If you’re trying to figure out how to properly load your trailer, there are a few things you need to know.

A couple months ago we uploaded a video to our social media pages including our Youtube channel and in this video, we demonstrate what can happen if you are towing a load with improper tongue weight. We used a treadmill to do this demonstration as well as a small toy truck and trailer as there was no way to do a real life demonstration with how dangerous improper loading, balancing and tongue weight can be. 

Here is that video just in case you haven’t seen it:

This video has since received hundreds of thousands of views and comments and many of those comments are in regards to where the load is placed on the trailer. Comments like: 

 

“Most of the weight has to be over the front of the trailer and tongue.”

“I’ve always been told 60% of the weight on the nose and 40% on the tail.”

 “I always was told to keep the weight centered over the trailer axle, not in front or behind.”

 

We wanted to clarify and reiterate that a properly balanced trailer is NOT axle based but rather load distribution and tongue weight based. Although some of the comments we have received in regards to where the load should be based off of the axles are not completely wrong, it is important to understand that a properly balanced trailer is based off of load distribution and tongue weight. 

We have written other blog posts about properly loading and balancing your trailer (click here) as well as articles about tongue weight (click here) for further reference if you are wanting more information. These articles will give you great information on how to properly load/balance your trailer and why it is important to do so.

I wanted to write this article though because of all of these comments on our Youtube video. Yes, normally it is a good rule of thumb to load 60% of your weight towards the front of the trailer but it all just depends on what you are towing and it varies between each and every load. You should not load 60% of your weight onto the front of your trailer and call it good. You should be keeping your tongue weight of your trailer between 10-15% of your gross trailer weight..no more and no less. Sometimes loading 60% of your load onto the front of your trailer will exceed that 15% tongue weight range and is therefore more susceptible to impaired vehicle performance. 

how to properly load a trailer

Which is why it is important to know the weight of your load and trailer so that you can keep your tongue weight within that 10-15% range. Keeping it within that range will make for a smooth and enjoyable towing experience and bring you a towing peace of mind. 

Yes, we have a man “poking” the trailer in this video, yes we are using a toy car on a treadmill to demonstrate and yes, we did not fully demonstrate the driving effects of too much tongue weight given it is a toy truck. With this video, we simply wanted to demonstrate one of the negative effects of an improperly loaded trailer. Trailer sway is the number one cause of trailer accidents and rather than learn the hard way of experiencing trailer sway or fishtailing, we want to inform new and even experienced towers of the dangers that can come from it. It’s a scary thing to experience and witness out on the road.

Know before you tow. Determine what range your tongue weight should be in and always stay within that 10-15% of GTW.