Is your BMI too big for your BMW?

When you head to the car dealership to look for that new car, don’t forget to investigate the maximum weight – passengers and cargo — that the vehicle you are looking at can safely carry.  You can run into weight issues in all different sizes of vehicles, vans to two-seaters.  

You may be surprised to find that your car carries a GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) and that your family may be exceeding that weight rating just by jumping in and driving down the block.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 2004 states that the average weight for men is 190 lbs. and the average for women is 163 lbs.  But auto manufacturers use 150 lbs. as the average adult weight when designing cars.  So what is the weight capacity for your vehicle?  Here’s how you find out.

On all 2006 and newer vehicles the weight limitations are labeled on the driver’s side door frame.  Look for the “Tire and Loading Information” sticker.  For my car, a 2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue, the sticker was on the inside of my trunk lid.  You can also take the GVWR number (found on the driver’s door post) and subtract from that the net weight of your vehicle (usually found in the owner’s manual).  Your result will be the maximum weight in passengers and cargo that you can safely carry.

When you overload your vehicle you are creating a safety hazard.  Your frame, suspension, brakes and tires are not designed for weights above the manufacturers rating.  You also increase the maintenance cost for your vehicle.  Everything wears out faster when you overstress your car.



Car Type    

 # of Passengers                                  

Max Weight (passengers & cargo)

Dodge Grand Caravan


Ford Mustang


Honda Accord 4 Door


Lincoln Navigator


Mazda MX5


Scion xB


Toyota Highlander


Oldsmobile Intrigue




Are you too big for your car?  Do some investigation it will help you be safe on the road.


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