When it comes to van conversions, weight management is crucial. Most understand that it’s essential to stay within the legal limits set by your GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass), yet below we’ll cover some other crucial details you may be unaware of, including TARE vs GVM.
The GVM is the maximum weight that your vehicle is legally allowed to carry, that is: everything on board, including the weight of the vehicle itself, cargo and any passengers. This is a vital number to know as exceeding it will cause a raft of issues! Doing so will prohibit your ability to attain a motorhome engineering certificate, can cause additional wear and tear on the vehicle and even affect its safe handling and braking. Not to mention being caught exceeding your GVM will result in hefty fines. Additionally, if your vehicle is found to be over the GVM and you are involved in an accident, your insurance is unlikely to cover any damage or injuries.
Tare weight on the other hand is the weight of a vehicle when it is empty, without any of the above, or passengers, I.e. before your build. The weight of the vehicle itself, engine, transmission, and other components, including any fluids or fuel that may be in the tank. Knowing both the GVM and TARE is essential for effectively planning your van conversion.
If you don’t know your TARE, you can ascertain it by taking your emptied vehicle to a “weighbridge” – which will allow calculation of your available payload and allow for effective planning of your conversion.
Many of our customers have gone over their GVM in failed builds when they’ve failed to factor the sum total of the items they’ve installed: water tanks, solar panels, kitchen appliances, etc. A common gotcha is overlooking that the weight of passengers ALSO contributes to the total GVM.
To ensure a safe and successful conversion, it’s important to take the time to accurately calculate your available payload and to be mindful of the weight of ALL components of your build. This includes not just the weight of the materials and equipment used in the build, but also the weight of any personal belongings, food, water, and fuel that will be stored in the van.
One important thing to keep in mind is that the weight of your build will also change over time, as you add or remove items, so it’s important to regularly check and adjust your calculations.
Professional van conversion companies help their customers avoid these issues by accurately calculating your available payload and ensuring that your build does not exceed the GVM. At Vanable, we take this responsibility very seriously and work closely with our clients to ensure that their conversions are not only beautiful and functional, but also safe and legal.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the legal requirements for van conversions can vary depending on the state you are in, so it’s important to check to ensure that you are compliant with state regulations.
In addition to legal requirements, it’s also important to consider the impact of your conversion on the environment. For example, if you’re planning on living in your van full-time, it’s important to consider how you will carry and dispose of drinking and grey water (yet another GVM contributor!).
By taking the time to accurately calculate your available payload, or by working with a professional van conversion company, you can ensure that your build is not only beautiful and functional, but also safe and legal. But most importantly, while the process of converting a van can be challenging, it’s also incredibly rewarding – so don’t be afraid to take the leap and start your van conversion journey today!