Weigh Your Rig. Can You Use a CAT Scale to Weigh Your Truck?

What is a CAT Scale?

CAT Scale is a network of certified truck scales located across North America that provides certified weight tickets for commercial trucks, trailers, and other vehicles. The company was founded in 1977 by Richard Temblador Sr., who saw the need for consistent and reliable truck scale services across the country.

According to the CAT Scale website, CAT Scale’s certified truck scales revolutionized trucking when they were first introduced. For the first time, truck drivers had access to scales that could weigh their entire truck and trailer unit all at once. This helped drivers remain compliant with federal bridge laws and weight limits.

Today, CAT Scale has over 1,500 locations across the United States and Canada. Truck drivers can locate CAT Scale stations along their route using the company’s scale locator tool online or via mobile app. When a truck driver weighs at a CAT Scale, they receive a certified weight ticket that documents their legal gross, axle, and bridge formula weights.

In addition to providing certified weight tickets, CAT Scale also offers prepaid fuel cards, weigh-in-motion scales, on-site security, and other services for trucking companies and commercial carriers. The company continues to expand across North America, with the goal of giving every trucker easy access to certified scales.

Why truckers use CAT Scales

Truckers use CAT Scales for several key reasons:

To get accurate weights before loading or unloading. Knowing your truck’s precise weight allows you to maximize your payload while staying within legal weight limits. CAT Scales are certified scales that provide reliable weights.

To avoid overweight fines. Exceeding weight limits can lead to costly citations and penalties. By weighing your rig at a CAT Scale before loading, you can prevent overloading.

To optimize payload. Accurate weights help determine exactly how much cargo you can legally and safely haul. This allows maximizing profitability through efficient payload management.

CAT Scales are located at truck stops and travel centers across the U.S. and Canada. With over 1,600 locations, truckers can easily weigh their rigs throughout their route.

What trucks can use CAT Scales?

CAT Scales can weigh a wide variety of trucks, including:

Pickups, vans, lighter trucks – CAT Scales are designed to handle anything from small pickups to box trucks, utility vans, and other lighter commercial vehicles. As long as the vehicle has dual rear axles and can fit on the scale, CAT Scales can provide an accurate weight.

18-wheelers, tractor trailers – CAT Scales are especially popular among truckers driving heavy-duty, long-haul equipment. The scales are built sturdy enough for even the largest rigs, including tractor trailers, 18-wheelers, and other heavy commercial vehicles.

Specialized equipment – In addition to standard trucks, CAT Scales can also weigh specialized equipment like dump trucks, tow trucks, tankers, flatbeds, car haulers, concrete mixers, and more. The scales can handle a loaded weight up to 100,000 pounds.

So whether you drive a light pickup or a fully loaded big rig, CAT Scales has a weighing solution. Check the CAT Scale Locator to find a scale near you.

What to expect at a CAT Scale?

When approaching a CAT Scale location, you’ll see signage and instructions on where to drive and position your truck. CAT Scales have specialized paved approaches designed to accommodate even the longest vehicles and multiple trailer configurations.

The weighing process begins at the scale house. An attendant will guide you onto the scale sensors and ensure you are properly positioned for an accurate weight reading. CAT Scales uses highly sensitive load cell scales to weigh your truck axle by axle.

There are a few different methods CAT Scales uses to weigh trucks:

  • Single draft weighing – your entire truck is weighed at once on a single scale
  • Multiple platform weighing – tractor and trailer axles are weighed separately on different platforms for gross combination weight
  • Axle weighing – each axle is weighed individually, providing axle group weights

Once the weighing is complete, the scale house attendant will print your weight ticket with all the measurement details. This includes axle weights, gross vehicle weight, and net payload weight.

For example: https://catscale.com/how-to-weigh/

Getting Weighed

When getting weighed at a CAT Scale, it’s important to properly position your truck on the scale. For trucks with a standard trailer, all three axles (steering axle, drive axles, and trailer axles) should be centered on the scale platform. According to Catscale.com, this allows the scale to capture the weight of each axle.

CAT Scales are designed to weigh multiple axles individually. The scale will provide weight readings for each axle group – steer axle, drive axles, and trailer axles. This allows you to see the weight distribution across your truck and identify any issues with overload on specific axles.

In addition to the individual axle weights, the scale will also provide your truck’s gross vehicle weight (GVW). This is the combined weight of the vehicle and cargo. Knowing your GVW is critical for ensuring you are legally loaded and not exceeding your vehicle’s weight capacity.

Properly positioning on the scale and reading the individual and total weight measurements will provide you with the information needed to weigh your truck accurately and legally.

