Tips & Advice
Added: 02 February 2017
Licence restrictions mean that anyone passing their test after January 1 1997 can only drive motorhomes with a GVW of up to 3.5 tonnes. This also applies to those over 70 years of age and those with some medical conditions, such as diabetes, unless a medical certificate from a doctor can be produced. In Europe there are also road toll and speed limit penalties applying to motorhomes of over 3500 kg so many Continental motorhomes are rated at this weight anyway.
It's also worth noting that in the UK motorhomes with an unladen weight of more than 3,050kg are subject to lower speed limits on dual carriageways (60mph instead of 70mph) and national speed limit single roads (50mph instead of 60mph)
Currently there is no standard for quoting motorhome weight. The unladen weight (MRO ex works) indicates the weight of a motorhome as it leaves the factory. This sometimes includes water and gas and should always include a nominal driver weight (usually 75kg\)
The gross vehicle weight (GVW, MAM, MTPLM) is the maximum weight the vehicle is allowed to be, including all holiday kit and passengers. On some vehicles this can be upgraded (UP) to offer more payload, and you may be able to down-plate a vehicle to come under that increasingly vital 3500 kg limit - as long as that allows you sufficient payload. Gross vehicle weight minus unladen weight is the user payload, although what this includes will vary. Options on new vans and accessories eat into your payload. Think bike rack, satellite dish, solar panel, in fact everything you choose to bolt onto your motorhome.
It is illegal to drive any vehicle at more than its GVW, so confirm with the supplying dealer exactly what the payload is, what it includes and whether fitting any accessories will affect this before you order. Weights of gadgets you may need to carry include 27kg for an extra 110 amp hr battery, 8kg for a TV, 3.5kg for the hook up lead and 1kg per litre of water. Public weight-bridges can help, check your council websites or contact your town hall. Information from MMM Guide to Buying a Motorhome
HOW TO WEIGH YOUR VAN BY PRACTICAL MOTORHOME
HOW TO WEIGH YOUR VAN BY CARAVAN GUARD