How to Weigh Your RV at a CAT Scale

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A sign for a cat scale

When RVing, you can easily carry around a few extra pounds and not know it. One of the best ways to check the weight of your RV is to use a CAT Scale.

However, it can be intimidating and confusing if you’ve never driven across one. While it’s not as simple as stepping on a bathroom scale, it’s not nearly as difficult as you’d think.

Today, we’ll walk you through how to properly weigh your RV at a CAT Scale, so you can know how much your RV weighs. Let’s get started!

Why Do You Need to Weigh Your RV?

Many people easily overload their RV mistakenly. While you may want to bring as much camping gear and equipment with you, it’s not always possible. 

RVs have a cargo-carrying capacity, which is how much weight the trailer can carry. This is typically based on the capabilities of the axles and set by the manufacturer during construction.

Exceeding the cargo-carrying capacity can do serious damage to the RV’s suspension. In addition, you could push the tire load index for the tires on your RV. 

This can increase the friction between the tires and the road, generating heat and breaking down the rubber compounds in the tires. This can shorten the life of your tires and potentially lead to a dangerous tire blowout.

What Is a CAT Scale?

A CAT Scale is one of the most accurate ways for commercial drivers to know the weight of their truck and trailer. 

You’ll typically see these scales located at truck stops and other locations frequented by professional drivers. 

You can find more than 2,000 CAT Scales at locations across the country. So you have a good chance there’s a CAT Scale near you.

A sign for a cat scale
Source: CAT Scale

Can RVs Use a CAT Scale?

While professional and commercial drivers typically use CAT Scales, RVers can also use them. However, because professional and commercial drivers operate on very tight schedules, you don’t want to take longer than necessary.

Know how to use the CAT Scale properly before pulling onto it. If a line of big rigs is waiting to use the scale, you should find another. 

However, nothing prevents RVers from driving across the scales and weighing their rigs. This can help ensure they stay within the weight limit of their RV and tow vehicle.

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How to Weigh Your RV at a CAT Scale

If you want to weigh yours right at a CAT Scale, it’s a rather simple process. However, you must follow a few steps to get the most accurate results and do it quickly. 

Let’s look at what you need to do when weighing your rig at a CAT Scale.

Download the CAT Scale App

There’s an app for everything, including weighing your RV on a CAT Scale. You should download the app now if you plan to use a CAT Scale. This can allow you to quickly and easily find the nearest scale and complete the process as quickly as possible.

Using the app makes the entire process incredibly easy. When done right, you can weigh your RV in minutes. Just follow the instructions in the app, and you’ll be done in no time.

Fuel and Load Up Your Vehicle

You should fill your fuel tank and have your RV loaded. This can provide you with the maximum weight of your RV. 

It’s a good idea to fill your fresh water tank, as it can add hundreds of pounds to the weight of a trailer. 

A man filling up his RV before going to a cat scale

Position Your Rig on the Scale Properly

To get an accurate reading, you must position your rig correctly on the scales. You want each axle to be on its own plate. This allows you to get a weight reading for the front, rear, and trailer axles. 

Accurate information can help you know if you need to adjust your load or if you’re within the towing capacities of your vehicle or trailer.

Get Results on Your Phone

Once you’ve weighed your rig, the results will instantly get delivered to you in the app. This makes it easy to keep your weight records in one place. 

This is especially helpful if you’ve modified your vehicle or trailer. You need to account for the weight of any accessories you add to your rig.

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How Much Does It Cost to Use a CAT Scale?

Using a CAT Scale costs $13 for the first time and $3.50 for any additional reweighs. Reweighs must occur within 24 hours and involve the same truck and trailer. 

Luckily, the CAT Scale app is smart enough to recognize whether or not you’re eligible for a reweigh and allows you to select that option.

Doing a reweigh can be beneficial, especially if you exceed your vehicle’s tow limit o or the cargo-carrying capacity of your trailer. You must stay under these limits to avoid damaging your RV or putting yourself in an unsafe situation.

How Do You Find CAT Scales?

Finding a CAT Scale is incredibly easy, especially if you use the app. The app can use your current location and find the nearest location. 

You can then use your favorite map app, Apple Maps or Google Maps, to find directions to it. In addition, you can use the CAT Scale website to zoom in on a specific location and find a scale near that location.

A cat scale at a gas station
Source: CAT Scale

Watch Your Weight with a CAT Scale

One thing you can’t afford to overlook is your weight while RVing. Your weight will likely constantly change depending on how much cargo you carry or the amount of fluids in your tanks. 

Avoid using more than 80% of your towing capacity or other tow numbers. This helps ensure you stay under them and have some flexibility when towing. If it’s been some time since you last weighed your RV, plan to drive across a CAT Scale with your rig soon.

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