Frequently asked questions
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Although weigh bridges most definitely have a role to play and are beneficial in providing road users with an indication of where they are at with their overall weights, they simply are not as accurate and do not go into the level of detail that a professional personalised weigh of your setup does.
Weighbridges weigh in increments, often these are anywhere from 10 to 50 kg depending on the weighbridge itself (some truck only weighbridges in the NT are up to 200kg increments).
You are also not able to obtain individual corner weights and often we see clients obtain the incorrect data and information as they do not understand the process and how to correctly calculate your various compliances.
At a professional weighing appointment, we will go through the whole process with you systematically and in plain English, right from explaining the terms and acronyms and what they mean, to detailing the process and why we do everything we do, so you understand the correlation between the numbers and how you correctly calculate them.
We also attempt to resolve and fix any issues you may have on the day while you are on the scales. This process is time consuming and something which often you simply cannot do on a public weighbridge.
Lastly our scales provide accurate weight measurements within 1 kg (our towball scale within 0.5 of a kg). Our scales are regularly calibrated (twice a year) to provide piece of mind that our results are accurate.
Our combo tow vehicle and caravan weighs take approximately 2 hours. However it is not uncommon for our appointments to take longer than this. 10 out of every 11 clients is either over at least one of their compliances or the balance and setup of their combination is not ideal. As we endeavour to “fix” our clients on the day if at all possible, we allow additional time in order to attempt to resolve any issues that our clients have.
We initially weigh your setup on a “worst case” scenario basis, i.e. full of fuel, people and gear in the tow vehicle and the caravan full of water and all usual gear. We also do this as a number of insurance companies, in the event of a claim, will assume you have full water in your caravan’s water tanks regardless of whether you do or don’t.
We then provide you with a Base Report detailing your individual corner weights of the vehicle (both hitched with the caravan and unhitched) and corner weights of the caravan together with your 8 main compliances (3 for the caravan and 5 for the car including front and rear axle weights).
From here we then look at your compliance numbers and balance/weight distribution of your setup and provide advice and recommendations to you in order to assist in becoming compliant or better balanced. We will then step through showing you what those changes will do to your setup while you are on the scales and also provide you with variation reports so you have a record of the alterations and the affects therein.
Lastly, we always drop the water from the caravan’s water tanks and show you the impact that reduced and or NO water has on your van’s weights, balance, axle and corner weights and most importantly towball download. Often you will travel to a remote off grid location with full water and utilise that water whilst at camp and drive back with minimal or no water. We also provide variation reports for this aspect of the weighing process as well so again you have a record for your information.
If at all possible, we endeavour to weigh all clients on a “worst case” scenario basis initially. That is, with the van full of water in all water tanks and all of the gear that would ordinarily be taken on your trip. With the car, again we like to ensure the car is full of fuel, people and all of the gear that ordinarily resides in the car when travelling. From here, we can always take out of the combination (car and or van) anything that may ultimately not travel with you and re-weigh your combination accordingly.
We get asked at almost every weigh about the impact on your insurance if you happen to be involved in an accident (even if it is NOT your fault) and being overweight. As we all know, Insurance companies are renowned for seeking any loophole in your policy in order to negate a claim, and being overweight is a critical issue that insurance companies exploit.
If you are in an accident and are overweight, you most definitely run a significant risk of your insurance company potentially denying your claim and further may also therefore not cover any other party or parties involved in your accident as well.
As discussed above, a number of insurance companies (not all) either do not provide a directive or are ambiguous in their stance in relation to water, with some assuming you have full water in your tanks at the time of an accident and resultant claim, regardless of whether you do or don’t.
We have colleagues who regularly weigh for a number of insurance companies and believe us, they do “pick up all the pieces from the side of the road” and weigh what’s left of your caravan to ascertain your weight. If you are over your caravan’s compliance numbers then you most definitely are at risk of not being able to claim against your policy.
We suggest and recommend to all clients who we weigh that they seek clarification from their individual insurance company in relation to their particular stance on this issue.
In order to achieve accurate results when being weighed, it is vital that an appropriate and suitable location is sourced.
We only weigh on either concrete or bitumen surfaces (i.e. hard surface). Even weighing on dirt or gravel (let alone softer surfaces such as grass and or sand) can result in an inaccurate reading as the scale chassis is designed to transmit force from the feet of the scale (or the entire body if no feet) to the springs. This allows the springs to be accurate. On soft or uneven ground that equation changes as the pressure is not distributed through the chassis as intended.
Also on soft or uneven ground (i.e. gravel), there is a high chance the scale itself may not be level. Further there is also a very high chance that not ALL scales are level to each other, which this too impacts the results. It is therefore critical that a flat, hard and consistent surface is sourced for weighing your setup and one that does not have uneven plains.
Be very wary of operators who weigh on surfaces that are NOT hard (such as gravel, grass and or sand) and or a surface that is as flat as possible, as results will vary! Refer to our VLOG (HERE) where we compared weighing one of our company vehicles on our dedicated concrete weighing pad as compared to grass! The results are staggering!!
At our Darwin headquarters in Howard Springs, we have gone to the trouble and cost of installing a custom dedicated weighing pad that is perfectly level and is a suitable length to accommodate the biggest setup.
Of course we can (and do) also come to you provided we can source a suitable location either at your residence or somewhere close by.
In respect of Cam and Ang on the road travelling, often finding a suitable location can be challenging, but invariably there is almost always something suitable close by. We will always do a reconnaissance run where ever we may be and liaise with you in this regard.
We are happy to take payment in the form of direct credit (OSKO) payments, cash and or EFTPOS/Credit Card payments. We have mobile EFTPOS terminals and take VISA or Mastercard payments.
As part of every weighing appointment, we take the time to go through with our clients what the terms and acronyms pertaining to weighing mean in plain English. We also provide a copy of our acronyms summary which includes diagrams to help you better understand these terms.
Refer HERE to our Acronyms Summary.
The other very common question we get asked is what is the process and what happens if you are pulled over and compliance weighed by authorities.
One of the problems here is that there are no definitive guidelines and every state is different in their stance and interpretation of this issue.
Queensland has no doubt led the charge in relation to authorities compliance checking road users, particularly since May 2022. Our colleague, Dave Lewis from Weight Check in Brisbane works closely with TMR (Transport & Main Roads Queensland) and Caravanning Queensland and is involved in the “Van Safe” program in Qld, and is arguably the best person to seek clarification as to what authorities are doing in this space.
At present in Qld, Dave advises that the vast majority of compliance checks are undertaken by TMR (Department of Transport & Main Roads). If you are compliance checked, the authorities will weigh you “as presented”. This means with what ever level of fuel, water, people and gear you have in your setup at the time. Also, our understanding is, TMR will weigh your vehicle with weight distribution bars (or similar) on if that is how your setup is presented at the time. Obviously, these will need to be removed to ascertain the caravan ATM and towball download compliance numbers.
If you happen to be “over” in any of your compliances, then TMR has the ability to fine you (currently the fine in Qld is approximately $270 per infringement). Our understanding is also that in certain instances TMR may seek to have you address and fix your setup if it is deemed unsafe or unroadworthy.