Have you ever wondered how much your car weighs? It’s not the first thing you think about in terms of a car. You’re more likely to consider the color, engine size, horsepower, exterior design, safety technology, or interior features before you look at the weight. However, it is nevertheless important to know the weight of your car.
Why It’s Important to Know the Weight of Your Car
Vehicle weight impacts many aspects of car ownership. For example, it can inform how you shop for gas, choose the right equipment to keep on hand and pick the right car insurance. Let’s take a closer look at how knowing your car’s weight can help in your daily life.
Lighter Vehicles Suffer More Damage
If you’re looking to purchase a family car, you might want to consider one that’s got more weight behind it. There is a lower risk of vehicle damage and personal injury when heavier cars are involved in road traffic accidents.
Imagine this scenario: A Smart car is in a collision with a Lincoln Navigator. Which vehicle and passengers are going to suffer the most injury? The Smart car for sure.
Let’s share a statistic that might surprise you:
- If you’re in a collision with a heavier vehicle, the chance of fatality increases by 47% with every 1,000 pounds of added weight.
However, heavier cars tend to feel more stable to drive as their weight lends to the center of gravity and helps to keep the vehicle “glued” to the highway. This is very reassuring, especially if you’re driving with a crosswind.
Heavy Vehicles Tend to be Less Fuel-Economic
The cost of gas is something that continues to go up which makes fuel economy an important consideration. The weight of a vehicle has a lot to do with how much gas is guzzled.
Engines in heavier vehicles have to work harder and therefore use more gas. Surprisingly enough, the least efficient vehicles tend to be those that also happen to be on the heavy side.
Vehicle Weight Can Influence Garage Tool Purchases
Knowing your car’s weight will help when it comes to purchasing certain garage tools. For example, jack stands are categorized by weight. A 5 or 6-ton jack will be able to support the weight of a large truck and SUV. However, a smaller 2-ton jack is only suitable for small, lightweight vehicles.
Towing and Transportation
USTrans is a company that helps people transport their vehicles across the United States, so this point is very relevant to us. If you ever need to ship your car, its weight is one factor we use to determine the cost. Lighter vehicles cost less to ship than heavier ones.
In terms of towing, the vehicle weight is important if you want a vehicle that’s able to haul a trailer safely. A towing vehicle must be strong and heavy if you want it to handle any loads without being compromised.
Towing a boat, trailer, cargo, or anything else will take a toll on smaller vehicles. Some cars are too small to tow anything at all.
How Much Does an Average Car Weigh?
Vehicle weights depend on the model, year of manufacture, materials used, and type of car. Automobile types can vary considerably but with the help of statistics, it’s possible to determine an average.
According to EPA data, the average weight of an automobile in 2022 was around 4,094 pounds. This is a small increase compared to the average in 2018 which was 4,000 pounds.
Let’s share some more specific figures for the most common car types:
|Small sized cars
|Mid Size cars
|Large sized cars
|Mid Size trucks
|Large trucks or SUVs
Different Types of Weight
The average weight of a car is something a little odd to talk about because weight depends on the metric you’re using. There are no less than 8 different types of vehicle weights.
Curb Weight (CW)
A vehicle’s curb weight is its weight when it stands unladen with no cargo or passengers. It’s a car’s weight when it’s sitting at the curb waiting to be used. It also refers to a car’s weight before any modifications are made or accessories are added.
Curb weight is the standard factory-issue weight of a vehicle.
Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)
Gross vehicle weight is the weight of a car including driver, passengers, and cargo. It also includes any additional gear that might get put on such as new alloy rims, spoiler, and other accessories.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
The gross vehicle weight rating is the threshold for how much a vehicle can weigh before the safety of the driver and passengers are compromised. This is a key weight to know if you intend to carry or tow heavy loads.
Gross Combined Weight
Gross combined weight refers to the weight of a vehicle together with that of a trailer and any cargo that might be in the trailer. If you don’t want to compromise the safety of your vehicle, you shouldn’t exceed this weight.
