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commercial vehicle registration

re-rating your gross vehicle weight rating [gvwr]

What is gross vehicle weight rating

It is the the combination of the weight of the vehicle PLUS the load. So, if your truck weighs 7000lbs, and its  carrying capacity is 4000lbs, the GVWR is 11,000lbs.

Why is having your GVWR accurately reported to the DMV important? Because not doing so will result in consequences:

  • Money – you will have to spend money paying your fine
  • Time – you will spend time going to court and fixing your problem
  • Lost work & potential future earnings – your vehicle MAY be put out of commission until you resolve your problem
  • Headache – because the courts are not easy to deal with, especially post COVID-19. Everything is delayed.
  • In some cases of operating underweight – you will be over-paying for a weight that you do not operate at wasting you money.

Now the question is, how do you prevent this very common issue, and how to address the issue before it becomes a problem?

When it comes to larger vehicles, I educate my clients in telling them that once you start to operate a vehicle above 10,000lbs you now enter a new arena in terms of the DMV and CHP and DOT. The simple fact that you operate a commercial vehicle above 10,000lbs changes the ball game. These are a few things that you must consider:

  • You will need to obtain an MCP [motor carrier permit] if you’re operating intra-state California. And to obtain this you must obtain the following:
  • You will need to purchase insurance that covers up to 750,000 CSL [combined single limit] and have a filing on it to report it to the DMV.
  • If you have employees, you will need to report your worker’s compensation insurance to the DMV

It is imperative to know and understand this because some people buy trucks for “side jobs” or “weekend jobs” – these small jobs have to justify the cost to own and operate this vehicle, otherwise, reconsider. But for those of you that will continue and with the purchase, this is the best advice I can give to determine what weight you should register your truck in: 

  • Drive your full loaded truck to a weigh station and weigh it. This will tell you how much your operating weight is. Obviously, you do not want to operate the vehicle in excess of the rated limits. This is usually found on the side of the door jamb [pictured below]. For safety reasons you never want to exceed the mechanical limits of your vehicle.


Thankfully the solution to this problem is very simple: upgrade your weight. To go from one weight to another is a simple transaction that can be done in our office. The amount of fees is based on which weight you are coming from and which weight you are going. It is pro-rated, so you won’t have to pay for the full year. There is a flip-side, for those that need to go down in weight, there is no refund for the fees that were paid for already.