Can You Use Any CAT Scale for Overweight Trucks?


CAT Scale is the largest provider of truck scales globally. CAT Scale installed its first truck scale in South Holland, Illinois in 1977. Since then, CAT Scale has grown to provide professional weigh station services at over 2,200 locations across the United States and Canada.

CAT Scale truck scales are designed specifically to provide accurate weights for tractor trailers, straight trucks, and other commercial vehicles. Drivers can weigh their loaded or empty trucks and trailers to ensure they are under federal and state weight limits before continuing their route.

Weighing at CAT Scales provides crucial weight data to truck drivers and fleet owners for safety, compliance, and optimization purposes.

What is a CAT Scale?

CAT Scale is a network of over 3,500 certified truck scales across the United States and Canada. The scales are owned and operated by independent travel plazas, truck stops, and grain elevators. CAT stands for Certified Automotive Transport, which refers to the origins of the CAT Scale Company.

CAT Scale was founded in 1953 by Richard Sturgeon to address the need for accurate, certified weights in the trucking industry. At the time, truck drivers were getting fined or turned away at their destination due to being overweight. This was often due to inaccurate scales or inconsistent weighing procedures across different locations.

Sturgeon pioneered the ‘weigh and go’ system that CAT Scales are known for today. His scales were fast, easy to use, and provided a weight certificate as proof for drivers. This brought consistency and reliability to truck weight measurements, helping drivers avoid fines. The CAT Scale network grew rapidly as drivers sought out certified scales they could trust.

Today, CAT Scale Company is the largest truck scale network in the world. The scales are built and calibrated to precise specifications for consistency across all locations. Each scale site is independently owned, but connected through the CAT corporate system for certification, support and scale software.


Where are CAT Scales Located?

CAT Scales are primarily located at truck stops, travel centers, and rest areas across the United States and Canada. Some of the most common places to find CAT Scales include:

  • Love’s Travel Stops – With over 550 locations across 41 states, Love’s is one of the largest chains with CAT Scale availability. You can often find them near the fuel islands.
  • Pilot Flying J – Another major travel center chain, Pilot Flying J has nearly 800 locations and many have on-site CAT Scales.
  • TA, Petro, and TravelCenters of America – These truck stop chains have hundreds of locations combined, most with CAT Scales.
  • Rest areas – Many rest areas along major interstates offer CAT Scales, like those along I-40, I-75, I-80, and I-90.
  • Truck stops like Bosselman, Sapp Bros, and Texan – Although smaller chains, many of their locations offer CAT Scale weighing.

CAT Scale locators are available online and via mobile apps to find nearby certified scales. Given the sheer number of truck stops and travel centers that host them, CAT Scales are readily accessible for most over-the-road truckers and RV owners across the United States and Canada.

Are all CAT Scales the Same?

All CAT Scales have a standardized design and calibration to ensure consistency and accuracy across locations. CAT Scales are engineered and manufactured at the company’s headquarters in Havre, Montana before being shipped and installed at certified sites across North America.

Every CAT Scale platform is 80 feet long and uses electronic load cell technology to provide precise weights within 20 pounds. The scales are carefully calibrated and certified on a regular basis to guarantee reliability.

CAT Scale’s uniform specifications allow truck drivers to be confident that they will get the same highly accurate readings no matter which certified location they use. The consistent platform size also makes it easy for truckers to position their vehicles correctly on any CAT Scale site. This standardized approach is key to CAT Scale’s reputation as the most trusted name in truck scales.


Why Truckers Use CAT Scales

Professional truck drivers use CAT Scales for a variety of important reasons. The most common reasons include:

To monitor weight and avoid fines – Exceeding legal weight limits can result in hefty fines and penalties. Weighing on a certified CAT Scale helps truckers precisely monitor their gross vehicle weight and axle weights to ensure they are within the legal limits.

According to CAT Scale Company, their truck scales allow drivers to maximize payloads while avoiding overweight violations. Fines for overweight trucks can be very costly, so monitoring weight is critical.

To maximize payloads – By weighing their vehicle, truckers can determine how close they are to the legal weight limits. This allows them to maximize their payload and optimize their load without going over the limit.

For paperwork and compliance – Certain loads, such as hazardous materials, require documented proof of weight. CAT Scale weigh tickets provide the necessary paperwork to prove compliance.

