Motorhome weight regulations have changed as of 2023. Updated laws have come into place to protect UK citizens from accidents, such as tipped vans and falling items, caused by overweight vehicles. Such regulations relate to empty motorhomes as much as full ones when travelling across the country. But why?
These laws come after the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) found that 80% of motorhomes were overweight during roadside checks. If your vehicle is found overweight, you could be fined hundreds, even thousands, and risk penalty points. But what are the maximum motorhome weight limits?
Motorhome Weights Explained
Before we explain the terminology, you need to understand what the limits are and where you can find them. You can check your motorhome weight limit in the owner’s handbook, vehicle identification number (VIN) plate, and chassis (vehicle framework) plate located in your motorhome.
Weight limits also depend on the type of driving licence you have. For example:
- Under 3,500kg: any car licence
- Between 3,500kg and 7,500kg: car licence in 1997 and after (unless you are 70 or over, where you will need to apply to retain your Cat C1 licence at the DVLA)
- Over 7,000kg: Cat C or LGV licence required
Unladen refers to the weight of your motorhome when it’s completely empty.
Motorhomes usually only have two axle weights, but some have more. You may have noticed on your plate that their weights are more than the overall limit, but axle weights are actually weighed individually. The likelihood is you won’t use the maximum weight, but it helps knowing your axles are strong, right?
For example, your front axle may weigh less than your rear axle by a few hundred kgs. This is because many holiday-goers will put their heavy items or extra luggage at the rear of the motorhome, including bikes, if not on the top of the vehicle.
Down-plating is just like it sounds. If your motorhome, or any vehicle for that matter, is unlikely to be used at its maximum weight, then the plate could be downgraded to a lower weight. This will also be updated on your plate or sticker attached to your vehicle.
Payload refers to the amount of weight your motorhome can carry. For example, if your plate states 3,500kg is your maximum overall weight, then this is your payload. This includes passengers, pets, belongings, appliances, furniture, and anything else you may have in your motorhome. However, this doesn’t include the fuel or batteries.
Maximum authorised mass (MAM) is the weight of the motorhome or trailer and the maximum load. This is also known as gross vehicle weight (GVW) or permissible maximum weight (PMW).
Mass running order (MRO) or mass in running order (MIRO) refers to the weight of your motorhome after leaving the factory, including fluids and standard equipment. This helps you understand how much weight you can add before the MAM.
The plate or sticker attached to your motorhome may also state the gross train weight (GTW), also known as gross combination weight (GCW). This is the total weight of the trailer if applicable, or another vehicle you might be towing.
Maximum technically permissible laden mass (MTPLM) is the maximum weight you can safely fill your motorhome without exceeding its weight limit. Essentially, it’s the same as the payload weight and MAM (to an extent). It used to be known as gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). And there you have it – motorhome weights explained!
Upgrading Your Motorhome’s Weight Plate
Many motorhomes can actually exceed their maximum weight, so if you absolutely need the extra weight, you may be able to upgrade your plate. However, this isn’t common and you might need to have a different licence if you passed before 1997. You will need to speak to your motorhome’s manufacturer and insurance company if you wish to do this.
Where Can You Weigh Your Motorhome?
Use the ‘find a weighbridge’ government portal to discover the closest weighing place for your motorhome. Just be aware that this could cost into the hundreds, but at least you’ll have your official motorhome weight.
It is possible to measure your vehicle yourself by purchasing a specialised weight scale, but this weight may not be accepted if you’re not a professional, and these could also cost more than £100.
What if Your Motorhome is Overweight?
Before you set off for a staycation, we urge you to check what items you really need to reduce the risk of your motorhome being overweight and getting pulled over. But don’t worry if your motorhome is overweight! Legally, you’ll need to reduce the items in your vehicle to use no more than the maximum weight, but this is simple. Prioritise the things you absolutely need before leisure items and calculate the weight of things separately.
Perhaps you’ve just sold your motorhome or you’re looking for something that carries a bit more weight. At Venture Caravans, we have the latest models in stock at competitive prices. In a variety of weights and colours, our motorhomes are suitable for couples, families, and solo travellers.
And there you have it! Now you’re ready to jet off – or drive off – to your next destination. Where are you planning to go? If you’ve not had the chance to check out the most popular campsites in the UK, read our ultimate guide to finding the perfect location.