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Old 03-03-2013, 02:41 PM   #1
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a towing question you should ask yourself - how much does my state think is legal?

After reading so many threads from people about how much they can (or should) tow, I was reminded of an episode years ago that I believe most people think about.

In my home state the Department of Motor Vehicles treats all light duty and medium duty trucks the same. The are licensed with a particular weight plate. When you go to register your new to you truck the kind lady will ask you what weight rating you wish to register your truck. The lowest is 6,000 lbs. And that is what the vast majority of people will pick because of course it cheapest. What most people do not understand is that weight rating is GCVWR, so it includes not just the truck, but anything attached.

Several years ago I was assisting a friend with a traffic ticket. I witnessed this law in action, and it was ugly. The story was that a couple was doing to landscaping work on their house. They owned a Chevy 1500 extended cab pickup and had gone to the local rental place to pickup a tandem axle dump trailer to move some dirt. Husband had filled the trailer with dirt and then sent wife on down the road to dump it. A state trooper saw her and stopped her. He had the scales and weighed her, then issued a ticket they will never forget.

The combination weighed in at over 21,000 lbs. The truck itself was 7500 lbs (I am guessing some serious tongue weight) and the trailer a little shy of 13K. Incredibly the trooper told the judge the truck had some sag in the rear, but not much. He sounded surprised it weighed in so heavy.

They were over their plate rating, no question and no defense. The fine is $100.00 for being over, plus .10 per pound. It was a $1,600.00 fine. Plus they had to pay a tow bill (the trooper would not let them continue with the trailer), attorney's fees (not that the attorney was able to help them much) and court costs. Total was probably in the neighborhood of $3,000.00.

Obviously this was an extreme case. I will certainly never forget it. I always tagged my trucks as close to my rated GCVRW as possible to avoid this, but it sure hammered the point home. I have seen the MO state troopers out with 5th wheels pulled over with the scales out.

As the couple walked away I caught the look the wife gave her husband and it occurred to me, the fine he just paid was nothing compared to what the divorce was about to cost him.
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Old 03-03-2013, 02:48 PM   #2
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That is so misleading. When I went from a 1/2 ton to a 1 ton all the Ohio BMV said you have a truck now, pay extra. The little guy to the left was them behind the counter.
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Old 03-03-2013, 03:10 PM   #3
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I've been hauling a fifth wheel trailer for over 9 years all over the state of MO and I've yet to see a fifth wheel pulled over for weight. I've also saw plenty of fifth wheels with bass boats in tow that are well over the legal limit in length and have yet to see one of them pulled over either.
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Old 03-03-2013, 06:20 PM   #4
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All the local states where I live do not have that rule. Up to a certain GVW, you can register passenger. Above that, Commercial. They don't care how big of a trailer you tow.
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:31 PM   #5
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In PA the weight class is not combined weight but the maximum truck weight (GVWR).

The Pittsburgh Press - Google News Archive Search

If you register your 3/4 ton as a Class 1 truck and ever haul (OR WEIGH) more than 5,000 pounds you will be getting a pretty big ticket if you are ever stopped.

Since most 3/4 ton trucks weigh more than 5000 empty, just having a Class 1 registration could get you a ticket worth several hundred dollars even empty.

http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms...rms/mv-70s.pdf

The fine is 2 times the cost of the correct weight class sticker PLUS the cost of the correct sticker. Since my 3/4 ton has a GVWR of 9300 pounds it requires 4A (9001-10,000 pounds). It costs 198.00 per year. If I had it listed as a Class 1 pickup, the registration would be $58.50 per year. The fine plus registration if stopped would be $396.00 plus the 198.00 or $594.00

The CAMPER must be registered at ITS max gross weight (not empty weight) as well. That sticker is pretty cheap at 12.00 (up to 10,000) or $27.00 (over 10,001)
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:02 PM   #6
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Good luck getting a correct interpretation from your DMV. I have been trying to figure out what to register for here in NC. The DMV had no idea and the DOT isn't answering my emails. I'm registered at 10,000 lb right now which covers me for truck weight plus tongue weight and then a little cushion. My TV and TT combined weigh in at 15,500 lbs. my truck gcwr is way above that.
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anaro View Post
Good luck getting a correct interpretation from your DMV. I have been trying to figure out what to register for here in NC. The DMV had no idea and the DOT isn't answering my emails. I'm registered at 10,000 lb right now which covers me for truck weight plus tongue weight and then a little cushion. My TV and TT combined weigh in at 15,500 lbs. my truck gcwr is way above that.
Your web site is notoriously unhelpful.
There is NO plate fee listed for a private truck over 6000 pounds.
http://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/fees/default.html?s=DF
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herk7769 View Post
Your web site is notoriously unhelpful.
There is NO plate fee listed for a private truck over 6000 pounds.
NCDOT: License Fees
I have to agree with you herk. i gave up in the website a long time ago. In NC you can renew a vehicle registration up to 6000 lbs online. Over 6000 lbs must be done by mail or in person. Please tell me how mailing a check makes a difference over renewing online? The person at the DMV doesn't even care what weight you register your truck for as long as the boxes are checked. It is utterly ridiculous.
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:25 PM   #9
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In Kentucky the standard plate for a pick up is not marked but it's 6000 LBS.
It looks exactly the same as a car or SUV plate.
The 10,000 plate IS marked with 10000 on the lower edge.
They cost the same.
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:33 PM   #10
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When I got my truck a few years ago the DMV lady wanted to put a 7000lb plate on it, because she said the truck weighed 6500lbs. I told her I wanted the 9000lb plate and after some arguing she finally relented. She couldn't understand why I wanted to pay the additional 20 bucks a year when 'I didn't have to', according to her. I keep a weight ticket in my truck showing 8400lbs fully loaded weight with my trailer attached in case I ever need it. Here in Indiana there is no weight listed on the RV tag, just the truck.
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