Weight Distribution Hitches

Why Use a Weight Distribution Hitch?

Deciding whether or not to use a weight distributing hitch is all about the relationship of the gross weight to tongue weight. Gross weight is the total weight of the trailer, including cargo of any kind. Tongue weight is the portion of the trailer's weight that pushes down on the hitch (usually between 10 and 15 percent), plus the weight of the part of the tow vehicle to the rear of its back wheels. Cargo in the tow vehicles truck therefore increases the tongue weight. With a weight bearing hitch, the rear axle of the tow vehicle becomes a fulcrum; if the tongue weight is too high relative to the gross weight of the trailer, the tow vehicle will tilt like a seesaw. The back end dips down while the front while the front end lifts, taking some of the weight off the front wheels. Without enough weight on the front wheels, a truck cannot steer or brake effectively. If the tongue weight is too little in comparison to gross weight, the trailer will tend to swerve side to side. A weight distribution hitch shifts some of the weigh toff the tow vehicles rear wheels and on to the other axles of the tow vehicle and trailer so that this fulcrum effect does not happen. 

 

When Is a Weight Distribution Hitch Necessary?

For fairly light trailers, balancing tongue weight against gross weight is fairly easy, but for heavier trailers, the cost of a mistake simply becomes too high. If the trailer weights half of the tow vehicles weight or more, a weight distribution hitch is necessary. Fore some trailers, weight distribution may also be required by law. These hitches do not mean that the driver no longer has to keep the trailer balanced, nor do they increase the maximum weight a vehicle can pull. What weight distribution hitches do is make it safer to pull trailers close to the maximum weight. Not only is handling improved significantly, but the vehicles axles have a weight maximum. Since an ordinary hitch puts the tongue weight almost entirely on the tow vehicles rear axle, a heavy trailer might exceed the axle's weight limit. Distributing the weight between the axles lowers the weight each axle has to bear. Be aware, however, that not all trailer hitches are designed for weight distributing. If a hitch is not listed for weight distribution, a weight distribution system cannot be added. 

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