Recreational Vehicles and Trailers Handbook

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Section 15 of 16


Breakaway switch-a safety device that automatically activates the brakes of a towing vehicle if it separates from the trailer hitch.

Bus-any vehicle, including a trailer bus, designed, used, or maintained for carrying more than 15 persons, including the driver, for hire or for carrying more than 10 persons, including the driver, by any non-profit organization. (CVC §233)

Camper-structure designed to be mounted to a vehicle which provides facilities for human habitation or camping. (CVC § 243)

Camp trailer-vehicle under 16 feet in length designed to be used on a highway capable of human habitation for camping or recreational purposes. (CVC §242)

Curb weight-the weight of the vehicle with full fuel, water, and propane tanks.

CVC §-California Vehicle Code Section.

Dolly-a mobile platform that rolls on casters or wheels, used for moving loads.

Endorsement-permission granted by a licensing authority to applicants qualified by examination to drive specified vehicles.

Fifth-wheel-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. (CVC §432)

GAWR-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.

GCW-gross combination weight-the total weight of a powered unit plus trailer(s) plus the cargo.

GCWR-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.

GVWR-gross vehicle weight rating-the maximum weight that your RV can carry, including driver, passengers, and cargo.

Hazardous Material-any material that poses an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property during transportation.

Housecar-motor vehicle originally designed, or permanently altered, and equipped for human habitation, or to which a camper has been permanently attached. (CVC §362)

Landing gear-equipment designed to support the weight of a vehicle and its load on the ground.

Motorhome-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.

Tracking-also called offtracking. The rear wheels of a vehicle or trailer follow a different path than the front wheels.

Trailer bus-motor truck or truck tractor pulling a trailer or semitrailer designed, used, or maintained for the transportation of more than 10 persons, including the driver. (CVC §636)

Trailer coach-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” trailer. (CVC §635)

Payload-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 pounds, and its GVWR is 12,500 pounds, the payload limit is 2,000 pounds)

Unladen weight-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. (CVC §660)