How to Increase Your Vehicle's Gross Vehicle Mass

The gross vehicle mass, or GVM, is the weight and mass a vehicle can manage on its own wheels and with standard, factory-installed parts. Hauling more weight than the GVM puts undue strain on the engine, transmission and axle, and overheats a vehicle very easily. You also might not be able to brake safely and bring your vehicle to a stop quickly enough when you exceed its GVM.

If you must haul loads heavier than the recommended GVM for your car or truck, discuss your needs with a mechanic or other professional. He or she can often modify some parts or make upgrades to your vehicle as needed. Also, you might note a few added tips on changes you can make on your own. Modifying a few parts yourself can help increase a vehicle's GVM and keep you safer. As always, check local laws to ensure any modifications you plan are legal and that you're legally towing a load as well.

Upgrade the Brakes

Factory-installed brake pads and rotors are often thin and lightweight, and some brands are made from cheap plastic parts or a mixture of plastic and metal. Upgrading the brakes to thicker pads and heavy-duty rotors designed for larger or heavier vehicles allows you to brake safely when hauling a large load. High-quality brakes also reduce wear and tear on a vehicle's axles, tie rods and other parts connected to the wheels.

Enhance the Suspension

Accelerating with a heavy load behind your vehicle creates drag and resistance; stopping while towing an oversized load creates "riding up", or undue pressure and weight on the front end of your vehicle. An upgraded suspension, including heavier springs and struts, cushion all that movement and reduce added drag when accelerating while also alleviating pressure on the front end with every stop.

Swap Out the Radiator

Engines work harder to haul heavy loads, which means they also run hotter. Your standard radiator might not be able to hold and circulate enough coolant to compensate for hauling something heavy behind you, and especially not during hot summer months.

To protect your car or truck, swap out your vehicle's radiator for something with a larger capacity and better cooling abilities. A new radiator won't necessarily help your vehicle with the load behind it, but it will reduce wear and tear on your engine and reduce the risk of it overheating or otherwise seizing up while you're on the road.

Consider getting GVM upgrades on your vehicle.