Vehicle Kerb Weight

What is Vehicle Kerb Weight (& how do you calculate it)?

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Learning about all of the different vehicle and towing weight terms can be confusing, but learning the language is essential for keeping your set-up legal and safe.

Vehicle kerb weight can often be confused with vehicle tare weight because they are both the measurements of the empty vehicle. However, there is one crucial difference, which comes down the amount of fuel you’re carrying.

Here we answer the question, what is vehicle kerb weight, including step-by-step instructions on how to calculate yours.

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Vehicle Kerb Weight

What is Kerb Weight?

Kerb Weight, Caravan Towing Weights

Vehicle kerb weight is the weight of the car with all of its oil and fluids, plus a full tank of fuel.

Kerb weight does NOT include the driver, any passengers, luggage and accessories (e.g. bull bar, tow bar, roof racks etc.).

Think of vehicle kerb weight as how you’d be driving the car away from the kerb at a dealership with a full tank of fuel, but before you hop in and add your “stuff.”

KERB WEIGHT = Weight of Empty Vehicle + Oil & Fluids + Full tank of fuel

What’s the Difference Between Kerb Weight & Tare Weight?

Vehicle Tare Weight

While kerb weight is the measurement of an empty vehicle (with all fluids) and a full tank of fueltare weight is also the measurement of an empty vehicle (with all fluids), but with only 10 litres of fuel in the tank.

The difference between kerb weight and tare weight comes down to the amount of fuel in the tank.

Kerb Weight vs. Tare Weight:

  • TARE WEIGHT = Empty vehicle with 10L fuel
  • KERB WEIGHT = Empty vehicle with full fuel tank

What IS Included in Kerb Weight?

Kerb weight includes the weight of the empty vehicle itself with all running fluids and a full tank of fuel, plus anything that was fitted to the vehicle in the factory.

Once your vehicle has permanent accessories fitted (e.g. bull bar, tow bar, side steps etc.), those items will now have to be included in the kerb weight when using it to work out other vehicle & towing weights.

Vehicle Kerb Weight INCLUSIONS:

  • Weight of completely empty vehicle
  • All running fluids (coolant, oil, brake fluid etc.)
  • Full tank of fuel

What IS NOT Included in Kerb Weight?

Anything beyond the full tank of fuel that gets added into the vehicle is not included in the kerb weight.

Vehicle Kerb Weight EXCLUSIONS:

  • Driver
  • Passengers
  • Fuel in secondary tank/s & jerry cans
  • All luggage (food, clothing, 4WD gear, camping gear, toys etc.)
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How to Calculate Kerb Weight

Nissan Patrol (interior)
Kerb Weight = Empty Car + Full Tank of Fuel

Technical Kerb Weight vs. ACTUAL Kerb Weight

Technically, kerb weight does not include any accessories that were fitted after the factory (such as bull bars, tow bars, roof racks, side steps etc.).

When it comes to figuring out how much spare weight allowance you’ve got in your car for “stuff” (i.e. payload), you’ll need to find the weight of your completely empty vehicle.

The reality is, it’s just not practical to go and remove permanent accessories (like bull bars, tow bars, roof baskets etc.) just to get the car’s empty weight.

So, when we talk about calculating vehicle kerb weight for working out all of your other towing weights, it’s the empty weight of the vehicle with a full tank of fuel, plus any permanent modifications and accessories.


How to Find Your Kerb Weight

To find your vehicle’s kerb weight, you’ll need to weigh it at a public weighbridge using the instructions below.

How to Weigh a Caravan - Vehicle Kerb Weight

How to measure the VEHICLE KERB WEIGHT:

  1. Ensure the car is empty of all luggage, passengers etc., but has a full tank of fuel
  2. Drive vehicle onto weighbridge
  3. The driver must exit the vehicle and get off the weighbridge
  4. Record the weight → This is your KERB WEIGHT
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Using Kerb Weight to Calculate Payload

Patrol set up
How much weight have you got left for gear?

Now that you’ve found your vehicle’s kerb weight, you just need the vehicle’s GVM (maximum weight) in order to work out your available payload allowance.

Payload is the amount of weight you’ve got left for “stuff.”

Quite often tare weight is used when working out vehicle payload allowance, however, it can be very tricky to know if you’ve actually only got 10 litres of fuel in your tank (which is required for tare).

Therefore, unless a car is stock standard or brand new, kerb weight becomes the easiest ’empty’ figure to use for calculating payload.

When you work out payload using kerb weight, just remember that your full fuel tank has already been accounted for, so the payload allowance that’s left is for the driver, passengers and luggage.

Vehicle Kerb Weight

To work out your payload, you take the vehicle’s maximum allowable weight (GVM) and minus the vehicle’s completely empty weight (kerb).

The car’s GVM is set by the manufacturer and can be found on Redbook.

How to work out vehicle payload:

  1. Take the vehicle’s Tare Weight
  2. Take the vehicle’s GVM
  3. Minus the Tare Weight from the GVM
  4. This figure is your Vehicle Payload (GVM – Tare = Payload)
Or, use the Payload Calculator →

The Caravan Packing List below will help organise your payload across your entire set-up.

Caravan Packing List

Caravan Packing List

Never forget a thing with the ULTIMATE Caravan Packing List!

  • Pre-filled with 600+ items
  • 17 categories
  • ‘Weight’ column (to organise payload)
  • PRINTABLE – fully customisable
  • DIGITAL – completely interactive
  • Download once, use it over-and-over
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Kerb Weight FAQs

How to find the kerb weight of my car?

To find your car’s kerb weight, completely empty the car out of luggage, accessories and passengers. Fill up your fuel tank and drive the car onto a public weighbridge. The driver must exit the vehicle and ensure they’re off the weighbridge, then record the weight → that is your kerb weight.

What is the total kerb weight of a vehicle?

Kerb weight is the weight of a completely empty vehicle with a full tank of fuel, all running fluids and only factory-fitted accessories. Kerb weight does not include passengers or the driver.

Does kerb weight include the driver?

No, kerb weight does not include the driver or passengers. All people must exit the vehicle before measuring kerb weight.

Does kerb weight include fuel and driver?

Kerb weight does include a full tank of fuel, however it does not include the driver (or any other passengers).

Is kerb weight the same as towing capacity?

No, kerb weight is the measurement of the completely empty vehicle with a full tank of fuel. Towing capacity is the maximum amount of weight the vehicle is allowed to tow (as set by the vehicle manufacturer).

What is the difference between GVM and kerb weight?

GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass) is the maximum weight that the vehicle is allowed to weigh at any give time. Kerb weight is the weight of the vehicle when it’s completely empty, but with a full tank of fuel.

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