Payload is how much a vehicle can carry and includes the weight of the vehicle, driver and passengers, cargo, towed equipment, and anything else that might be in the car.
Maximum Loaded Trailer Weight
The maximum loaded trailer weight is how much a vehicle can safely manage when taking into account the vehicle’s weight and the weight of a trailer when fully loaded.
Gross Axle Weight Rating
This is the limit each axle of a vehicle can safely handle.
Where to Find the Exact Weight of Your Car
If you’re not sure how heavy your car is, there are several places to look.
The quickest and easiest way to find out the weight of your car is with the help of a VIN decoder or lookup. You can find these online and there are usually free or paid versions. To use one, all you need is the VIN of your car.
Don’t know where to look? There are a few different places you’re likely to find a car’s VIN:
- Outside the windshield
- On the underside on the driver’s side
- The driver’s side door pillar
- In the area where to door lock is latched
- In the engine compartment, generally in front of the engine
The Owner’s Manual
If you bought the car from new you’ve probably still got the owner’s manual. This is another good place to look for the weight of your car.
If you’re buying a used car, you might find the user’s manual in the glove compartment.
Good old Wikipedia comes to the rescue as you’ll find most cars listed there with different specifications, of which weight will be one.
However, cars are available with so many variations that you might struggle to find your exact model.
That being said, it’s a good option if you just want to get a rough idea of your car’s weight.
Drivers Side Door
On almost all car models, there’s a sticker that is often found on the body of the car, just behind the driver’s door. Just open the driver’s door and check for a label located close to the central locking bracket.
The sticker will have various specifications such as tire pressures, tire sizes, car weight, and VIN.
You may be able to call an authorized dealer and ask them for specifications for your particular vehicle model. You’ll need your registration number or VIN.
As you might expect, the most accurate way to determine the weight of your car is to weigh it using scales. Finding scales large enough might be a challenge, but you might find them at a car inspection site or car scrap yard.
Why Vehicles Are So Heavy
With so many advances in technology, you’d expect average vehicle weight to be much less than previously. However, the average weight of cars is still very high because of the following:
The Popularity of Crossovers and SUVs
The average weight for all vehicles is still very high because most new cars on the road are either crossovers or SUVs. These come with more weight attached which bumps up the average figures.
EV Batteries and New Technology
The high average weights are also being driven by advancements in driving technology. Added hardware such as automatic transmissions, AWD/4WD drivetrains, denser materials, turbochargers, and much more are making cars heavier. Gasoline direct injection (GDI) also adds weight.
Modern cars also have a huge number of different accessories such as cameras, screens, sensors, and other high-tech extras which all contribute to a greater overall weight.
What about electric cars? Surely they must be lighter because the engine has been taken out? Actually, no! The engine might not be there, but it’s been replaced with an even heavier battery pack.
The average engine weighs around 350 pounds. Compare that with a Tesla Model S battery which weighs in at 1,200 pounds and it all becomes clearer.
As you can see, the average weight of a vehicle is a little more complex than it first seems. Hopefully, you’ve found this post interesting and feel better informed.
How much does a Smart car weigh?
An average Smart car weighs around 1,500 pounds.
How much does a Formula 1 car weigh?
In 2023, the minimum weight of a Formula 1 car is 798 kg or 1,759 pounds.
How much does an EV weigh?
Electric vehicles tend to be much heavier than similarly-sized vehicles because of the weight of the battery. For example, compared with a gas-powered Mirage or Accent, the subcompact 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV is around 1,000 to 1,500 pounds heavier.
How much do crossovers, trucks, and SUVs weigh?
A mid-size SUV weighs between 3,500 and 6,000 pounds. However, the average weight of an off-road-ready SUV is around 5,000 pounds.
How much do midsize and subcompact cars weigh?
The average weight of a midsize or subcompact car is around 2,510 pounds.