Gross Weight vs Curb Weight: What’s the difference, and why is it used?

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For many drivers, “gross weight” and “curb weight” are just two more confusing terms that they need to learn before getting their license. These two measurements can be important when it comes to buying a vehicle, so you’ll want to know what the difference is between gross weight and curb weight.

So what is curb weight?

Gross weight is how much your car weighs with all of its passengers inside plus any cargo in the trunk or back seat. Curb weight is how much your car weighs without anyone or anything inside of it, which means that this number will always be lower than gross weight.

You will use curb weight for things like car insurance and registration because that’s the weight of your car without anyone in it.

What is gross weight (aka GVWR)?

The gross weight is the total weight of a vehicle, including the curb weight plus the weight of the payload. The gross weight will be higher than the curb weight because it includes not only the car and its passengers but also any cargo that’s been loaded into the trunk or back seat.

You will use the gross weight of your vehicle for things like weight limits when you’re driving a truck or SUV.

Why does knowing the difference between gross and curb weight matter?

The gross weight is important because it’s the weight that your car will be able to handle when you’re driving. If you’re trying to haul a heavy load, you’ll want to make sure that your gross weight is above the weight of what you’re carrying so that your car doesn’t overload.

The curb weight is important for buying cars because it gives you a better idea of what kind of car is going to be best for your needs. If you need something that will handle heavy loads, then gross weight might give you a more accurate picture than curb weight would since it factors in the extra cargo.

How do you remember the difference between gross and curb weight?

Since gross weight and curb weight are both used to describe the total amount of a vehicle’s mass, it can be difficult for drivers to keep track of what these terms mean.

Fortunately, there is one easy way that you’ll always be able to remember how much your car weighs: if anyone asks you about gross or curb weight about your car, just think about how much your car would weigh if it was parked on the curb. That number is your curb weight!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does curb weight include gas?

The curb weight of a vehicle does include a tank of gas, however, it doesn’t include anything else added to the vehicle.

Does payload reduce towing capacity?

The payload of a vehicle, which is everything that is inside of the vehicle, or in the bed of a truck does actually pull away from the towing capacity. Make sure to keep this in mind when going out camping, with all of your gear in the truck.


Gross weight and curb weight are two measurements that car owners should know. Curb weight is the total amount of mass your car weighs without anyone or anything inside, while gross weight includes everything from passengers to cargo in the trunk.

If you’re wondering about gross weight vs curb weight, remember that gross weight will always be higher since it factors in any cargo.