Just because the weight of your fully loaded trailer is within your vehicle manufacturer’s tow weight ratings doesn’t mean you are safe to head down the road. Measuring your trailer tongue weight is the only way to ensure the load is properly distributed between the connection point of your tow vehicle and trailer.
Having too much or too little tongue weight can cause severe damage to your trailer, vehicle, and makes for unsafe travel at all speeds. Fortunately measuring and adjusting your tongue weight is a simple process that will help keep you safe with a few easy calculations.
Contact Torklift Central today to check your trailer’s tongue weight for free!
“I can’t tell you how many people come to our facility thinking their trailer is safe to head down the road only to find out it’s not,” said Torklift Central General Manager, Matt Lynch. “More often than not their tongue weight is at an unsafe level and they never would have suspected it if we hadn’t shown them on our scale.”
As a full service hitch and tow facility Torklift Central uses industry standard trailer tongue weight scales to accurately measure trailer tongue weights.
Proper trailer tongue weight
To calculate your proper trailer tongue weight you first need to know your trailer’s gross trailer weight (GTW) – the weight of your trailer when fully loaded with everything you plan on hauling.
Proper tongue weight should fall within 10-15 percent of your gross trailer weight. For example, if your trailer’s GTW is 3,000 pounds your tongue weight should range from 300 pounds to 450 pounds.
“We had a customer bring his race car trailer to us,” said Lynch, “He knew that the fully loaded trailer was within his truck’s weight ratings, but because he had two spare engines stored at the front of the trailer we found his tongue weight was far too heavy. We gave him a hand moving the engines back on the trailer and he made it to the track safe and sound.”
Simply adjusting the load of your trailer either toward or away from your tow vehicle until your tongue weight falls into the 10 percent to 15 percent range of your trailer’s GTW is the easy solution to achieving proper tongue weight.
Risks of improper tongue weight
Having too little or too much tongue weight is equally dangerous. If the tongue of the trailer is too light, trailer sway could result where the trailer wanders side-to-side within its lane, jerking dangerously on the tow vehicle.
If tongue weight is too heavy, weight is taken off the tow vehicle’s front tires inhibiting proper steering, safe braking and aiming the headlights upward and away from their normal levels.
In either case, the unbalanced load on the tongue can bounce up and down causing the whole rig to seesaw. Damage to your suspension, frame, trailer hitch and accidents can all occur as a result.
Even with proper tongue weight calibration, certain accessories are necessary for your vehicle to safely distribute the added tongue weight of a trailer.
Torklift International’s StableLoads reduce and eliminate suspension sag, side-to-side sway and body roll. By "pre-activating" the stabilizing effect designed for rear springs by keeping them actively under load the way your vehicle factory engineers designed them to operate, StableLoads are the most affordable and effective suspension upgrade you can make.
Weight distribution systems help maintain proper tongue weight and eliminate side-to-side sway when your rig is traveling at higher speeds. These systems available from Torklift Central are designed to keep your trailer’s load evenly distributed after a proper tongue weight rating is achieved.
“It’s easy for many folks to misinterpret their trailer manufacturer’s maximum tongue weight ratings,” said Lynch. “Often times the brochures and materials they receive from the trailer manufacturer list tongue weight ratings that are generic to a certain type of trailer. In many cases these ratings don’t take into account variances and options within a trailer model line that a customer might have on their trailer.”
Our technicians weigh your tongue weight to uncover if an accessory such as a weight distribution system is necessary to keep you safe.
For our complete line of tow system accessories visit our trailer center online.
A trailer tongue weight weighing is crucial to safe trailering. Stop by Torklift Central today to see if your trailer is on the level.