Being in the industry for over 25 years and as an accredited and authorised fitters of Lovell’s GVM Upgrade Kits, we have tried to give best information to understand everything about GVM upgrades.
GVM Upgrades: Why They Are Important
Understanding GVM Upgrades is an important aspect to help keep you safe on the road and ensure that you are following all regulations with your 4WD vehicle.
For those who are new to 4W driving or vehicle maintenance, GVM is also known as the maximum weight allowed for a vehicle when it is fully loaded (Gross Vehicle Mass). The GVM of your vehicle is specified by the original equipment manufacturer. All vehicles have their requisite GVM standards that the vehicle owner or driver is required by law to uphold. Here are some comprehensive points regarding your GVM upgrades.
What is involved in a GVM upgrade
When you are first deciding whether or not to get a GVM upgrade done it is important to make sure that the brakes and axles are in good condition. An approved engineer will need to check the compliance plate and individual axle weights on your vehicle before any modifications can be done. It is good to remember that often the sum of the axle weights is larger than the approved GVM.
To give you an approximate guide, suspension upgrades are usually suggested for a load limit increase that is under 10 percent. If, however, you require an upgrade beyond this, the engineer may suggest fitting a GVM upgrade kit. With these types of modifications you will be looking at an increase in cost as you will be paying for the new suspensions, parts and the price of the engineer’s time.
Reaching your maximum GVM
In most vehicles today the GVM is low and usually reaches its limit when fitted with a steel tray and toolboxes or with two or more large adults riding in the vehicle. Since it is easy to reach the maximum GVM, it is important to be aware of your GVM and the weight that you are carrying in your vehicle as it can be surpassed easily. Upgrading your GVM can therefore prevent you from unintentionally passing your maximum limit, making you susceptible to safety hazards and fines. For example, at Fleetcrew, we can provide GVM upgraded suspension to 3.9 Tonnes for our Toyota 4wd hire vehicles.
Vehicle Modification Certificates
To make sure your vehicle meets the needed regulations, one thing to remember is that your vehicle needs to remain in its upgraded state (for example, the rims must stay rated for the higher GVM). Modifications that can be done on your vehicle are ones that qualify you for a modification plate applicable with Queensland registration only or a modification that can be transferred to other states. Along with a modification plate, a QLD Transport Certified Engineers letter is also required. As for new vehicles, GVM upgrades are only granted by the Federal Department of Infrastructure and Transport.
In most cases, a GVM upgrade will not affect your vehicle’s warranty. It is, however, best to check with who is fitting your GVM and your vehicle’s manufacturer to ensure your warranty will remain in tact. Getting your testing, analysis or procedures done by an accredited automotive engineer or automotive consultant will ensure that the original equipment components are not compromised. Modifications to load limits can then be carried out under safety regulations and secure the integrity and longevity of the parts associated with increasing the vehicles load carrying capabilities.
Understanding your insurance
If your vehicle is exceeding its GVM and you need to make a claim on your insurance you may run into some problems. It is possible for your insurance company to avoid giving you a pay out on your vehicle if it is exceeding its maximum GVM. To be sure that you are covered by your insurance while operating or owning your vehicle it is therefore important to make sure you are aware of your legal load limit so that you can upgrade it when necessary.
Paying vehicle fines
If a vehicle operates beyond its legal load limits you are automatically at risk for litigation and fines. You can be charged for exceeding your GVM and put yourself at risk for having your vehicle impounded. If you are a business owner or manager, upgrading your GVM also protects you from claims made for breaches in occupational health and safety regulations or employee negligence. Penalties vary from state to state, however, to protect yourself and anyone that may work for you, it is important to make sure you keep an eye on your GVM upgrades.
Trailers and GVM upgrades
If you need your vehicle to tow, you also should be aware of the maximum allowable trailer weight and ball weight for the vehicle. Please note the GVM upgrade does not increase the towing capacity of the vehicle. The tow bar itself will need to be rated for a minimum of the maximum weights applicable to your vehicle. Once you know this number, you can then check the weight by loading your vehicle (including water tanks, larger, food, and the people on board) and making your way to the closest weighbridge.
GVM upgrades on registered and unregistered vehicles
GVM upgrades are a bit more straightforward on unregistered vehicles but can be done on registered vehicles through the process of consulting an engineer who is approved to assess and certify vehicle modifications, as mentioned above.
New vehicles need to be fitted prior to registration and are then certified under their new GVM as per the new compliance plate – meaning that the vehicle is registered federally with the GVM upgrade.
Safety and effectiveness of the vehicle
Without upgrading your GVM you are prone to driving a vehicle that doesn’t meet safety regulations, putting you and others on the road at risk. Some aspects of safety and effectiveness that can be impacted if your vehicle reaches its maximum GVM are your ability to maneuver the vehicle and its overall stability. With an upgraded GVM you can ensure specific improvements in your vehicle’s functioning such as its carrying capacity, your ability to ride and handle the vehicle, as well as its towing stability.
It is always helpful to be aware of the rules that apply in each state to ensure that you avoid any unnecessary fines or safety risks. For more information you can contact Fleet Crew as our specialized staff can help you with any questions and are qualified to carry out your GMV upgrades. Click here for more information on our maintenance services. We also have a range of vehicles available for hire which include GVM upgrades.