Top 5 Factors That Affect Vehicle Scale Accuracy

Top 5 Factors That Affect Vehicle Scale Accuracy

A vehicle scale is often seen as a “necessary evil” or a “tool” within your business and not given much thought when they are working. Too often preventative maintenance decisions are made based upon the cost of an individual service call and not based on the total cost benefit to the company. The fact of the matter is, your scales are your cash registers. Having them operate in top working order is critical. This means ensuring they are accurate.  Therefore, it is important to know the top five factors that affect industrial scale accuracy.

1. Foundation Issues

Your foundation is what your scale sits on and if the scale base is not stable then the scale will shift. When the scale shifts, your calibration is affected, and you produce measurement errors. The bigger the error, the higher the potential loss of revenue.

2. Scale Approach Issues

Errors can occur in measurement if the scale approaches are slightly below the level of the scale bridge decks. When a truck approaches the scale, its front tire or subsequent tires can strike the leading edge of the scale bridge deck which pushes the scale. This can lead to the load cells not being perfectly in alignment vertically and this introduces error into the measurement.

3. Expansion & Contraction

With temperature changes your scales will expand and contract. During expansion and contraction, the load cells that are under the scale will more than likely no longer be perfectly aligned vertically. When this occurs, your scale requires adjusting and re-calibration. The rule of thumb is that you should have a scale inspection, adjustment and calibration one time for each season that you work in. If you work year-round, it is recommended that you have a scale company on site at least four times a year.

4. Poor Housekeeping

Too often we see measurement errors created because of poor house-keeping. If you want any device you own to work correctly and without issue, you need to take care of the device. Scales are no different. Here are some common examples of poor housekeeping:

  • Dirt, debris and mud around the load cells which does not allow the full load to deflect the load cells causing measurement errors
  • Moisture around the load cells and moving parts which if corrosion exists can cause accuracy issues
  • Snow pushed or piled around the outside edges of the scales. This leads to ice formation around the load cells and mechanical parts which introduces restriction of movement of the load cells and bridge decks
  • Debris falling around the outside edges of the scale between the foundation or pit walls. This restricts the movement of the scale and introduces binding.
  • Moisture ingress into the electrical enclosures. Water and electricity do not mix and can even affect the signal output from the scale to the indicator

5. Usage

The more you use your scale the more that you need to maintain it. Compare this to your car. The more kilometers that you travel, the more oil changes you need. Failure to do so can cause issues with your vehicle’s operation. This is also the case with your scale. The more it is used, the more it must be maintained and calibrated.

Concerned you may have some inaccurate scales? Submit a request for a quote to get your scale serviced, or calibrated. Have questions about purchasing or servicing a vehicle scale? Contact one of our scale experts at, or call 1-800-831-5657 8:00 am to 4:30 pm MST.

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