Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) is the total weight of the vehicle, which includes all the passengers, the luggage and equipment, and even the fuel. This will be very different to the actual weight of the vehicle itself, and if you go overboard with the accessories, you could be adding so much extra weight that stability becomes an issue. All Australian vehicles will have both the gross weight of the vehicle (as sold) and the GVM, which would be displayed in Tonnes and kilogrammes.
Know your GVM
If you’ve just purchased the truck, then you do not need to concern yourself with the GVM, but if you are planning lots of heavy duty add ons, then the weight of your truck is likely to significantly increase. Improved suspension help when driving a heavy vehicle, and if you are in WA, check out http://www.westcoastsuspension.com.au/, who are experts in off road suspension for every environment.
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Stay Within the Weight Limits
The vehicle manufacturer will have extensively tested the truck, and would know the safe limits of gross weight, which should never be exceeded for obvious reasons. If you are driving a truck that is close to the maximum weight, upgrading the suspension is essential, and West Coast Suspensions are the ideal people to talk to.
The handling of a vehicle will be much better if the weight has been evenly distributed, and generally, heavier objects should be centrally located, and the lower the better, as stability will be affected if you attach heavy objects to the roof rack. If, for example, you are carrying a lot of camping equipment, make sure it is correctly tied down, and also that it is as aerodynamic as possible. Waterproof rubber covers can be tailor made to give roof contents a dry base, even in the heaviest of rain, and try to keep things balanced, with not too much weight at one end, or on one side.
These are everywhere and if your vehicle is fully loaded and ready for an extended trip into the wilderness, spend a few dollars and find out the exact weight of the fully loaded truck, and this will give you peace of mind, knowing that the GVM is within the limits.
If your truck is overloaded, the handling will become sluggish, and this will put extra strain on your suspension and chassis, along with much more work for the braking system, and if you have to negotiate any steep inclines, the weight of the vehicle is critical. Momentum increases with more weight, and this means you need more distance to effectively stop the vehicle, and if you feel the handling is not what it should be, consult a suspension expert, who can recommend a suitable upgrade.
The gross vehicle mass is something that should never be exceeded, and with evenly balancing the extra weight, your ride will always be solid and reliable. If you are in any doubt about this, talk to an expert, who can make sure everything is as it should be.
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