However, these weights have a significant impact on vehicle performance, from fuel economy to acceleration, handling and braking. That’s why JD Power recently put together an article that clearly explains such heavy topics, including the different weight types, the benefits of knowing your car’s weight, and the average weight of each type of vehicle.
JD Power Determines Average Vehicle Weight
To simplify this topic and keep people from being a burden, JD Power has divided vehicle weight into three classes: small, medium, and large.
Small cars are typically built for performance and designed to be as light as possible. The lighter the car, the faster it can move and change direction, which improves its handling. Weight reduction maximizes power in the form of power-to-weight ratio, which helps improve the car’s fuel economy, rolling resistance and aerodynamics. Colin Chapman, who founded Lotus Cars, was a firm believer in the ‘lighter is better’ philosophy and created cars like the Elan and Esprit. That philosophy is still employed today in his cars weighing less than 3,000 pounds, such as the Mazda MX-5 Miata and Subaru BRZ.
Midsize cars make up the bulk of the fleet, trading lightness and maneuverability for function, interior and comfort. These vehicles are suitable for the majority of drivers and can carry more people and cargo. This includes everything from coupes and sedans like the Audi A5 and Toyota Camry to his SUVs like the Honda CRV and Porsche his Cayenne. Usually those weights he ranges from 3,100 to 5,000 pounds.
Tipping the scale for much of the spectrum are trucks and SUVs intended to carry people and large payloads. They trade performance and maneuverability for full payload and towing capacity. This class sees vehicles weighing over his 5,000 lbs, including Ford F-150 and Super Duty trucks, Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, and Toyota Sequoia.
The small, medium, and large sizes are basic and not entirely accurate, but give an idea of how the weight of a vehicle affects its characteristics and intended purpose. That’s why he doesn’t tow a £7,000 trailer or autocross a Dodge Ram in a Nissan Versa.
5 benefits of knowing the vehicle weight
Understanding a car’s weight is more than an approximate weight class. There are real benefits to knowing your vehicle’s weight using different measurements, including the five benefits listed below.
- Gross vehicle weight rating. Each vehicle has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or GVWR, which is the maximum weight it can handle. Additionally, all roads and bridges have a GWVR weight rating, which is the maximum weight they can safely carry.
- automotive safety. Vehicle weight plays an important role in vehicle safety. Simply put, the heavier the vehicle, the better it absorbs the crash energy and the less likely it is to cause serious injury or death.
- regular maintenance. When working on your vehicle, it is important to know its weight and have the right tools for the job, such as maximum weight rated jacks, jack stands, and ramps.
- Fuel consumption. Adding weight reduces fuel economy by 1-2% for every 100 pounds added.
- payload. In relation to GVWR, knowing how much payload can be carried helps prevent excessive wear on the vehicle, especially on parts such as tires, brakes, suspension, engine and transmission.
How to know the weight of your car
All vehicle owner’s manuals have a section on specifications, including vehicle weight. In addition, the information can also be found on a sticker on the inside of the driver’s door as gross weight or weight per axle. Using this information, we know:
- Curb weight is the same as the “empty” or unladen weight of the vehicle. It includes a curb-sitting vehicle with all features and refilled fluids, but no people or cargo.
- Gross Vehicle Weight or GVWR is the maximum safe or recommended weight of a vehicle, including curb weight and all personnel and cargo.
- Axle weight is the weight per axle of the vehicle. Usually measured by vehicle weight and GVWR. To find the total weight of the vehicle, add up the weight of all the axles or multiply the weight of the axle by the number of axles.
If that doesn’t work, go to the manufacturer’s website to find your model and specs. If the problem persists, have your car weighed at an inspection center.