|Towing can be fun and easy!|
Towing a fifth wheel or trailer can be a trial and seemingly minor details such as adding just a couple hundred pounds can make a huge difference in vehicle and trailer stability. Although many of you already know a lot of information about weight distribution systems, the different types of hitches available and more, it’s always good getting back to the basics for a refresher. For those who are new to the towing and hitching world it will be a good starting off point.
|Make sure you know your tongue and towing weight|
Hitches are rated in two different ways. Towing and tongue weight. Towing capacity is the gross weight (GTW) that can be towed by the hitch. Tongue weight is the downward force or weight that the tongue of the trailer applies to the hitch of the tow vehicle (the tongue weight is considered part of the vehicles Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), but the entire weight of the trailer is not).
The number one cause of hitch failure is due to exceeding tongue weight so it’s best to know exactly what that is. Calculating tongue weight can be tricky, but here is where you can find a step-by-step guide of how to measure tongue weight, the best rules to go by are 10% of your towing capacity. So, if your car can tow 2,000 lbs. then you will have around 200 lbs. of tongue weight.
*Different Classes of Hitches-
|The different classes of towing hitches|
By towing safely and staying within your weight capacities and hitch classes you will prevent many problems including trailer hitch failure, loss of control due to rear suspension stress, weakening of brake system due to weight being overloaded and more.
After your weight is properly distributed then it’s good to think of how you can fine tune towing a trailer. Typically, trailer sway can be a problem if the trailer balance or hitch adjustment are not correct but it is still recommended to use a sway-control device even if a trailer is well-balanced with a properly adjusted hitch. Sway-control hitches and devices are available in two different configurations: one with a steel bar attached to the ball mount and the other makes the tow vehicle and trailer act as a single unit with no pivoting of the coupler unless the tow vehicle turns.
|Equalizer Weight Distribution Hitch|
At Torklift Central, we carry the Eaz-Lift Sway Control bar which is the bar-style sway control. It works with a weight distributing hitch as well as an independent friction-style sway control. Typically for trailers that are 26ft or longer it is suggested to use two sway control units for more safety.
While the addition of the Eaz-Lift Sway Control on your weight distribution will help reduce sway, we recommend using Equalizer’s weight distributing hitches that have 4-point sway control built into the system. With great features and rigid enough to combat trailer sway, the Equalizer weight distribution system is a good way to make sure you stay safe while towing and hauling.
|The SuperHitch Everest weight distribution hitch|
Weight distributing hitches should be used in many weight situations of Class II and in most situations of Class III and heavy duty towing. These hitches typically use heavier ball mounts as well as spring bars that provide the leverage needed to distribute weight at the front and end. In general, a weight distributing hitch will improve stability in most situations because the weight rests on the ball mount and connects the tow vehicle and trailer like a bridge. Setting up weight distribution isn’t too difficult and will just take a few measurements and basic tools. Here’s a step-by-step process of how to set up a weight distribution hitch.
*Ball Mounts: For safe and comfortable towing, the trailer should always be as level as it possibly can. Because trailer and vehicle heights often differ, ball mounts are the best way to go when it comes to raising or lowering your trailer. There are 5 different classes of ball mounts that correspond with each of the hitch classes and should be used with their matching number.
Don’t forget, the keys to happy towing are proper hitch-ball height and proper tension on the spring bars. When all aspects are correct, the towing vehicle and trailer are at proper ride heights making it so you have an easier time towing. Make sure you Get Out and Go trailer hitch and towing safely – contact us today for your entire receiver hitch and towing accessory needs at: