Dry weight is the weight of a vehicle without any consumables, passengers, or cargo. It is significantly less than the weight of a vehicle in a driveable condition and therefore rarely used. Quoting a dry weight can make a car’s weight and power-to-weight figures appear far more favorable than those of rival cars using curb weight.
Fluids in a car include the following:
- Gasoline, diesel or any other fuel
- Engine oil
- Brake fluid
- Power steering fluid
- Transmission fluid
- Washer fluid
The difference between dry weight and curb weight depends on many variables such as the capacity of the fuel tank. There is no standard for dry weight, so it's open to interpretations.
Over time, most domestic vehicle manufacturers have more commonly used the term 'shipping weight', which refers to the vehicle in as-built, no-option condition. This would include engine oil, coolant, brake fluid and at least some small quantity of fuel, as vehicles have traditionally been driven off the assembly line and these fluids were necessary to do so.
There is no standardized way to test the dry weight of a motorcycle. Inconsistencies will almost always be found between a motorcycle manufacturer's published dry weight and motorcycle press and media outlet's published dry weight. This is due to different testing techniques, differences in what is being excluded, and a lack of defining how testing was conducted by the organization doing the testing.
The dry weight of a spacecraft is the mass of the spacecraft without oxidiser, fuel or other consumables. It is not necessarily the same as burnout mass, as burnout mass may have residual propellant and consumables.