Making Sense of Caravan Compliance Plates

March 18, 2021

3mins

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Caravan Compliance Plates

Firstly find where it is, take a photo of it and have a read. If you don’t know where it is – you should. It may be on your drawbar or in the tunnel boot.

We have even weighed a caravan that didn’t have a compliance plate put on by the manufacturer and the caravan was only a few years so it should have had one. It was then resold to the current owner. Only when I went to weigh it did the owner find out it didn’t have a compliance plate.

Lack of a compliance plate makes it difficult to prove that the caravan is actually the caravan on the registration papers.

Compliance plates for ALL vehicles including home built trailers became law in 1989. So a caravan built before 1989 may not have one.

Details that you may find on a Caravan Compliance Plate:

Manufacturer

Name of Manufacturer

Make /Model

The model of the caravan

VIN Number

This is the unique number belonging to this vehicle and is used by RMS, Police etc to identify vehicle – check registration is current etc.

Date of Manufacture

Date the caravan was built.

TARE MASS

The manufactured weight of the caravan – doesn’t include extra’s ordered after manufacture or put on the caravan by the dealership. Doesn’t include gas (or sometimes the bottles) or water. We are finding that some (but not all) caravans manufactured by major manufacturers now are being weighed when manufactured. In previous years they may not have been. However there seems that there is no legal imperative that they have to. They can calculate it based on the specs of the build.

So beware – if the manufacturer doesn’t weigh your caravan when applying the compliance plate – then your caravan may start off heavier than you thought.

ATM Rating

The maximum permissible weight of the caravan unhitched to the vehicle

GTM Rating

Maximum permissible weight of the caravan whilst HITCHED to the tow vehicle

For a more in depth explanation of GTM, ATM etc Download our

FREE Report on Caravan Weight Acronyms.

Axle Group Rating

Maximum weight specified by the axle manufacturer. This can be the same or higher than the GTM or ATM Rating.

Ball Loading at TARE

The ball loading at TARE is often mistaken as a recommended ball weight – this is incorrect. This is supposed to be the ball weight of the caravan when manufactured. It’s taken when empty and is quite misleading as the ball weight will change as soon as weight is added to the caravan.

Maximum Permissible Ball Loading

The maximum the tow ball weight can be when the caravan is fully loaded.

TYRES

I get asked about tyre pressures a lot – and see questions on Facebook groups about tyre pressures. Maybe the compliance plate is a good place to start ?

· Rim Size and Profile

· Tyre Size

· Tyre Pressure cold at TARE

· Tyre Pressure cold at GTM

· Tyre Speed Rating

If you have any questions about tyre pressures, go to your your local tyre dealer.

SUMMARY

Now not every compliance plate will have all of this information.

And just to make life confusing check your registration papers in NSW.

Roads & Maritime Service (RMS) list the caravan weight as GVM, however caravans don’t have a GVM, they have GTM and ATM. Caravan Weight Acronyms Explained

And most of the time your GTM is listed as GVM on your registration.

But sometimes it is the ATM. Confused – Yes – join the club.

And sometimes the caravan manufacturer won’t list a GTM or even TARE on the compliance plate.

Jayco don’t list TARE on their compliance plates anymore….

There’s probably a good reason for this – but I can’t find one. I think it’s because even though Jayco weigh the caravans at manufacture – the dealership regularly adds “stuff” – so the TARE can’t be wrong if it’s not listed !

And one last thing to make it more confusing.

Chassis Plate

The chassis may have been built by a third party who supplies to different caravan manufacturers. And the chassis builder may have rated the chassis to a certain weight. This can be more than the GTM and /or ATM. It doesn’t mean your caravan can be this weight.

Eg: The chassis manufacturers GTM 1300 kg. (photo below) the GTM set by the caravan manufacturer may be only 1200 kg. So your caravan’s GTM limit is 1200 kg.

Hope this article helps a bit with compliance plates.

Still confused ?

If you need some help making sense of caravan weights give Check Weight a call on 0419693975 or email info@checkweight.com.au

Download our FREE Report on Caravan Weight Acronyms.

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