Tips for Weighing Your Vehicle

When preparing to weigh your vehicle at a CAT scale, there are a few tips to follow in order to get the most accurate reading:

Remove any excess or unnecessary weight from the vehicle before weighing. This includes unloading cargo, draining tanks, and removing heavy items. The lighter the vehicle, the more precise the weight readings will be. According to Weigh My Truck – CAT Scale, you’ll want to make sure you have under 100 gallons of fuel and empty grey and black tanks.

Center the vehicle as much as possible when positioning on the scale. Place the front axle of a tractor 12-18 inches onto the scale. For other vehicles, focus on keeping it centered between the scales. Proper positioning is crucial for ensuring weight is properly distributed across all axles, according to CAT Scale.

Following these simple tips will help obtain the most accurate weight readings when using a CAT scale.

Membership and Payment Options

CAT Scale offers several options for drivers to pay and weigh their trucks. The most popular is the CAT Scale Club, which provides unlimited weighing for a monthly or annual membership fee. Members can weigh as often as needed at any CAT Scale location without paying per weigh. Membership starts at $16 per month when paid annually.

For casual users, CAT Scales accept major credit cards and cash at the scale. Drivers simply weigh their truck and then proceed to the payment kiosk to pay. CAT Scale recently added the option to pay via the Weigh My Truck mobile app, allowing drivers to quickly weigh and pay without visiting the payment kiosk.

The Weigh My Truck app also accepts Comdata payments, providing another electronic payment option for fleets with Comdata cards. The app allows drivers to weigh, get a weight ticket, and pay all from their mobile device for added convenience.

Between the CAT Scale Club, credit card and cash payments, and the Weigh My Truck mobile app, CAT Scale aims to provide fast and convenient payment options to meet every driver’s needs.

Weight Restrictions and Regulations

Trucks in the United States must comply with federal and state weight limits for gross vehicle weight as well as axle weights. These limits help preserve road infrastructure and promote safety.

Under federal law, the maximum gross vehicle weight limit on interstates is 80,000 pounds [1]. For individual axles, the federal weight limits are:

  • Single axle: 20,000 pounds
  • Tandem axle: 34,000 pounds
  • Tridem axle: 42,500 pounds

States can set higher gross vehicle weight limits on state highways, up to a maximum of 129,000 pounds. For example, some states allow higher weights on subsets of state roads or with special permits [2]. However, the federal bridge formula still applies to axle weight limits.

Knowing your vehicle’s weight at both the gross and axle levels is crucial for complying with regulations and avoiding steep fines for overweight loads.

Benefits of Weighing at CAT Scales

There are major benefits to weighing your truck at a CAT Scale location. The most important reason is to avoid fines for overweight vehicles. According to, truck drivers and fleets that utilize CAT Scales can ensure they are within legal weight restrictions and avoid thousands of dollars in overweight fines and penalties. Overweight violations can lead to citations, out-of-service orders, and costly delays.

Weighing at CAT Scales also promotes safety on the roads. Overloaded trucks are more difficult to control and brake, increasing the risk of accidents. Proper weighing allows drivers to adjust axle weights and loading distribution to bring the vehicle within safe operating limits. By catching overweight issues before hitting the highway, CAT Scale weighings enhance safety for all vehicles sharing the road.

Additionally, regular weighings enable optimization of payload weight and planning of the most efficient routes. As operators know their precise cargo weights, they can maximize loads and hauls to improve their bottom line. Monitoring weights over time also helps identify trends and issues. Overall, the reliable data from CAT Scale weighings provides invaluable insights for transportation businesses and owner-operators alike.

Find Your Nearest CAT Scale

CAT Scales makes it easy to find a truck scale location near you. They offer several options to locate CAT certified scales:

  • Use the CAT Scale Locator map at Zoom in and click on map pins to see details and directions.
  • Search by city, state, zip code or route using the locator search bar.
  • Download the CAT Scale Locator app for iOS or Android to search and navigate from your phone.
  • Call CAT Scale Customer Service at 877-228-7877 for personalized assistance in finding a scale.

The locator map and app make it easy to find CAT certified truck scales along your route. Simply enter your destination and it will map out CAT Scale locations along the way. This ensures drivers can easily weigh their loads and avoid any issues with weight compliance.

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