How Much Does a School Bus Weigh?

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A school bus on the road after figuring out how much does a school bus weighs

In the past, you could see a school bus and be sure it was bringing kids to and from school. Over the last several decades though, adventurers have purchased used school buses to transform them into a home on wheels. These massive recreational buses roll down highways and over bridges on incredible adventures. However, if you travel over bridges, you’d best know your weight.

So how much does a school bus weigh? Let’s find out!

How Much Does a School Bus Weigh? 

While most who see a big yellow bus think they’re all the same, they’re not.

Four types of school buses range from 10,000 to 25,000 pounds when empty and 14,500 to 36,000 pounds fully loaded.

Let’s look at each class and how much they weigh.

Type A School Bus Weight

There are a couple of different Type A school buses.

The Type A-1 school bus is the smallest of all school buses. Many people refer to these as “minibusses.”

They can typically hold 10 to 12 passengers. They weigh about 10,000 pounds when empty and about 14,500 at total capacity.

The Type A-2 school bus is nearly double the size, holding 20 to 24 passengers, but weighs about the same as the Type A-1.

When you fully load a Type A-2 bus, it weighs around 21,500 pounds. That’s nearly 11 tons!

A type A school bus parked after figuring out how much does a school bus weighs

Type B School Bus Weight

A Type B bus looks like a mix between a truck and a bus. Many drivers call them a half-bus.

They have a shorter front end and an extended back.

They hold 10 to 24 passengers and weigh about the same as a Type A-2.

When empty, they’re roughly 10,000 pounds and 21,500 pounds when loaded.

A child getting onto a type b school bus after figuring out how much does a school bus weighs

Type C School Bus Weight

Type C is the standard bus you typically see taking kids to and from school.

These buses have long fronts and backs and can hold up to 72 passengers.

An empty Type C school bus weighs from 10,000 to 15,000 pounds.

When fully loaded, the bus can weigh 25,000 to 30,000 pounds or 12 to 15 tons. That’s a lot of weight!

A type C school bus parked after figuring out how much does a school bus weighs

Type D School Bus Weight

Like Type C buses, Type D buses can hold many passengers, typically around 72 at max capacity.

These buses are often 45 feet long and have a flat nose. They’re more common in cities.

These buses weigh approximately 15,500 to 21,500 pounds empty and 25,000 to 30,000 at capacity.

A type d school bus for sale after figuring out how much does a school bus weighs

Pro Tip: Do your research before converting your school bus! These are some of the best books to help with your school bus conversion

What Is the Best School Bus to Convert to an RV?

If you do not need much space, the Thomas MinoTour Ford E-450 is a fantastic option.

It is a Type A school bus, so it’s not massive and weighs less. This makes maneuverability and fitting into spaces easier, especially when boondocking or on campgrounds.

It’s also ideal because you don’t have as many seats and other items to remove when transforming it into a livable space.

There are some incredible Type A bus renovations that make for perfect homes. 

Weight Tips for Converting a School Bus to an RV

There are several things you need to consider regarding the weight of your school bus when converting it to an RV.

Messing up any of these can cause severe issues down the road.

Weigh Your Bus When It’s Completely Stripped

One of the first things you’ll do when converting a school bus into an RV is extract everything.

You’ll remove seats, hundreds of feet of wiring, and many lights.

Knowing how much your school bus weighs empty is crucial.

It will help you make essential decisions during your renovation.

You can weigh your bus at your nearest CAT Scale. This process typically costs around $13 and only takes a few minutes.

You can even download the Weigh My Truck app, and it will help you find your nearest CAT Scale and walk you through weighing your vehicle.

Know Your Bus Models Weight Limits 

Once you know your bus’s weight, you must research the weight limits for your particular bus.

Overloading your bus can be dangerous and cause wear and tear to the suspension system.

Don’t guess, and look up the specifications for your model.

However, due to the massive weight a school bus can handle, you will not likely have much of an issue.

Pro Tip: If you’re considering renovating a school bus, we actually don’t recommend it! Here are 7 Reasons You Should Avoid a Skoolie Bus Conversion

Weigh Everything You Add to Your School Bus

You likely helped your bus shed weight after you stripped it of the bus furnishings.

You will be adding significant weight when you install solar panels, upgrade batteries, and include the many items that will make it home on wheels.

The weight of your belongings can also quickly add up, and you may add more than you think.

However, knowing the weight of everything you add to your bus is essential for another reason. 

Distribute the Weight in Your Bus Evenly

Ensure you evenly distribute the weight.

Putting too much weight on an axle or a side of your bus can cause wear on your tires and possibly a tire failure.

You want to travel smoothly and avoid any significant issues.

So take the time to plan your renovation to distribute weight evenly.

Weight Is An Important Factor When Converting a School Bus

One of the most critical factors you need to consider when converting a school bus is the weight.

You don’t want to overload your bus or get in a sticky situation because you didn’t know the weight of your rig.

Know your numbers and be mindful of how much weight you add and subtract during the process.

When in doubt, drive across a CAT scale so you know you’re staying safe.

Which type of bus are you planning to convert into an RV? Let us know in the comments! 

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