The Trouble With Dry Weights

Whenever a manufacturer quotes the weight of their car, it's usually a dry weight. And that's a bit useless...

3y ago

Whenever I'm researching and gathering information about a car, I always make note of the weight. Stating the obvious, but weight is one of the critical statistics of cars. And given how much lard is packed into cars nowadays, the number can sometimes be quite high – despite the implementation of featherweight materials.

You have to be very careful when noting the weight of a car however, because the manufacturers are always pulling off a sneaky trick to try and make people think their cars are lighter than they actually are. They do this by only quoting the dry weight.

Just incase anyone isn't aware: a dry weight is measured when a car is bereft of fluids. After all, the amount of fluid in a car fluctuates; therefore, when the car is dry, its weight is a constant. Sounds reasonable – but it's all a load of bollocks!

Perhaps I'm not the only one who's exclaimed this - but what is the point of telling me how heavy a car is when it's not full of the liquids it needs to actually function as a car? To tell me that it's a bit easier to push than when I can actually jump in and drive it? It makes no sense to me! And what's worse is that a dry weight and a wet weight can often be massively different.

The LaFerrari's dry weight that was publicised when it was new was said to be 2767lbs (1255kg). But tests of the car when it's full of fluids have found that its wet weight is 3495lbs (1585kg). Not exactly a "little" bit heavier.

Sometimes, car makers are extremely reluctant to publish their car's wet weight. Sometimes, it can be the automotive equivalent of getting on the scales at WeightWatchers just after visiting an All-You-Can-Eat buffet.

Of course, we're now officially transitioning into the dawn of the electric age, which means dry weights will soon be a thing of the past – as cars won't require fluids to run! But in the here and now, I can't help but feel that dry weights are somewhat disingenuous.

I think at this point I'm obliged to say the words "rant over".

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Written by: Angelo Uccello

Twitter: @AngeloUccello

Tribe: Speed Machines

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Comments (10)

  • Curb weight is much more useful.

      3 years ago
  • Well, some manufacturers do so. Please note, that Porsche doesn‘t do that. They state „DIN leer“, which is with fluids, 90% full gastank, 75kg driver, tools,...

      3 years ago
    • Yes, some do - but I find it quite rare, personally. Trying to get wet weights out of some companies is like trying to get blood out of a stone.

        3 years ago
    • You are true. Only the curbweight is the real one, since that‘s the one you drive.

        3 years ago
  • how does the LaFerrari have 300kg of fluids?

      3 years ago
    • I know, it does seem quite extreme. The only explanation I can speculate is that the LaFerrari's dry weight was actually heavier than what Ferrari quoted.

        3 years ago
    • Does the electric motors or KERS system need any coolant fluids?

        3 years ago