Tags – How to Weigh a Lorry

Did you know, the word lorry originates from the verb “lurry”, which means to lug or pull about. 

Sometimes people who are not in the industry get confused between the terms lorry and truck, but the truth is that both terms are acceptable.

Truck is typically used in American contexts whereas lorry is more common in the UK – both are classed as HGV vehicles. (Anything over 3.5 tonnes is classed as a HGV).

Regardless of what you call it, knowing how to weigh them is important to make sure you adhere to road laws and avoid penalties from overloading.

Luckily, there are a few options available when it comes to weighing a lorry. Let’s cover this in more detail.


Why Should You Weigh a Lorry?

Overloaded lorries can cause some damage and create problems you may not have even thought of.

Consequently, a lorry that has exceeded its weight limit and goes onto the roads increases the risk of accidents and destroys road surfaces.

The reason being, is that an overloaded lorry becomes unstable, particularly when the weight has not been evenly distributed. 

And, the more weight a vehicle has, the longer it needs to stop, it’s more likely to overspeed when driving down a hill and cause congestion due to slower speeds. In the event of a crash, the damage can be fatal.

Furthermore, an overloaded lorry reduces tyre tread a lot quicker, which can result in tyres overheating and thus increases the risk of tyre blowout.

Hence, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) are now enforcing harsh penalties on businesses who are not compliant with current legislation. Penalties are based on each axle point and depends on the excess weight, but is usually a fine of £5000 per axle. As some lorries have up to 6 axle points, these fines can rack up to a hefty £30,000, and that’s not including court fees, transportation costs and other insurance premiums!


How Do You Weigh a Lorry?

As it stands, there are two ways you can directly weigh a lorry: weighbridges or axle weigh pads.

But, there is always the option of weighing cargo prior to loading which can be done through pallet truck scales or platform scales.

It’s worth noting here, a lorry can be overloaded on all its axles, gross weight or trail weight, which would all be considered as separate offences. For instance, if a lorry was overloaded on 2 axles and its gross weight, this would result in 3 different fines.

Typically, weight limits are stated on the manufacturer’s plate and are determined by the technical specification of the lorry.



Weighbridges are huge platforms that a lorry can drive onto a park to be weighed.

They’re an ideal solution for measuring lorries because of its robust design and the ability to choose between pit and surface mounted variants, depending on preference or intended use.

And it calculates the exact load as the lorry is weighed when empty and loaded, which is common in applications where the net weight of lorries is used to determine the price of product, tax and other financial metrics.

On the plus side, having a weighbridge onsite is the easiest way to ensure your lorry is complying to regulations and avoid overloading it.

But on the other hand, weighbridges require significant space which is not always available, and they can be quite costly.


Axle Weigh Pads

As the name suggests, axle weigh pads are used to record the weight imposed on each of the lorry’s axles.

And this is great to determine whether there are any balancing issues that need to be corrected, or highlight any signs of wear and tear to avoid potential risks on the road and adhere to legislation.

For instance, overloading on one particular axle can make it hard to manoeuvre the lorry which could result in a crash in serious cases.

In terms of design, axle weigh pads are lightweight and portable, giving them the attractive benefit of being easily transported with the lorry, meaning it can be weighed anywhere, at any time.

In addition, they’re more cost effective than installing a weighbridge and arguably provides more accurate readings; weighbridges determine the gross weight but axle weigh pads can calculate the total weight of each axle.


Contact us today for more information.

In the meantime take a look at our Vehicle Weight Checker solutions.


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  3. Choosing the Right Axle Weighing Solution for your Business