Trailer, Vehicle and Hitch Acronyms

Oscar H. Will III explains the true meaning of trailer, vehicle and hitch acronyms you see on the road.

Bulldog heavy duty coupler

A Bulldog heavy duty ball coupler will get the job done.

PHOTO: CORNPRO, www.CornProTrailers.com

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Learn what these trailer, vehicle and hitch acronyms really mean. 

Making sense of the alphabet soup you’ll see on trailers, vehicles and hitches can make life much easier. Here are the major players for trailer, vehicle and hitch acronyms:

GTWR (Gross Towed Weight Rating) — The combined weight of the trailer and cargo.

GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating) — The combined weight of the axle and tires.

GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) — The maximum allowable weight of the fully loaded vehicle (including passengers and cargo). This number — along with other weight limits, as well as tire, rim size and inflation pressure data — are shown on the vehicle's Safety Compliance Certification Label, located on the left front door lock facing or the door latch post pillar. Note: The GVW must never exceed the GVWR.

GCVWR (Gross Combination Vehicle Weight Rating) — the combined weight of the loaded trailer and vehicle when hitched together (often less than the truck’s GVWR).

GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) — The actual weight when the fully loaded vehicle is driven onto a scale.


Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on .