Glossary of RV Terms

Glossary of RV Terms
Breakaway switch
A safety device that automatically activates the brakes of a towing vehicle if it separates from the trailer hitch.
A structure designed to be mounted to a vehicle, usually a pickup, which provides facilities for human habitation or camping.
Camp trailer
A vehicle under 16 feet in length designed to be used on a highway capable of human habitation for camping or recreational purposes.
Curb weight
The weight of the vehicle with full fuel, water, and propane tanks.
A two-wheel trailer, used to carry the front or rear axle of another vehicle.
Permission granted by a licensing authority to applicants qualified by examination to drive specified vehicles.
A vehicle designed for recreational purposes to carry persons or property on its own structure and so constructed as to be drawn by a motor vehicle by means of a kingpin connecting device.
Gross axle weight rating (for each axle)—the maximum weight that can be safely carried by each axle. Distribute the weight properly so you don’t exceed the GAWR ratings.
Gross combination weight—the total weight of a powered unit plus trailer(s) plus the cargo.
Gross combination weight rating—the maximum GCW specified by the manufacturer for a specific combination of vehicles plus the load.
Gross weight
The weight of the vehicle plus its load.
Gross vehicle weight rating—the maximum weight that your
RV can carry, including driver, passengers, and cargo.
A motor vehicle originally designed, or permanently altered, and equipped for human habitation, or to which a camper has been permanently attached.
Landing gear
The equipment designed to support the weight of a vehicle and its load on the ground.
A vehicle designed to provide temporary living quarters, built as an integral part of, or permanently attached to, a self-propelled motor vehicle chassis or van.
Also called offtracking. The rear wheels of a vehicle or trailer follow a different path than the front wheels.
Travel trailer
Also called Travel coach – A vehicle, other than a motor vehicle, designed for human habitation or human occupancy for industrial, professional, or commercial purposes, for carrying property on its own structure, and for being drawn by a motor vehicle. Includes “park model” trailer.
The discretionary weight, measured by subtracting the curb weight from the GVWR to determine the amount of cargo and passengers that you can safely carry. (Example: If your RV’s curb weight is 10,500 lbs., and its GVWR is 12,500 lbs., the payload limit is 2,000 lbs.)
Unladen weight
the weight of a vehicle equipped and ready for operation on the road including five gallons of fuel, required equipment and permanent attachments to the vehicle. Does not include any load.
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