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Knowing how much of a load your vehicle is designed to carry or tow is crucial to both your 4WD’s efficiency and safety. ARB explains what you need to know to ensure your vehicle is both legal and safe.What is GVM?GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass) is the maximum a vehicle can weigh when fully loaded, as specified by the manufacturer. Everything on (or in) your vehicle such as fuel, bull bar, tray body and passengers adds to your overall GVM.

You can usually find your car’s GVM figure on the vehicle’s weight placard, which is most often located in the driver’s door opening, under the bonnet or in your owner’s manual.

Why does GVM matter?Exceeding your 4WD’s GVM can result in voiding your insurance, costly fines and an unsafe vehicle. Tyres are particularly susceptible to failure if they’re overloaded, as well as putting your suspension and driveline at risk. ARB’s National Sales and Marketing Manager, Matthew Frost, relates a GVM overload experience he encountered on a recent trip to Arkaroola, South Australia. “A banana is the best way to describe the car, the ute tub to the body was extremely distorted. Driving through the Gammon Ranges, we passed a Mitsubishi Triton awaiting recovery that was obviously overloaded as well as towing a camper trailer.

As a consequence of hitting the many washouts along the road, and most likely too fast, the entire chassis had bent upwards, causing extremely costly and possibly irreparable damage.”Not only is exceeding your GVM a dangerous endeavour, it is also illegal. If police see a 4WD or ute that is clearly overloaded, they can stop the vehicle, have it weighed and issue a summons to appear in court. The maximum penalty for this infringement is $2,000 or a six-month jail sentence.

OME GVM UpgradeNew vehicle GVM upgrades are only granted by the Federal Department of Infrastructure and Transport after detailed tests have been carried out by qualified suspension engineers. This ensures that the increase in a vehicle’s GVM following the fitment of a complete suspension system meets the minimum ADR safety requirements.

Once the approved suspension system and GVM upgrade compliance plate has been fitted to your vehicle by an authorised Old Man Emu installer, it can then be registered according to its new, increased GVM. This process ensures that your vehicle’s GVM is legal in all states of Australia.Once vehicles are registered, they fall under the jurisdiction of the state authorities. The need for GVM upgrades post-registration should be discussed with your local ARB State Office, as regulations differ between states and other requirements may be imposed locally.

The easiest way to measure your 4WD GVM is by using your nearest public weighbridge for a moderate fee – provides a comprehensive list of weighbridges nationally.


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