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The Ultimate Guide to HGV Weights: What You Need to Know


In our previous articles, we have often mentioned the term ‘HGV’, also referred to as ‘LGV’ (large goods vehicle). New HGV drivers may find the terminology regarding HGV weights slightly confusing. To put it in simple terms, HGV weights refers to the weight of the heavy goods vehicle you are driving. All HGV drivers are responsible for complying with the UK legislation on licence categories and maximum weight limits. 

As a HGV hire company ourselves, HGV weights are within our area of expertise. To inform new and future HGV drivers, we have created the following ultimate guide on HGV weights and everything you need to know about them. 

Understanding HGV Weights

HGV weights were put in place to ensure road safety, preserve road infrastructure and maintain the operations of efficient transportation. The terms most associated with HGV weights include:

  • MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass) – the maximum weight a HGV vehicle is allowed to operate. This includes the weight of the vehicle, passengers and its load. The MAM of a HGV vehicle is usually found in the vehicle manual, or located on a plate or sticker on the vehicle. Alternatively, it can be given by the vehicle manufacturer.
  • GVW (Goods Vehicle Weight) – refers to the weight of a HGV vehicle and its load. 
  • Axle Weight – Every HGV vehicle is limited to a maximum of 6 axles. Axle weight refers to the total weight transmitted to the road by all the wheels on one axle. 
  • Payload – the maximum weight a HGV vehicle is designed to carry.

Types of HGV Driver Licences 

As you may already know, UK driving licences are put in a number of categories based on vehicle weight and size. For instance, drivers of a car hold a Category B licence. As a new HGV driver, the UK law states vehicles with a GVW over 7.5 tonnes (including tipper and tipper grab trucks) require a HGV driver’s licence. According to GOV.UK, HGV licences fall under the following categories:

  • Category C1 – Can drive medium-sized vehicles with a MAM between 3,500 and 7,500 Kg with a trailer up to 750 Kg.
  • Category C1E – Can drive Category C1 vehicles with a MAM with a trailer over 750 Kg.
  • Category C – Can drive large-sized vehicles with a MAM over 3,500 Kg with a trailer up to 750 Kg.
  • Category CE – Can drive Category C vehicles with a trailer over 750 Kg.

For more information on HGV driver licences such as how to apply for a HGV licence or how to renew one, please visit the GOV.UK website. 

The Dangers of Overloading

So, why are HGV weights crucial to comply with? If a lorry or truck is overloaded, it can affect the vehicle’s steering and braking function. As a result, the vehicle can become difficult to steer and it can take longer to stop. This can potentially increase the risk of hitting another vehicle in front or a pedestrian during an emergency brake. If an accident occurs, insurance policies may become void because overloading is illegal and won’t be covered. 

An overloaded HGV vehicle also increases fuel consumption costs and puts extra pressure on the tyres. Heavy axles also cause far more road damage and overloaded axles are one of the biggest causes of excess wear and tear on the roads in the UK. It is estimated that the overloading of HGV vehicles costs the government a substantial amount of money a year on road maintenance. A driver who overloads a HGV vehicle can face penalties and court summons. Therefore, it is essential that HGV drivers avoid overloading and companies should weigh their vehicles accurately using weighbridges.

HGV Vehicles Available for Hire in Various Weights

At ND Brown, we offer a broad range of tippers, tipper grab, hot box, specialist and municipal vehicles available for long or short-term hire across the UK. Our fleet ranges with a GVW from 3.5 tonnes (3,500 Kg) to 32 tonnes (32,000 Kg) to suit all project sizes and requirements, whether you work in civil engineering or road maintenance. We also have a range of HGV vehicles for sale in various weights. You can browse our entire hiring fleet on our website. Alternatively, read our online brochure to see specifications of each vehicle including GVW and payload. 

If you are interested in hiring or purchasing one of our HGV vehicles, please contact us today and a member of our team will be happy to answer any questions you may have and get you started on the hiring or buying process.

About ND Brown

ND Brown Ltd is a specialist independent truck rental and sales company of over 40 years’ standing. Owned and operated by the same dedicated management team since its inception, ND Brown’s efforts are focused on supplying the utility, civil engineering, municipal and highway maintenance industries with high-quality modern HGV vehicles for both short and long-term self-drive hire.

From our sales division, we also sell a wide, but specialised range of new and used commercial vehicles.

Please call us on 01902 791991 or email us on