How Weight Distribution Systems Work
Anyone that has spent time towing large trailers, knows the intense feeling that happens when your trailer starts to sway and you don’t know if you can get it back under control. One way to help reduce this situation from happening is by using a weight distribution system for your trailer.
In order to understand how a weight distribution system works, it is first important to understand the difference between gross trailer weight (GTW) and tongue weight (TW).
Gross trailer weight is the total weight of the trailer, including fuel, cargo, and any additional weight that may be on the trailer.
Tongue weight is the vertical weight (usually between 10 & 15 percent of the gross trailer weight) that is far enough forward on the trailer that presses down on the hitch. TW also includes any weight that is behind the rear axle of the towing vehicle, so keep that in mind if you are loading up the back of your tow vehicle to prepare for a long trip.
Having too much tongue weight in relation to the gross trailer weight can cause the trailer hitch and the rear of the vehicle to dive or angle toward the ground while towing. This can cause the front end of the vehicle to lift up from the ground losing traction and creating a dangerous situation when you need to brake quickly.
Not enough tongue weight can also create a dangerous situation, making the trailer more prone to swaying back and forth at higher speeds.
As you can see, maintaining a good balance between tongue weight and gross trailer weight is very important when towing, and especially when towing large loads.
Weight distribution hitches can be a very useful tool to help solve this important towing issue. By distributing your trailer weight correctly, your vehicles ability to turn, brake, and maneuver is greatly improved.
A weight distribution system isn’t meant to increase the amount of weight a vehicle can tow, it is meant to improve the vehicles handling by distributing some of the weight off of the tongue of the trailer and onto other axles.
Another important safety tip to remember when towing, is to not exceed your vehicle or hitch’s maximum towing capacity. This ensures that your vehicle and hitch can handle the weight it will be towing.
Even with a weight distribution system you still need to be careful about your ratio between tongue weight and gross trailer weight, but having a weight distribution system is a great way to ease the situation by spreading some of that increased tongue weight off of the rear axle of the tow vehicle and onto the front axle.
Once you reach a certain gross trailer weight (typically when your trailer weighs more than 50 percent of the towing vehicles weight), you will want to consider a weight distribution hitch and in many states it’s required when you get above certain trailer weights.
When picking out a weight distribution system, there are some important factors to keep in mind including, knowing the trailer weight that you will be towing and making sure your system is rated high enough to tow that weight and can distribute the tongue weight of that trailer.
Another important factor to be aware of is making sure your trailer is level before attaching your weight distribution system. This is where a quality drop or rise hitch becomes very useful. BulletProof Hitches offers a convenient Weight Distribution Adaptor that allows you to use most weight distribution systems on the market with any BulletProof Hitch to ensure safe, strong, and level towing. Weight Distribution systems can also act as sway control, which can make towing at higher speeds safer and much smoother.
Just remember that finding the right set-up for your vehicle will make your towing experience much more enjoyable. Contact our team here at BulletProof Hitches to talk to a professional that can walk you through finding the right equipment for your towing needs. 941-251-8110