Weight And Finding Scales

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Danny S.'s Comment
member avatar

I notice that most drivers after getting load go find scales to weigh their truck. I understand why but Are there always scales close to the shippers if not how do you know where to find a scale and do you pay for the scale yourself and the company reimburse you? I know this a silly question but figure it don't hurt to ask.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

I notice that most drivers after getting load go find scales to weigh their truck. I understand why but Are there always scales close to the shippers if not how do you know where to find a scale and do you pay for the scale yourself and the company reimburse you? I know this a silly question but figure it don't hurt to ask.

Danny, there are many ways of finding a nearby scale to weigh. However, there isn't always a nearby scale to weigh yourself near a shipper. Its not something that you can gaurantee and really depends on location and the shipper. Any shipper thats within a large city will have many available scales. But sometimes if you're picking up at a small city there isnt always a place to scale.

The small Truck Stop Guidebook is a great tool for finding a nearby scale. It shows all truckstops on any highway or interstate and shows their parking lot size and if they have a certified scale. Thats one way of finding a place to scale yourself.

Truckstop Guidebook

Thats the one that I have and it is great and accurate.

Also, the Rand McNally GPS units also have a built-in feature that can locate a truckstop or scale near your truck or your route. It can really come in handy.

Rand McNally GPS

Thats the one that I have. Its an older model but works wonderfully.

Its a good habit to have, when you find a place to scale you should look at your Atlas map to make sure that there isnt a weigh station that you'll be having to go through to get to that scale. For example. If I picked up in Destination A and the nearest scale to me is 60 miles away. Take a look at your atlas map and verify that there isn't a weight station between Destination A and the scale. You don't want to take a chance on passing that weight station with you being overweight. My #2 rule is never take chances. My #1 rule is safety first.

If you work at a large company then you'll be issued a card that can be used to pay for scales. The only time you'll pay for scales is when its a scale that only takes cash. Which is pretty rare. If you pay for it the company will reimburse you the following paycheck as soon as they get the reciept.

Generally, if you work at a medium to small company you'll have to pay for it always and then you'll get reimbursed on your paycheck. So either way, in the end, its not coming out of your pocket.

You want to aim for the C.A.T scales above all other scales. Simply because they are very accurate and they have their guarantee. In other words, they have your back.

C.A.T Scales

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

What do you do if you get 60 miles down the road and find out your over weight? I don't mean just needing to balance the weight, I mean over total weight?

Let dispatch know ASAP. Give them all weights including gross weight and let them know your fuel level with that message. Then to back to the shipper and they'll break the seal and take just enough weight off to make you legal.

Try to make the steers legal and the drives legal. Aim for something like this:

steer axle is 11990 Drive axles are 33980 Trailer tandems are 34200

Gross- 80,170

That way they can just remove some weight from the back of the trailer. It wouldn't take long. They will remove about 220 pounds from only the trailer.

Don't come to them like this:

Steer axle is 11990 Drive axles are 34380 Trailer tandems are 33800.

Gross- 80,170

That will make it harder for them and you because they'll have to pretty much reload you from the front instead of just taking weight from the last pallet in the trailer like the above example.

I used to load 53' trailers with a forklift before trucking. So this is just a tip from someone who has worked at a shipper before and is a trucker now.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Woody, it's a good question. It depends on the driver (and maybe the company also)as to how you resolve it. Some people will be creative in their route plan so as to avoid any scales (they are marked on your truckers atlas), some people will go back to the shipper and get them to unload some of it. My personal opinion is that it is best to go get some of it off-loaded.

Here's a couple of interesting true story scenarios for your entertainment and education:

Once I was overweight on my drive axles in a truck with a fixed fifth wheel so that I couldn't slide it. I don't remember the numbers anymore, but it wasn't real extremely overweight. I already knew what percentage of my fuel weight was being carried by my drive axles (thanks to Brett's Weights and Balance section in the High Road Training Program) So I calculated how far it was to the first set of scales and figured out that I would burn off enough fuel so that I was only going to be about 150 pounds over weight when I got to the scale. Sure enough, when I got there they waved me on through like it was no big deal - they probably didn't see that I was sweating like a fat man in a sauna until I knew I was OK. Then I burned most of my fuel off before I refueled and then I only put just enough in to get to my destination because I knew I had one more set of scales to cross. Same thing happened at the next scales - I was a tad over but it didn't seem to bother them either. I don't recommend playing with fire like that, but I was in a situation where I didn't have too many options.

Another time I was at a truck stop in Oklahoma and I see a guy having a heck of a time sliding his tandems and fifth wheel back and forth and going to get weighed again and again. He had two other people helping him, and after the third trip to the scale I see them all scratching their heads in frustration. So, deciding I will step in where only fools dare to tread, I approach the three and see if there might be anything I can do to help them out of their dilemma. They were glad to have my help since they couldn't seem to get their problem worked out. Poor rookies, it took all of thirty seconds to show them what was wrong. Their whole problem was that they were over on their gross weight! Once I explained to them that you could slide those tandems and that fifth wheel until the sun sets tonight and you'll still not get that problem straightened out, they kind of got that deer in the headlights look and sheepishly asked "well what do we do now?" It turns out they had loaded at a feed mill which was just down the road and I advised them to go get some of those sacks of feed taken off the load. They weren't even aware of that option.

