How to safely load your motorhome
Is your Motorhome overloaded? Safety tips and advice
Motorhome Equipment & Use
Did you know that driving an overloaded motorhome is a leading cause of camper accidents? Even a slight overload or unequal weight distribution can seriously restrict braking and steering, dramatically increase fuel consumption, and cause sudden blowouts or breakdowns. An overweight motorhome also creates the danger of early failure in your campers tires, brakes, wheels, drive train and other components.
Firstly here are some terms we need to know:
Mass in Running Order (MIRO)
The MIRO is the weight of your motorhome as it left the factory, a full tank of fuel and an average driver weight of 75kg, but before any other contents are added.
Maximum Technically Permissable Laden Mass (MTPLM)
The MTPLM is the maximum amount which your fully laden motorhome can weigh and still be legal to drive.
(The MTPLM is the MIRO plus the Payload).
The payload is the weight of passengers, equipment and belongings (gas bottles, clothing, food stuffs, solar panels, leisure batteries, bike racks etc) which you carry around with your motorhome.
Your maximum payload is usually given by your motorhome manufacturer.
Check your Motorhomes wieght
Simply put, your RV is overloaded if it exceeds any of the manufacturer’s established limitations for total load, axle load, or tire loading. The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is the maximum amount your RV can safely carry. It includes both the wet weight and the cargo weight. Be sure to check your owner’s manual for weight limitations.
Check your motorhome at a weigh bridge
Your motorhome’s size measurements should be in your handbook, and your front and rear axle load can of course be calculated at a weigh bridge by simply placing only the front or rear tyres on the sensor area (some weigh bridges may have equipment which can calculate front and rear axle loading independently automatically).
Reload your Motorhome
When you reload, remember to store heavy items low and forward, lightweight articles high. Be sure heavy items can’t slide into the water pump or other fixed equipment. Try to balance the load between the two sides of the RV. A simple measurement of clearances on both sides can aid in proper balance. You can minimize swing, sway or wobble if you keep the vehicle’s center of gravity low.
Calculating the effect of adding weight behind the rear axle
Many motorhome owners like to add a rear bike rack for pedal cycles, small motorbikes or scooters. But it’s important that if you are adding a rack then you carefully calculate the effect this will have on your motorhome’s front and rear axle loading, as these both have their own specific limits
Check your tires
Finally, check your tires–one of the most critical factors in safe RVing. Since most tire failures are caused by overload or under inflation, be sure your tires are inflated in accordance with proper inflation pressures for the load you’re carrying. Overloaded tires are more prone to blow out. Keep tires of similar tread patterns and similar construction on the same axles.