What Does Curb Weight Mean on a Truck?

what does truck curb weight mean

When I first bought my truck, I was completely baffled by all the terminology being used, not to mention a little bit worried about getting it all wrong. I’d heard of accidents happening where truck owners didn’t know the differences between curb weight, payload capacity, towing weight, GVWR, and GCWR.

Whilst it took me a little longer to get my head around the other terms, the truck curb weight meaning was actually a little bit simpler to get to grips with. Here’s what it means:

What does curb weight mean on a truck? Truck curb weight is how much your vehicle weighs when there is no driver, passengers, or cargo and baggage on-board. But it does include any standard equipment plus the essential operating fluids including as oil, fuel, and coolant.

To put it even more simply, let’s say you’ve just bought your brand new truck from dealer, put a full tank of fuel in just around the corner from your home, and pulled up outside.

You get out, admire your new purchase.

Looks great doesn’t it!

It’s weight right at that point of time with no bags, load, or people in it, is the truck’s curb weight.

Why Is a Truck’s Curb Weight Important?

Knowing what truck curb weight is, is only really that important if you are going to be using your new truck to carry heavy loads and are using it for work.

The reason being, is that the curb weight of your truck is a huge aspect of the payload capacity, e.g. how much you can load into it.

Let me explain.

All trucks come with something called a GVWR rating. This is the maximum weight you can safely operate your truck at once it’s loaded down with passengers and cargo. But it also includes the curb weight of your truck.

If you get it wrong and don’t understand it properly, and overload your truck with too much weight, then you’re not only going to damage your pick-up but you could also be a danger on the roads.

Manufacturers of trucks calculate what the GVWR is by taking into account the curb weight of the truck, and then how much it can safely carry. Combine all that weight and you have your limit in terms of what GVWR you can exceed.

Get it wrong and your brakes could fail when driving, which really doesn’t bear thinking about.

What Does GVWR and GCWR Mean?

I’ve gone into a little detail on this already, and I am not going to get into the differences here too much, as you can read more in depth about what GVWR and GCWR means elsewhere on Truck Styler, but here’s a simple overview:

GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating): The maximum weight of the truck, RV, or vehicle once it’s fully loaded up and ready to hit the road. Includes absolutely everything that you would carry including passengers and cannot be exceeded.

GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating): The maximum combined weight of the towing vehicle and the trailer that’s being pulled, with everything in it. This weight rating must not be exceeded.

GVWR vs Curb Weight

As you can see, the two things are very different.

GWVR is the total weight capacity of your truck when fully loaded, including the weight of the truck itself.

And the truck curb weight meaning is what the truck weight by itself with nothing in it other than the essential operating fluids and standard equipment and features.

What About Towing Weight?

This is another area where people get confused, it’s not the same as GVWR, and it’s not the same as curb weight.

Your towing weight capacity is to do with the overall payload capacity and something called GCWR.


You should be.

To find out what that is, you might find it on a small blue sticker somewhere inside the driver’s door.

But if you can’t find it, then this simple calculation will give you your truck’s maximum payload weight:

GVWR minus empty truck weight equals your payload capacity.

But the towing capacity is different and can be better understood once you know your GCWR (gross combined weight rating). To find out the differences please click here.


The next time someone asks you “what is truck curb weight” you should now be able to tell them exactly what it means.

Just visualize your new truck on the side of the road as you admire it in all its glory with a full tank of fuel.

As I pointed out, in reality, most truck owners who just drive their truck as a personal recreational vehicle shouldn’t really need to worry about this too much.

But if you are using yours to carry loads as part of your daily work then it’s a critical piece of knowledge to keep at hand.

Josh Henderson

Hi I'm Josh and I'm a huge pickup enthusiast. I started this website in 2018 in order to share all my projects and custom mod tips that I've done with my own Ford F-150.

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