Oh, I've got lots of stories to tell, and I'm just a rookie myself! That's one of the benefits to truck driving. When you are a grandpa, you can regale your grand kids with all your stories that your friends are bored of hearing.

Hope I didn't bore you Woody, but I've been sitting here waiting to get loaded for several hours so I'm a little bored myself so I just thought I's share a few of my stories with ya!

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

I notice that most drivers after getting load go find scales to weigh their truck. I understand why but Are there always scales close to the shippers if not how do you know where to find a scale and do you pay for the scale yourself and the company reimburse you? I know this a silly question but figure it don't hurt to ask.

Danny, there are many ways of finding a nearby scale to weigh. However, there isn't always a nearby scale to weigh yourself near a shipper. Its not something that you can gaurantee and really depends on location and the shipper. Any shipper thats within a large city will have many available scales. But sometimes if you're picking up at a small city there isnt always a place to scale.

The small Truck Stop Guidebook is a great tool for finding a nearby scale. It shows all truckstops on any highway or interstate and shows their parking lot size and if they have a certified scale. Thats one way of finding a place to scale yourself.

Truckstop Guidebook

Thats the one that I have and it is great and accurate.

Also, the Rand McNally GPS units also have a built-in feature that can locate a truckstop or scale near your truck or your route. It can really come in handy.

Rand McNally GPS

Thats the one that I have. Its an older model but works wonderfully.

Its a good habit to have, when you find a place to scale you should look at your Atlas map to make sure that there isnt a weigh station that you'll be having to go through to get to that scale. For example. If I picked up in Destination A and the nearest scale to me is 60 miles away. Take a look at your atlas map and verify that there isn't a weight station between Destination A and the scale. You don't want to take a chance on passing that weight station with you being overweight. My #2 rule is never take chances. My #1 rule is safety first.

If you work at a large company then you'll be issued a card that can be used to pay for scales. The only time you'll pay for scales is when its a scale that only takes cash. Which is pretty rare. If you pay for it the company will reimburse you the following paycheck as soon as they get the reciept.

Generally, if you work at a medium to small company you'll have to pay for it always and then you'll get reimbursed on your paycheck. So either way, in the end, its not coming out of your pocket.

You want to aim for the C.A.T scales above all other scales. Simply because they are very accurate and they have their guarantee. In other words, they have your back.

C.A.T Scales

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Dave D. (Armyman)'s Comment
member avatar

It was my understanding that we were to take back roads and dodge D.O.T. scales.

Seriously, most truck stops will have a scale. Almost all Flying J/Pilot or TA/Petro truck stops will have a C.A.T. scale.

Dave

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

It was my understanding that we were to take back roads and dodge D.O.T. scales.

Seriously, most truck stops will have a scale. Almost all Flying J/Pilot or TA/Petro truck stops will have a C.A.T. scale.

Dave

Exactly. Anything you gotta do to save your own skin!

RedGator's Comment
member avatar

My company pays for one weigh and one reweigh. If you download my DAT trucker services app it will populate all the CAT scales. Some loads dont require weighing if its under 40000 and you know how to read your air suspension gage. Rule of thumb under 20000 8th whole, 20000 to 30000 7th whole 30000 to 40000 6th whole and 40000 5th whole works every time;) Except when they screw the loading. Thats why its important to know how they load your trailer and where its loaded too. Being with a company awhile you will learn your freight, shippers and how its loaded.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

CAT Scale:

A network of over 1,500 certified truck scales across the U.S. and Canada found primarily at truck stops. CAT scales are by far the most trustworthy scales out there.

In fact, CAT Scale offers an unconditional Guarantee:

“If you get an overweight fine from the state after our scale showed your legal, we will immediately check our scale. If our scale is wrong, we will reimburse you for the fine. If our scale is correct, a representative of CAT Scale Company will appear in court with the driver as a witness”

Cat Scales:

A network of over 1,500 certified truck scales across the U.S. and Canada found primarily at truck stops. CAT scales are by far the most trustworthy scales out there.

In fact, CAT Scale offers an unconditional Guarantee:

“If you get an overweight fine from the state after our scale showed your legal, we will immediately check our scale. If our scale is wrong, we will reimburse you for the fine. If our scale is correct, a representative of CAT Scale Company will appear in court with the driver as a witness”

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

My company pays for one weigh and one reweigh. If you download my DAT trucker services app it will populate all the CAT scales. Some loads dont require weighing if its under 40000 and you know how to read your air suspension gage. Rule of thumb under 20000 8th whole, 20000 to 30000 7th whole 30000 to 40000 6th whole and 40000 5th whole works every time;) Except when they screw the loading. Thats why its important to know how they load your trailer and where its loaded too. Being with a company awhile you will learn your freight, shippers and how its loaded.

