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What Is GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating) & Why Is It Important

Some of the pickups in the inventory will include a GCWR.   It is important when calculating towing capacity. To understand the value of GCWR it is first important to understand GVWR.


GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) 

This is basically the maximum total capacity safe weight of your vehicle.  The payload includes the curb weight (the weight of our vehicle when empty), plus the weight of your passengers, fuel, any accessories added to the vehicle, cargo, and the “tongue weight” of a tow trailer (normally 10-20% of the trailer). This combination cannot exceed the stated GVWR.


GVWR Calculation Example:

Vehicle’s Curb Weight

Passengers Combined Weight

Fuel (calculate using 7 lbs per gallon, at capacity)

All Cargo

Trailer Tongue Weight


3350 lbs (plus)

180 (plus)

252 (plus)

200 lbs (plus)

1300 lbs (equals)

5282 lbs 

The calculated Payload Total  must be less than the pickup’s stated GVWR.

GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating) 

This represents the maximum weight rating for the vehicle. This simple means that the vehicle’s Payload Load total and the trailer weight, cannot exceed the stated GCWR.

Towing Capacity Calculation:

Here is the easiest towing capacity calculation, provided you never exceed the GVWR.


Stated GVWR Equals

Towing Capacity

19400 lbs (less)

7050 lbs (equal)

12350 lbs

Using the calculated Payload Total from the above example.


Calculated Payload Total Equals

Towing Capacity

19400 lbs (less)

5282 lbs (equal)

14118 lbs

1. When buying a vehicle for towing, always confirm the vehicle’s GVWR and GCWR with the dealer. As these ratings can change at any time.
2. Do not forget to include tongue weight in the GVWR calculation, it can be easily missed.
3. The distribution of weight can be just as important. Don’t ever exceed a Gross Axle Weight Rating either.
4. Tires have a tow rating too, make sure the rating of your tires match your towing needs.