The Importance of Proper Trailer Weight Distribution
Proper trailer weight distribution is vital to both safe travel and the longevity of your trailer. Though this may seem inconsequential, any misbalancing could prove disastrous to both.
A trailer acts like a lever, with its tongue as the pivot point or fulcrum. As with balancing kids on seesaws at playgrounds, balance should be struck between tongue weight and balance of cargo loads on board.
When it comes to trailer weight distribution, proper distribution is paramount. Tongue weight, or the downward force on the trailer hitch ball, should comprise 10-15% of the total gross trailer weight (GTW). Otherwise, swaying may occur during driving making controlling it challenging – particularly turning and breaking.
When loading a trailer, heavy items should be secured first before lighter cargo can be added around them and secured with straps. Ideally, 60% of the load should sit ahead of the axle while 40% behind for proper weight distribution and reduced trailer sway.
If you are towing a trailer load, another key consideration when distributing its load should be the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of your tow vehicle. This number indicates the maximum allowable cargo weight a loaded tow vehicle and trailer combination can safely operate under. This information is typically listed on its manufacturer’s VIN label.
GVWR of towing vehicle and trailer combinations is crucial as it dictates how much cargo can be hauled at one time and affects how well a trailer performs over long distances. Even shorter trips can be affected by its weight, so before hitting the road, it’s advisable to weigh both your vehicle and trailer to prevent potentially hazardous situations from arising – for instance, when reverse parking, dealing with sudden gusts of wind, or needing to make quick emergency maneuvers are required.
20% Tongue Weight is Too Much
Tongue weight refers to a trailer’s downward force on your truck hitch ball. An ideal tongue weight should fall between 10-15% of your trailer’s total loaded weight; excessive amounts can press on the rear tires of your vehicle, causing extreme handling problems and damage to its rear suspension system.
However, if your tongue weight is too light, your trailer could rise up behind your truck and create side-to-side sway (known as fishtailing). This can be hazardous to both driver and passengers because it hinders control over the vehicle.
To accurately measure tongue weight, head to a certified scale and drive your tow vehicle across it. Once uncoupling, unhooking, and weighing the trailer individually, subtract tongue weight from gross trailer weight to determine payload capacity.
Subtract each axle’s weight when calculating your trailer’s total weight. Finally, multiply that number of axles by the tongue weight to get your pin weight; this number should appear on your trailer label.
Your truck and trailer work together as an ingenious lever system, with axles serving as pivot points of this lever system. They work best when all weight is concentrated evenly across the trailer’s middle – too much weight on either end can create dangerous seesaw-like situations in playgrounds, and too much on one or both ends could put unnecessary strain on tow vehicles and cause suspension problems.
What is Mandatory if the Gross Trailer Weight is 3500?
Ensure that the total weight of your trailer, including its cargo, falls within the maximum towing capacity of your tow vehicle. Exceeding this capacity could cause damage to both it and its tires and air pressure problems; fines can apply if caught at weigh stations.
To accurately determine your trailer’s gross weight, you must know its dry weight, payload capacity, and GVWR (maximum allowable cargo weight). You can locate this information on its VIN label or the owner’s manual; payload capacity can be determined by subtracting this figure from empty weight to determine how much cargo can fit inside.
Public scales provide another convenient method for weighing your trailer and tow vehicle. Drive to the scale in tandem and unhook both devices before raising their tongue so no weight is applied to the hitch ball receiver. Once unloaded, record both weights before subtracting one from the other to calculate gross trailer weight.
If your gross trailer weight exceeds your truck’s GCWR, redistributing the load so that more weight rests over the axle and less rests on the tongue will help ensure easy control and avoid high-speed swaying. A professional can assist in determining your trailer’s tongue weight.
How do I know if my trailer is too heavy?
Too heavy of a trailer tongue weight will push the rear of a towing vehicle down, limiting maneuverability and control by the driver. For maximum control and maximum efficiency when towing an RV with this weight on its tongue. A pickup may have no issue towing a smaller teardrop trailer with 20% tongue weight but would struggle with bigger RVs with this same amount on their tongue weight.
Tongue weight should comprise 10% to 15% of gross trailer weight (GTW) for light-to-medium duty trailers, depending on the cargo being carried inside them. Keep this in mind when loading up your trailer in order to prevent overloading and potentially dangerous situations from developing.
GTW can usually be found in your trailer owner’s manual or easily determined using public scales designed specifically for this purpose. Once you know this number, subtracting its value from the total trailer weight should give you your tongue weight figure.
Too low of tongue weight on a trailer can result in fishtailing, making turning and driving more difficult. Furthermore, the overloaded rear tires of the towing vehicle could make maneuvering through curves more challenging and may prevent quick stopping when pressing the brake pedal. Furthermore, an inadequate tongue weight could make controlling it when traveling at higher speeds or windy conditions more challenging.
Why does my trailer sway at high speeds?
Any number of factors may cause trailer sway. One such source may be improper distribution of load. To maintain proper balance in the trailer and reduce sway, follow the 60/40 rule when loading your trailer; 60% should go in front and 40% at the back to maintain balance and reduce sway. Also, use an appropriately weight-distributing hitch designed for your specific trailer model.
Wind can also contribute to trailer sway. Wind gusts often hit trailers harder than their tow vehicles because their surface area is larger. Uneven road surfaces can also play havoc with your trailer’s stability.
When your trailer sways while driving, it is important to resist the urge to stomp on its brake pedal immediately. Doing so could only compound the problem and may even cause your trailer to accelerate into your tow vehicle. Instead, maintain a steady drive while gradually decreasing speed; if necessary, you may manually apply its brakes to reduce it further.
One important thing to remember when using a trailer is its maximum weight limit, and it is vital that this limit not be exceeded.
Always consult the manufacturer’s specifications to determine precisely what your trailer weighs; using an effective weight-distributing hitch may become necessary when your trailer weighs more than confident thresholds compared with its towing vehicle. Additionally, regularly considering your trailer will help prevent overloading issues from developing over time.