If you’ve ever driven on a long highway you’ve probably seen truckers pulling off onto weigh stations. Some motorhomes are built to look more like cars and most people assume that they wouldn’t have to have them weighed at a weigh station.
Do motorhomes have to stop at weigh stations? Yes, motorhomes that weigh over 10,000 pounds may have to stop at weigh stations in 20 states. Some states will also require the motorhome or camper to be weighed and inspected before it can legally be used on the road.
Which Motorhomes Must Stop At Weigh Stations? (6 examples)
It might seem like there aren’t many motorhomes that weigh over 10,000 pounds, but there are actually a lot of motorhomes that do.
These are typically your class A motorhomes, but you may find some class C and even some class B motorhomes that weigh over 10,000 pounds as well. Also, some states will require large towable campers to be weighed and inspected as well. Some big 5th wheel campers and tiny houses can weigh well over 10,000 pounds.
Here are some examples of motorhomes that weigh over 10,000 pounds.
Class A Motorhomes
- The Coachmen Mirada 32 SS
This motorhome is almost 35 feet long and 8 feet 6 inches long. It is 12 feet 5 inches tall.
These measurements are significant as 8’6″ is the widest a vehicle can legally be and 13′ tall is the tallest a vehicle can legally be. This motorhome was built to be as large as possible and it comes with a lot of weight. The Mirada weighs 20,500 pounds.
- The Entegra Coach Vision 26X
This motorhome is only 28 feet long, but it’s width and height are the same as the Mirada’s.
However, at 16,000 pounds, the weight of this motorhome is still way over 10,000 pounds.
Class C Motorhomes
- The Coachmen Freelander 24FS Chevy 4500
The Freelander is almost 27 feet long and 8’4″ wide.
Its height is shorter than the class A motorhomes listed above, but even at only 10’11” tall, it still weighs 14,200.
- The Coachmen Freelander 22QB
The QB version of the Freelander is only 24’11” and it uses a smaller 3500 engine, but it still weighs more than 10,000 pounds.
Its gross weight is 12,500 pounds and even its dry weight is 10,208 pounds.
Class B Motorhomes
- The Atlas Airstream Murphy Suite
This luxury motorhome is almost 25 feet long. Its 8’3″ wide and 10’6″ tall.
The gross weight is 11,030 pounds and it’s dry weight is 10,045 pounds. As you can see, even a dry class B motorhome can still be heavier than 10,000 pounds.
- The Coachmen Crossfit 22C
The Crossfit motorhome is only 22 feet long, 7 feet wide and 10 feet tall.
This being said, at 10,360 pounds, you’d still have to stop at a weigh station.
Examples of Large Motorhomes UNDER 10,000 Pounds (2 examples)
Some large class C and class B motorhomes can be large without all the added weight. These vehicles were designed to be lighter to save on gas mileage. An added bonus to this is they also will not have to be weighed at weigh stations.
Here are some examples to consider:
The Freelander 20CB Ford Transit – This class C motorhome has a gross weight of 10360 pounds, but its dry weight is only 7,824 pounds. Although it is 24 feet long, 7’7″ wide and 10’6″ tall, it does not have any slides. Slide-outs can add several thousand pounds to a motorhome.
The EHGNA Hymer Aktiv – The Hymer is a class B motorhome with a length of 19’7″. Its width is 6’11” and its height is 9’5″. The gross weight on this motorhome is 9,350 and the dry weight is only 8,050.
As you can see, large class B and class C motorhomes can be found at weights lighter than 10,000 pounds. This being said, you may find it difficult to find a large motorhome with a slide-out that weighs less than 10,000 pounds.
How Do I Find Out How Much My Motorhome Weighs
In most cases, your motorhome will tell you how much it weighs. If you know the base weight of the vehicle, you can just weigh the items you’ll be bringing along with you and do some addition. Don’t forget the weight of the passengers too. A 9,500-pound motorhome may end up over 10,000 pounds with four passengers loaded inside of it.
If your motorhome does not provide any weight information, you can always visit a CAT scale at a truck stop. You’ll have to pay a fee to use this type of scale, but it’s usually less than $20.00 and sometimes less than $10.00. For more information on how to use a CAT scale, you can go to their website at catscale.com/how-to-weigh/ This page has specific instructions on how to use the scale with a motorhome, a motorhome with a tow vehicle, and a tow vehicle with a camper.
