan salesman (god bless him) said yes it’s Ok to weigh the van at the dealership in Heatherbrae. So we reorganised the weigh time and met at the dealership.

So we hooked up the BT50 and the Leader Caravan – and the BT50 is fully loaded ready to go with wife and teenagers in, the BT50 scraped in under GVM.

So tick 1.

We weighed the caravan hitched with empty water tanks and only a few items added by the dealership after manufacture, and then unhitched the caravan and calculated the tow ball mass. And the caravan was very close to its stated TARE – the closet I’ve seen any caravan that I’ve weighed.

So tick 2 – Caravan has payload as stated.

So we are looking reasonably good – except if we add the 400 kg’s of payload to the caravan – then we increase the tow ball weight (let’s say by 10%) and the BT50 GVM is not looking as great now

and inching closer to the GVM limit.

Now I always say the the GVM is a limit, not a goal!

But then I look at GCM – and guess what – the GCM for the BT50 is 6000 kg so now our payload is only 350 kgs. Take off 190 kgs for water and 18 kg for gas (not included in your TARE remember..) and we have a payload of only 142 kg’s. That’s just not enough for a family road trip!

So the three of us, client, salesperson and Check Weight then have this conversation.

The caravan is fine – It’s close to TARE (as close as you could possibly expect) – the BT50 is just too heavy with all the accessories eating into the GVM and the GCM. And I say we need a lighter caravan (and/or a lighter BT50).

So here’s where it gets interesting.

Client Peter says “Well as much as I like all the accessories some are really not needed, so I can remove a few”.

The Caravan salesman disappears for a moment then comes back with the following:

· I can get you the same caravan but without the tunnel boot

· And without some of the superficial cladding, and its 200 kg’s lighter.

And it has the same ATM (that important I’ll explain later).

So that means we now have again a potential 550 kg payload (to keep under GCM)

With the BT50 , Peter is removing some of the accessories that he doesn’t really need – the roof racks etc. And will take some of the items presently carried in the BT50 , and put them in the caravan, and then he will be well under GVM, still under GCM, Caravan will be under ATM, and the combination will be legally compliant.

So this was a WIN WIN WIN, and a great result!

· Peter got the caravan he wanted!

· Peter knows he’s legal and compliant!

· Caravan Salesman got a sale!

· Check Weight makes a client happy!

The lesson is that had Peter just bought the $60000 caravan – and then got it weighed. He would have made a $60000 mistake, having a caravan that he couldn’t legally fully load for a trip.

So Peter’s $260 investment in getting a Check Weight Caravan and vehicle weigh done early – was very, very smart!

PS and keeping the ATM the same – that was important if Peter ever upgraded his vehicle to one with a better GVM and GCM, or when he wants to sell the caravan ! The caravan has a whopping 650 kg payload!

To Book a Caravan Weigh Call Jeff on 0419693975 or visit our Booking Page

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