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What Does GCWR Mean?

2022 Ford Super Duty towing construction equipment


If you need to haul heavy items in Chicago, it’s good to familiarize yourself with the “Gross Combined Weight Rating” or “Gross Combination Weight Rating” of your vehicle. What does GCWR mean? This represents the total amount of weight that your vehicle can carry safely including the weight of trailers or cargo carriers. Find out how to calculate GCWR and learn the difference between the GVWR vs. GCWR with Badger Truck & Auto Group.

What’s the Difference Between GVWR vs. GCWR?

You may notice a difference between the GVWR vs. GCWR on your vehicle’s spec sheet, so what is the significance of the GVWR vs. GCWR? 

  • The GCWR is your “Gross Combined Weight Rating” and the GCWR is the “Gross Vehicle Weight Rating.”
  • The Gross Combined Weight Rating takes into account the total weight of the trailer you are pulling, in addition to the cargo and passenger weight. This is important when you’re dealing with heavier payloads, like carrying bulky cargo in your flatbed
  • You’ll need to know your Gross Combined Weight Rating when hooking up your trailer, because you want to make sure the weight of everything falls below the GCWR.
  • Exceeding your GCWR puts both you and your vehicle at risk for damage, and it’s especially relevant for those who tow heavy in Madison. But, you also need to be mindful of how you distribute this weight – don’t exceed your Gross Axle Weight Rating!

What’s the Difference Between GVWR vs. Towing Capacity?

Does the GVWR matter if you already know the towing capacity? The towing capacity indicates the total amount that you can pull in a trailer, while your GVWR indicates the amount of weight that your vehicle’s axles can handle. (Your trailer also has a GVWR, which is the amount of weight that it can handle.) Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering GVWR vs. towing capacity:

  • If your trailer’s GVWR is below your total towing capacity, there is no problem: you just need to make sure that the total weight of your vehicle, passengers, cargo, and trailer are lower than your GCWR. But, if you are dealing with heavy payload and heavy towing, you’ll need to pay attention to the numbers carefully.
  • You can estimate the maximum towing capacity by subtracting the vehicle’s curb weight from the GCWR. 

What Do You Need To Know About GCWR Regulations? 

Because the Gross Combined Weight Rating is determined by an intensive testing protocol, you can’t learn how to calculate GCWR by hand. The manufacturer does the hard work for you, assessing just how much any vehicle can take on based on factors like: 

  • Engine torque
  • Radiator capacity
  • Axle strength
  • Chassis components

If the total weight of your vehicle and the GCWR meets or exceeds 26,001 pounds, you’ll need a commercial driver’s license in order to drive it in Waukesha. This is the case whether or not you’re anywhere near your towing maximum, so be sure to check your numbers before you head out on the road.

Learn More with Badger Truck & Auto Group

So, what does GCWR mean for you? Contact us with any questions at Badger Truck & Auto Group, and our team will get you the information that you need. We’re located in Milwaukee, so stop by our dealership for a chat.

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