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How Much Does a Car Weigh?

Did you know that it actually matters how much your car weighs when it comes to being in an accident? Even with cars being more efficient with the average fuel economy climbing and carbon-dioxide emissions falling, cars that weigh more cause more damage. Though, for instance, the heavier the car, the safer it will be for those in the car. However, that means it is more dangerous for other cars on the road in case of an accident. “Being hit by a vehicle that is 1,000 pounds heavier results in a 47% increase in the probability of a fatal accident.” With that being said, we want to go over and answer the questions, how much does a car weigh? And also go over why it is important to know.

How Much Does the Average Car Weigh?

The weight of the average car has gone up substantially since 2010. Knowing the approximate weight of your car is actually more important than most people think. It may be necessary when crossing bridges and you may need this information to report to the DMV for proper classification. Knowing this information is important in case of an accident. It is no secret that cars that weigh more and are aesthetically bulkier cause more damage than smaller cars. Below, we are going to go over the average weight of specific cars as well as the different ways the weights are measured.

Examples of Car Weights by Class

  • Compact cars (PT Cruisers) – average weight = 2.9 tons
  • Midsize cars (Buick Lasabre) – average weight = 3.4 tons
  • Compact trucks/SUV’s – average weight = 3.4 tons
  • Midsize trucks/SUV’s – average weight = 4.2 tons
  • Large trucks/SUV’s – average weight = 5.4 tons

With all of that being said, the weight of each specific car will be different. This will all depend on make, model, year, materials used, car type, additional features, etc. Below, we are going to go over the different ways in which weight is measured.

How Weight is Measured

With each car, it will be different. However, there are several ways in which the weight of a car is determined. Below are some of those ways:

  • Gross vehicle weight: this is the weight of the car with all cargo and passengers inside
  • Curb weight: the weight without cargo, driver, and passenger(s)
  • Payload: the weight of the car, passengers, equipment, and anything being towed
  • Gross vehicle weight rating: the maximum total weight your car can handle
    • this includes drivers, passengers, cargo, anything you tow
  • Gross combined weight: if you are pulling a trailer, this measurement includes the weight of the car and the trailer
  • Maximum load trailer weight: similar to gross combined weight, however, it includes the weight of a fully loaded trailer
  • Gross axle weight: amount of weight being supported by each axle
  • Gross axle weight rating: the maximum amount of weight the axle can support

There are many different ways to measure the weight of your vehicle. More often than not, the manufacturers guide has all of the necessary information you will need.

Determining the Weight of the Vehicle

The exact measurements will vary depending on the car you have, the materials used to make the car, the age of the car, even if there are additional features inside of the car. Below are some ways weight is determined and how to find the weight of your car. Whether you think it is important or not, it is always better to know.

  • Driver side door: if you open the driver’s side door, you may be able to find a sticker that tells you the weight of the vehicle
  • Car manual: the manual tells you everything you need to know about your car. More often than not, you can find this information there.
  • Manufacturer: if you need, you can call a customer service representative at the manufacturers office to and they will give you this information.
  • Scale: if you can locate a car or truck scale, it will tell you the weight.


We know that it can seem like a mundane thing to know, how much does a car weigh. But if you think of it in terms of safety and being on the road, it is actually important to have the information handy. With more and more people on the road, that means more and more accidents. And with even more larger cars, that means the likelihood of a fatal accident increases by nearly 47%. Make sure you are taking every precaution you can on the road.

If you have been injured in an accident, contact us to discuss your case. Consultations with an accident attorney at Silverthorne Attorneys are free!

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