Axle weighing is a method of measuring a vehicle’s weight and one which should not be overlooked.
This form of weighing is completed through the use of purpose-built axle pads which target a specific area of the vehicle and identify the impact felt by the surface it is being driven on.
So why is using a high quality axle pad important for your vehicle?
1. Avoid Penalties
Exceeding your vehicles maximum axle weight is a punishable offence and can result in substantial financial penalties depending on your circumstances.
The table below displays a brief overview of these charges:
5% - 10%
10% - 15%
15% to 20%
It should be noted that vehicles are given a 5% margin of error in which a punishment will not be issued however, if this difference exceeds more than one tonne, you may incur a charge.
These restrictions are put in place not only to regulate the weight of commercial vehicles but, also, to prevent unbalanced vehicles from causing undue stress on road surfaces.
As a result, it is paramount to ensure company vehicles comply with their predefined maximum weights in order to avoid incurring penalties and this can be done by using an axle pad.
Commercial vehicles such a vans, lorries and coaches can be stopped by both the police and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) – formally known as the VOSA - who will then carry out relevant checks to identify whether or not your vehicle is compliant.
2. Damage to Road Surfaces
One of the main reasons to avoid unbalanced axle weight on all vehicles is to prevent damage to roads.
This is especially true for commercial vehicles which typically carry much heavier loads than their consumer counterparts.
One aspect of engineering road structures involves their tolerance to pressure. Because of this, vehicles are manufactured with specific maximum axle weights which should not be exceeded.
Even during optimum loads, large vehicles are known to be more harmful to roads simply due to their weight.
Research suggests the effects of an 18-wheeler (assumed to weigh 36287.39 kg) on a road surface is equal to 9,600 regular cars weighing an average of 1814.369 kg pounds.
As a result, owners must ensure their vehicle is fully compliant with the manufacturer’s specification to prevent tax payer’s money from being spent on unnecessary road maintenance.
3. Damage to Your Vehicle
In addition to harming the road, overloading one or more axles can also cause damage to the vehicle itself.
Many of the components within large industrial vehicles are extremely durable and have high stress tolerances; however, these still have maximum thresholds which must be adhered to.
Without checking weight distribution on a regular basis, axles, drive shafts, tyres and many other parts can be damaged as a result of overloading.
This can entail numerous complications including the need for more frequent maintenance and even the complete replacement of specific components.
In addition, the driving experience itself can change considerably as a result of excessive payload.
For instance, when a truck exceeds its given weight restrictions, the steering and braking system can fail to function properly and this can make it much harder to control than normal.
4. Cost Savings
As a vehicle’s weight increases, it becomes much less economical as the engine requires more fuel to move at the same speed.
If the issue is not quickly addressed, a vehicle’s fuel consumption can become a large financial burden and can harm your company’s profit margins.
Furthermore, exceeding your vehicle’s maximum weight limits can also result in a voided insurance policy.
As with many aspects of commercial vehicles, insurance costs are considerably higher than consumer vehicles so it is crucial to comply with their eligibility criteria.
Ensuring your axles are checked frequently will help you to maximise the fuel economy of your vehicle and keep it in line with the conditions of its insurance policy.
5. Protecting Drivers
Overwhelming weight placed towards one side of the vehicle will naturally create an imbalanced load and, in extreme cases, this can prevent the rear wheels from making contact with the ground altogether.
Even when there is a less extreme distribution, a vehicle can easily become more susceptible to crashes due to hindered breaking capabilities and reduced stability.
Overweight vehicles have a longer stopping distance compared with those which comply with the manufacturer’s standards and, in certain circumstances; this can prove to be fatal.
These are a selection of the important benefits to performing regular vehicle checks using an axle pad. Doing so will help to minimise the costs associated with your vehicles as well as protecting both the road and the drivers themselves.
Solent Scales is a leading supplier of industrial weighing equipment, including axle pads and weighbridges. We also offer a range of specialist scale services including hire, repair and professional calibration.