Gooseneck Hitch Installation
June 19th, 2014
  By Les Narum
  Customer Service Representative at

In our last two articles we talked about the types of Gooseneck Hitches and about the accessories that are necessary when using this type of hitch. Today we’re going to talk about some terms you’ll need to know to round out your knowledge of a Gooseneck Hitch.

Base Curb Weight: The weight of your vehicle and a full tank of gas. No people or cargo, just the vehicle and gas.

Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW): Same deal except when the vehicle is fully loaded. So that means Base Curb Weight plus the cargo you’re carrying.

Commercial Towing: A combined vehicle and trailer weight exceeding 26,000 lbs. This is called the Gross Combined Weight (GCW)

Commercial Vehicle: Any vehicle exceeding 10,000 lbs GVW or Gross Vehicle Weight   
Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR): This is the load carrying capacity of a single axle system as specified by the vehicle manufacturer.  Each axle has a maximum allowed weight capacity. Additional factors must  be considered when looking at GAWR. For example, an axle with a design rating of 22,000 lbs may be rated lower due to the rating of the vehicle’s suspension or tires. The safest approach is to look at the weakest link in the system and use that as your maximum load capacity. 

Gross Axle Weight (GAW): Don’t confuse this with GAWR. While GAWR is a constant number, GAW is constantly changing. GAW is the actual weight each axle is carrying, so obviously this number changes depending on the load you are carrying. You’ll need a vehicle scale to determine this. Drive the fully loaded vehicle front axle onto the scale to get the front GAW. For the rear, weigh all four wheels of the vehicle with the trailer attached (not the trailer wheels). You get the rear GAW by subtracting the front GAW weight from the weight of all four tires of the fully loaded vehicle with the trailer attached but not on the scale.

Gross Combined Weight (GCW): Weight of the vehicle and the trailer on the scale

Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR): Weight of the vehicle, loaded trailer, cargo and passengers

Gross Towing Weight (GTW): This would be the weight of the trailer fully loaded. Put this on a vehicle scale to measure it.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR): This is the max allowed weight of the fully loaded vehicle.
Maximum Loaded Trailer Weight: This is the max load allowed for a fully loaded trailer. You get this by subtracting the towing vehicle’s Gross Vehicle Weight from its Gross Combined Weight Ratiing.
Tongue Weight (TW): Sometimes called the vertical load. This is the downward force put on the trailer hitch ball by the trailer coupler.
Payload: Subtract the Base Curb Weight from the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. The rest is cargo, passengers and any other equipment that the vehicle is designed to carry.
These are important terms to understand and apply for any type of trailering. If you are unsure about any of this give our guys a call. We’ve got pros who can answer any question related Gooseneck Trailer Hitch Installation. Call 877-509-0719 and check out our quality selection of Gooseneck Hitches at
Happy Trailering!