FIRST THINGS FIRST: Tongue Weight.
The tongue weight of a trailer is the actual physical weight that is being loaded directly onto the hitch, and therefore the back of your towing vehicle. Safe tongue weight is typically 10-15% of your gross trailer weight, as you will experience less trailer sway, bounce, and have better steering control.
What happens if your tongue weight is outside the 10-15%?
When you have too little tongue weight (under 10% of your GTW), you’ll start to experience trailer sway.
When you have too much tongue weight (over 15% of your GTW), you’ll typically start to feel lifting and loss of steering control at the front of the towing vehicle. This upward force is typically 20-30% of your tongue weight.*
*THESE PERCENTAGES ARE APPLICABLE TO MOST TOWING CONFIGURATIONS, BUT ARE SUBJECT TO VARIABILITY*
The tongue weight and resultant upward force are what can cause the towing vehicle to “sag”. As the front end lifts (which is about 20-30% of the tongue weight), this weight is shifted to the back axle of the vehicle. Thus making the vehicle’s back axle bear the tongue weight PLUS that additional 20-30% of the tongue weight (from the front).
This is when the front end of the vehicle can start to lift up, causing the driver to experience a loss of steering control.
The solution? A weight distribution hitch.
What is a weight distribution hitch?
A weight distribution hitch is a trailer hitch that distributes your tongue weight from the back axle of the towing vehicle to the axles of your trailer. Distributed Tongue weight is the value that you will be controlling in order to more evenly distribute your trailer’s weight.
With the weight distribution hitch, you are now seeing 70-80% of the original tongue weight on the back axle of the vehicle while that initial 20-30% (that was lifted off the front and added to the vehicle’s back axles) is now applied to the trailer axles.
The True Tow Weight Distribution Hitch is the only Weight Distribution Hitch with a built-in gauge that measures your Tongue Weight and can truly Distributed Tongue Weight. With the True Tow and the Weigh Safe App, you will be able to calculate the exact amount of tongue weight that is needed to remove that resultant upward force of 20-30% off of the front of your towing vehicle, resulting in a level, evenly distributed, and safe towing experience.
Does this mean I can tow more than what my vehicle is rated for?
No! A distribution hitch does not mean you can tow more weight. You always need to be within the weight ratings of your towing vehicle, trailer hitch, and trailer.
What if my Distributed Tongue Weight (DTW) is higher than my tongue weight?
The distributed tongue weight will typically always be 2-3x more than your original tongue weight. Your physical tongue weight is not changing, and the distributed tongue weight is not applied directly to your towing vehicle. Instead, it’s the amount of weight that will help evenly distribute the weight between your towing vehicle and trailer.
Here’s a quick rundown:
- Needs to be within 10-15% of your Gross Trailer Weight. No more, no less.
- Is the physical weight that is being loaded directly onto the hitch, and therefore, the back of your towing vehicle.
- Does not change when it is Distributed by a Weight Distribution Hitch.
DISTRIBUTED TONGUE WEIGHT
- Usually 2-3xs more than your original tongue weight. This is calculated with the DTW Calculator in the Weigh Safe App.
- Is the amount of tongue weight that is distributed from the towing vehicle to the trailer to remove the upward resultant force.
- Provides a more evenly distributed towing ride, better steering control, and and safe towing experience.