I love that air suspension gauge. Learning how to read it really helps. I know when they overload my drives and know exactly when I'm at my maximum on the drives. I've never heard of the Rule of Thumb for loads under 40k though. Ill have to experiment with that when I go back out tomorrow, thanks!

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

CAT Scale:

A network of over 1,500 certified truck scales across the U.S. and Canada found primarily at truck stops. CAT scales are by far the most trustworthy scales out there.

In fact, CAT Scale offers an unconditional Guarantee:

“If you get an overweight fine from the state after our scale showed your legal, we will immediately check our scale. If our scale is wrong, we will reimburse you for the fine. If our scale is correct, a representative of CAT Scale Company will appear in court with the driver as a witness”

Cat Scales:

A network of over 1,500 certified truck scales across the U.S. and Canada found primarily at truck stops. CAT scales are by far the most trustworthy scales out there.

In fact, CAT Scale offers an unconditional Guarantee:

“If you get an overweight fine from the state after our scale showed your legal, we will immediately check our scale. If our scale is wrong, we will reimburse you for the fine. If our scale is correct, a representative of CAT Scale Company will appear in court with the driver as a witness”

Woody's Comment
member avatar

What do you do if you get 60 miles down the road and find out your over weight? I don't mean just needing to balance the weight, I mean over total weight?

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

What do you do if you get 60 miles down the road and find out your over weight? I don't mean just needing to balance the weight, I mean over total weight?

Let dispatch know ASAP. Give them all weights including gross weight and let them know your fuel level with that message. Then to back to the shipper and they'll break the seal and take just enough weight off to make you legal.

Try to make the steers legal and the drives legal. Aim for something like this:

steer axle is 11990 Drive axles are 33980 Trailer tandems are 34200

Gross- 80,170

That way they can just remove some weight from the back of the trailer. It wouldn't take long. They will remove about 220 pounds from only the trailer.

Don't come to them like this:

Steer axle is 11990 Drive axles are 34380 Trailer tandems are 33800.

Gross- 80,170

That will make it harder for them and you because they'll have to pretty much reload you from the front instead of just taking weight from the last pallet in the trailer like the above example.

I used to load 53' trailers with a forklift before trucking. So this is just a tip from someone who has worked at a shipper before and is a trucker now.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Woody's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Daniel, great info!

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Woody, it's a good question. It depends on the driver (and maybe the company also)as to how you resolve it. Some people will be creative in their route plan so as to avoid any scales (they are marked on your truckers atlas), some people will go back to the shipper and get them to unload some of it. My personal opinion is that it is best to go get some of it off-loaded.

Here's a couple of interesting true story scenarios for your entertainment and education:

Once I was overweight on my drive axles in a truck with a fixed fifth wheel so that I couldn't slide it. I don't remember the numbers anymore, but it wasn't real extremely overweight. I already knew what percentage of my fuel weight was being carried by my drive axles (thanks to Brett's Weights and Balance section in the High Road Training Program) So I calculated how far it was to the first set of scales and figured out that I would burn off enough fuel so that I was only going to be about 150 pounds over weight when I got to the scale. Sure enough, when I got there they waved me on through like it was no big deal - they probably didn't see that I was sweating like a fat man in a sauna until I knew I was OK. Then I burned most of my fuel off before I refueled and then I only put just enough in to get to my destination because I knew I had one more set of scales to cross. Same thing happened at the next scales - I was a tad over but it didn't seem to bother them either. I don't recommend playing with fire like that, but I was in a situation where I didn't have too many options.

Another time I was at a truck stop in Oklahoma and I see a guy having a heck of a time sliding his tandems and fifth wheel back and forth and going to get weighed again and again. He had two other people helping him, and after the third trip to the scale I see them all scratching their heads in frustration. So, deciding I will step in where only fools dare to tread, I approach the three and see if there might be anything I can do to help them out of their dilemma. They were glad to have my help since they couldn't seem to get their problem worked out. Poor rookies, it took all of thirty seconds to show them what was wrong. Their whole problem was that they were over on their gross weight! Once I explained to them that you could slide those tandems and that fifth wheel until the sun sets tonight and you'll still not get that problem straightened out, they kind of got that deer in the headlights look and sheepishly asked "well what do we do now?" It turns out they had loaded at a feed mill which was just down the road and I advised them to go get some of those sacks of feed taken off the load. They weren't even aware of that option.

Oh, I've got lots of stories to tell, and I'm just a rookie myself! That's one of the benefits to truck driving. When you are a grandpa, you can regale your grand kids with all your stories that your friends are bored of hearing.

Hope I didn't bore you Woody, but I've been sitting here waiting to get loaded for several hours so I'm a little bored myself so I just thought I's share a few of my stories with ya!

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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