Understanding your weight ticket

A CAT scale weight ticket contains detailed information about your truck’s weight measurements. Key details include:

Date, time and location – The top of the weight ticket shows the date and time you had your truck weighed, along with the location of the scale. This provides proof of when and where the weighing occurred.

Individual and total axle weights – The weight ticket lists the weight measured on each individual axle of your truck, trailer, or other vehicle configuration. It also shows the total weight for each axle group. This helps you ensure your axle and axle group weights are within legal limits.

Gross vehicle and cargo weights – Two key totals are printed on CAT scale tickets. Gross vehicle weight (GVW) is the total weight of your truck plus any cargo. Gross combination weight (GCW) includes the truck, trailer, and cargo. Knowing these weights ensures you aren’t overloaded.

Understanding how to read your CAT scale ticket is important for both legal and safety reasons. The detailed measurements help you optimize your load while staying within regulations.

Cost to use CAT Scales

CAT Scales typically charge around $13.50 for the first weigh and $4 for a reweigh within 24 hours at the same location (Source: https://weighmytruck.com/how-to-use/driver-faq). Some locations may charge slightly more or less. There are no membership fees or additional charges to use CAT Scales.

CAT Scales offers a reweigh discount program called Weigh My Truck that allows unlimited reweighs within 24 hours for a flat $25 fee (Source: https://catscale.com/contact-us/faq/). This can save money for truckers who need to reweigh multiple times in a day.

The maximum cost per 24 hour period at a single CAT Scale location is around $21.50 for a first weigh and unlimited reweighs. Additional fees may apply for printed tickets, electronic capture of license plate photos, and weighments over 80,000 lbs gross vehicle weight (Sources: https://fifthwheelst.com/weighing-guide.html, https://catscale.com/contact-us/faq/).

Alternatives to CAT Scales

Though CAT Scales are a popular and reliable option, truckers have several alternatives for weighing their vehicles:

Public Truck Scales

Public truck scales, also called platform scales or weighbridges, are permanently installed at truck stops, warehouses, and other facilities. Truckers can pull onto these scales to get a complete vehicle weight. Public scales allow weighing a full truck and trailer combination, though some have weight or size restrictions. While public scales can provide an accurate weight, the process takes more time since you must drive to a scale location and wait in line during busy times (Crossco).

Portable Scales

Portable truck scales offer flexible weighing capabilities on-site. Portable scales use modular platforms to create a temporary full-length scale. They can also weigh axles and wheel loads individually. Portable scales are useful for remote jobsites without permanent scales, though setup takes more effort. Weights may be slightly less accurate than fixed scales (American Scale).

Onboard Scales

Onboard scales use load cell sensors to estimate weight while the vehicle is in motion. They monitor and display weight on a screen inside the truck cab. Onboard scales provide real-time weight information without stopping, though they aren’t as precise as platform scales. Onboard scales are also more expensive initially (Intercomp).

Tips for weighing your truck

When getting ready to weigh your truck at a CAT scale, keep these tips in mind for a smooth process:

Prepare your vehicle beforehand by removing any extra items and ensuring your fuel level is ideal for weighing. This will provide the most accurate weight measurements. According to the CAT scale website, “Extra weight, such as unneeded cargo or tools, can affect your weight distribution and load balance” (https://catscale.com/how-to-weigh/).

Bring your weight ticket with you inside the scale house. The weight ticket has important information needed to log and track your vehicle’s weight. Having it ready will speed up the weighing process.

Watch your clearance when pulling onto the scale. CAT scales are built to accommodate large trucks, but very tall loads may need extra caution. Go slowly and be aware of height restrictions to avoid any issues.

Frequently asked questions

Truck drivers often have questions about using CAT Scales. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:

What payment methods are accepted at CAT Scales?

CAT Scales accepts all major credit cards including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. Many locations also accept cash payments. Some scales have self-service kiosks that only accept credit card payments. Check with your specific CAT Scale location to confirm which payment methods they accept.

What is the reweigh policy at CAT Scales?

CAT Scale offers a reweigh policy within 24 hours at the same scale location. This allows truckers to reweigh their vehicle if they get different weight readings that could result in a fine. The reweigh must occur within 24 hours and be at the same CAT Scale location to qualify under the reweigh policy. This provides reassurance to truckers that the scales are calibrated properly. See CAT’s reweigh policy for full details.

What should I do if there’s a discrepancy in my weights?

If there is a major discrepancy between your CAT Scale weight ticket and a fine you receive, contact CAT Scale customer support right away. CAT Scale offers a guarantee that if you receive an overweight fine after their scale showed you were legal, they will reimburse your fine. Be sure to contact them promptly and provide documentation. Minor variations in weight are normal, but major discrepancies could indicate an issue with a scale. CAT Scale aims to resolve any errors quickly and fairly.

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