Vehicle weight acronyms explained

GVM, tare mass and GCM are just a few of the terms and acronyms that you will find in your owners manual – do you know what they all mean?

There are many terms that refer to the weight or load that your car is designed to carry or tow. It’s crucial as the driver to know these weights as well as to stick within them for safety.

Tare Mass

Tare weight or mass is the weight of the empty car with all of its fluids – but only 10 litres of fuel in the tank.

Kerb Mass

Kerb Mass is the weight of the empty car with all of its fluids – but with a fuel tank and without any accessories fitted, such as bull bars or tow bars.

Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM)

Gross Vehicle Mass is the maximum your car can weigh when fully loaded. This is specified by your car’s manufacturer and is found on the owners manual. This weight includes Kerb Mass plus all accessories as well as the payload weight.


The payload is the maximum load or weight your car can carry as stated by your car’s manufacturer. The payload weight includes all passengers and their luggage.

Gross Vehicle Axle Mass

Gross Vehicle Axle Mass is the maximum weight that your car’s axles can carry.

If you are ever worried about your car’s load then be sure to visit your nearest public weighbridge.