How to Make Your Motorhome Lighter
Some motorhomes will have a dry weight that is less than 10,000 pounds and a gross weight that is over 10,000 pounds. If you’re trying to avoid having to stop at weigh stations, you may want to keep your tanks empty until you’ve reached your destination.
Additionally, avoid bringing heavy items that you don’t intend on using.
Even a heavily loaded cooler may be the difference between you having to get weighed or not. Check your route to see which states require you to get weighed and buy your ice and fill your fresh water tanks once you’ve passed through them.
Why Do Vehicles Need to Stop at Weigh Stations
There are a couple of reasons why the government wants heavy vehicles to stop at weigh stations.
The first reason is for safety. Some highways have weight limitations. These roads can only handle a certain amount of weight before breaking down.
Vehicles with too much weight in them may also become unsafe to drive.
Weigh stations will sometimes check the weight of the vehicle versus the gross vehicle weight that the vehicle is rated to hold. If the vehicle exceeds this weight, they’ll make them remove some of it before heading back out on the road.
Another reason is so that the government can make more money. It costs a lot of money to build, repair, and maintain the roads and heavy vehicles do more damage to the roads than lighter ones. Some states tax trucks based on their weight. Forcing these trucks to stop and get weighed ensures that the government charges the correct amount in taxes.
Which States Force Motorhome Owners to Stop at Weigh Stations
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
- West Virginia
Unfortunately, the laws are somewhat vague as to whether or not they apply to motorhomes and campers.
Here is a brief synopsis on each state for you to review:
|Alabama||Measuring and weighing of trucks and trailers can be done at stations or onsite by portable scales. This may only apply to commercial trailers.|
|Alaska||Trucks that weigh more than 10,000 pounds must stop at weigh stations. Again, some people feel this only applies to commercial trucks.|
|Arizona||Trailers over 10,000 pounds are subject to inspection. This does not apply to recreational vehicles.|
|Arkansas||This state says that passenger and specialty vehicles weighing more than 10,000 must stop. This even applies if the combination of the vehicle and trailer weigh more than 10,000 together.|
|California||Motorhomes do not have to stop at weigh stations.|
|Colorado||Any vehicle over 26,000 pounds must stop to be weighed.|
|Connecticut||Only commercial vehicles must stop.|
|Delaware||Motorhomes do not have to stop at weigh stations.|
|Florida||Motorhomes do not have to stop at weigh stations.|
|Georgia||Motorhomes over 10,000 may have to stop.|
|Hawaii||Motorhomes do not have to stop at weigh stations.|
|Idaho||Motorhomes do not have to stop at weigh stations.|
|Illinois||Police officers may stop motorhomes to make sure they have not exceeded their GVWR.|
|Indiana||Motorhomes do not have to stop at weigh stations.|
|Iowa||All vehicles over 10,000 must be weighed.|
|Kansas||Police officers may stop motorhomes to mak sure they have not exceeded their GVWR.|
|Kentucky||Motorhomes do not have to stop at weigh stations.|
|Louisiana||Any vehicle with or without a trailer that weighs over 10,000 must be weighed.|
|Maine||Motorhomes do not have to stop at weigh stations.|
|Maryland||Motorhomes do not have to stop at weigh stations.|
|Massachusetts||All vehicles over 10,000 must be weighed.|
|Michigan||Motorhomes do not have to stop at weigh stations.|
|Minnesota||All vehicles over 10,000 must be weighed.|
|Mississippi||Police officers may stop motorhomes to make sure their weight meets their registration.|
|Missouri||Motorhomes do not have to stop at weigh stations.|
|Montana||Motorhomes only have to stop if they are new and on their way to a distributor or dealer to be sold.|
|Nebraska||The exact law says “All trucks over 1 ton must stop, except a pickup truck pulling a recreational trailer.” This is a bit vague as motorhomes can easily be over 10,000 pounds and they are not pulling an RV, they are the RV.|
|Nevada||All vehicles over 10,000 must be weighed.|
|New Hampshire||Law enforcement can make anyone be weighed.|
|New Jersey||All vehicles over 10,000 must be weighed.|
|New Mexico||Trucks with a GVWR over 26,000 must stop. This does not say that motorhomes are exempt.|
|New York||The state does not specifically say.|
|North Carolina||Law enforcement can make anyone be weighed.|
|North Dakota||Motorhomes do not have to stop at weigh stations.|
|Ohio||Motorhomes do not have to stop at weigh stations.|
|Oklahoma||Law enforcement can make anyone get weighed.|
|Oregon||All vehicles over 26,000 pounds must be weighed.|
|Pennsylvania||Large recreational vehicles must stop to be weighed. This is incredibly vague.|
|Rhode Island||Motorhomes do not have to stop at weigh stations.|
|South Carolina||Law enforcement can make anyone get weighed.|
|South Dakota||Motorhomes do not have to stop at weigh stations.|
|Tennessee||Motorhomes do not have to stop at weigh stations.|
|Texas||Motorhomes do not have to stop at weigh stations.|
|Utah||Police officers may make motorhomes stop if they believe the size or weight is unlawful or dangerous.|
|Vermont||Police officers may make motorhomes stop if they believe the size or weight is unlawful or dangerous.|
|Virginia||Motorhomes do not have to stop at weigh stations.|
|Washington||Motorhomes do not have to stop at weigh stations.|
|West Virginia||Law enforcement can make anyone get weighed.|
|Wisconsin||Motorhomes do not have to stop at weigh stations.|
|Wyoming||Motorhomes do not have to stop at weigh stations.|
You can find additional weigh station information for every state on AAA’s website.
