Last updated November 9th, 2022
Kerb weight is the most common measurement of a car’s total weight. The total kerb weight of a vehicle is the weight, including all standard equipment and a full tank of petrol. Many vehicle manufacturers will use kerb weight when specifying the weight of their cars and it is considered the most accurate representation of a car’s weight in terms of everyday use.
There are different types of kerb weight, each considered in different situations, such as to calculate a car’s towing capacity.
In this article, we will cover the most commonly used kerb weight metrics, how they differ from one another – and some of the other terms and variables you may need to consider when assessing your vehicle’s kerb weight.
Kerb weight doesn’t include the driver or any passengers, just the weight of the vehicle, its standard equipment - and a full fuel tank.
Kerb weight is the total weight of a vehicle, along with all standard equipment, fluids and fuel. To find a vehicle’s gross weight, you add its kerb weight to the total weight of the driver, passengers and any cargo or luggage.
DIN is an abbreviation of Deutsches Institut für Normung, the German Institute for Standardisation. This is the standard kerb weight used by most manufacturers today and accounts for the weight of the car, including everything needed to operate it, plus a tank of fuel that is at least 90% full.
Dry kerb weight is the weight of the vehicle alone, with no fuel or other fluids included. This is very rarely the figure given in vehicle specifications, as it does not accurately represent the handling or driving experience you’d expect from the lower weight.
Minimum kerb weight is the total weight of the vehicle with water, gas, fluids and oil included, but excluding fuel.
Gross weight is the measurement of vehicle weight that most accurately reflects the real-world weight of a vehicle, as it also accounts for the driver, luggage and any passengers.
The reason that kerb weight is generally used instead of gross weight is that gross weight is more difficult to calculate, due to the many different variables. As such, gross weight tends to be used to check that a vehicle is not exceeding its weight limit when transporting heavy cargo or towing.
The unladen weight of a vehicle is the total weight of the vehicle, with all the necessary added components, but without any passengers, goods, fuel or other items. It’s the exclusion of fuel that makes a car’s unladen weight different to its kerb weight.
A vehicle’s plated weight is the maximum gross vehicle weight of a car and is used as an indicator of its Maximum Authorised Mass, the maximum weight that the car can reach whilst still operating.
Tare weight is the weight of a vehicle and all its components before it is loaded with any cargo or luggage.
The average weight of a standard passenger car is around 1857kg, though this may vary a lot depending on the vehicle’s size.
The average compact car weighs around 1200kg. As such, lighter cars are generally much easier to drive and handle than larger, heavier vehicles.
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The Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) of a vehicle is the maximum load that it can safely carry or tow whilst on the road.