As you can see, the laws in each state are not always written very clearly. In my experience, most people do not bother stopping and I’ve never actually heard from anyone who was punished for not stopping at a weigh station while driving their motorhome.
This being said, I have heard from people who have stopped at weigh stations in states where they believed it was necessary to do so. These people said that they were weighed and told to go on their way. On the other hand, I’ve heard from people who have stopped in states where they were not required to stop and they were basically told to “get lost”.
Fortunately, I’ve never heard a story from anyone who was punished for stopping at a weigh station. If you’re in doubt, you can always stop and ask. You may end up looking foolish, but at least you’ll know you haven’t broken any laws or subjected yourself to any fines.
When Would I Need to Stop at a Weigh Station?
You’ll need to stop at a weigh station anytime you pass one that is open. If the weigh station is closed, you’re free to keep going without stopping.
Sometimes you may be weighed without ever having to stop at the weigh station. You’ll know this is happening because there will be signs telling you to get over to the correct lane to be weighed. If you end up weighing more than 10,000 pounds and you do not stop at the next station, the weigh station will know. They’ll have a picture of your license plate and may even have a picture of you in the driver’s seat.
Where Would I Find a Weigh Station?
Weigh stations are mostly found along highways. However, you can visit a weigh station located off of the highway to help you determine how much your rig weighs. You’ll usually find weigh stations on the highway along state borders. These weigh stations are known as the port of entry weigh stations.
Commercial weigh stations can be found at truck stops. They’ll let you weigh your motorhome or camper, but they’ll charge you a small fee for doing so.
How Can I Avoid Stopping At a Weigh Station?
There are a couple of ways to avoid stopping at a weigh station.
One way to avoid weigh stations is to just not drive by them. If you know where the weigh-station is along your route, you can try to avoid them.
Sometimes truckers will do this to avoid inspections or to save money on taxes. However, it is usually more effort than it is worth to a person who is just driving through with a motorhome.
Another way to avoid stopping at weigh stations is to get a bypass device. These devices work just like EZ pass. You’ll receive a transponder and you’ll place this in your vehicle.
What Happens If I Don’t Stop At a Weigh Station?
If you don’t stop at a weight station, you may be pulled over.
After you’ve been pulled over, they’ll take all of your information and will demand that you pull off on the next exit and turn around so that you can visit the weigh station.
For their trouble, you’ll also receive a big fine. In addition to this, they’ll probably inspect your vehicle and fine you for any further transgressions they may find.
Because of all this, it is usually better just to stop at the weigh station. If in doubt, remember you’ll never be fined for accidentally stopping at a weigh station, but you will be fined for accidentally not stopping at a weigh station.
Almost half of the states in the country seem to require motorhomes that weigh over 10,000 pounds to stop at weigh stations. All class A motorhomes weigh over 10,000 pounds and many class c and even class b motorhomes weigh over 10,000 pounds.
If you don’t stop at a weigh station when you’re supposed to, you may end up on the receiving end of a fine.
If you do stop at a weigh station when you’re not required to, you may be embarrassed, but you won’t face any legal trouble.
My personal advice would be to plan your route out in advance.
If you’re unsure about whether or not you have to stop, you could always call the state’s DMV and ask. It’s always better to know the rules before you head out on the road. Finding out what you need to know ahead of time will help save you time, money, or both.
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Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.