Why Is Tongue Weight Important When Towing Your Boat or Travel Trailer?
- Tongue weight is simply the downward force that the trailer coupler places on the hitch ball, and has to be between ten and fifteen percent of the gross trailer weight.
- Too much tongue weight forces the rear end of the tow vehicle downward into a V and this can compromise steering whereas too little tongue weight pulls the rear end of the tow vehicle upward into a peak and this can compromise braking.
Gross trailer weight and tongue weight are important specifications to consider when selecting towing equipment. If you exceed the towing capacity of your vehicle, you do not only compromise your safety, stopping ability, vehicle and trailer control, but you also risk damaging your engine, transmission, rear axle brakes, and wheel bearings, not to mention you will void the warranty of the vehicle. Furthermore, RV insurance policies generally do not cover the issues related to the violation of tongue weight and towing capacity constraints.
If the tongue weight is too high, there will be surely a problem with the responsiveness of your tow rig. On the other hand, if the tongue weight is too low, there is a strong likelihood that the travel trailer or RV will sway. To be safe, you should follow the vehicle manufacturer and the travel trailer manufacturer’s instructions regarding tongue weight. After determining the tongue weight and towing capacity of your vehicle, you will then need to pick the right hitch. We cover this in our comprehensive article about trailer hitches. in that article, we explain you how to select the right type of hitch. There are different types of hitches to choose from including ball pitch and tri-point as well as tow bar hitch. It also pays to keep in mind that even if your tow weight is under the limit of your vehicle, the towing experience will still be quite deficient and slow.
To measure the tongue or nose weight, you may need a special scale or you can also make use of a regular digital bathroom scale. A vehicle scale can also help you measure the nose weight of your RV or travel trailer.
The Tongue Weight Of A Trailer Should Be What Percent Of The GTWR ?
- The Tongue Weight Of A Trailer Should Be What Percent Of The GTWR? Ensure that the tongue weight is set to between ten and fifteen percent of the total weight of your trailer. This ensures proper stability. In case the towing vehicle is not equipped with rear suspension, then make sure you use a leveling hitch.
- There is also the tongue weight that you need to include in your calculations of your towing capacity. So when we ask ourselves: the tongue weight of a trailer should be what percent of the GTWR, the right answer is that the tongue weight should be between ten and fifteen percent of your loaded trailer. So, when calculating your towing capacity, make sure that this number is within the aforementioned limits. So, when towing an RV of 3000 pounds, you need to ensure the hitch and its mounting are capable of handling the tongue weight of a minimum of fifteen percent of the 3000-pound weight of your trailer or RV.
Too Much Tongue Weight…..Or Too Little
Too Much Tongue Weight
The following problems can occur if the vertical load is too high, and exerts too much downward force,
- The trailer hitch is overloaded, material failure or structural failure can occur.
- The rear axle of the towing vehicle is overstressed.
- The front axle is relieved due to the pressure, which can affect the steering ability of the vehicle. In front-wheel drive vehicles the traction decreases (tires spin on the mountain).
- The towing ball coupling on the trailer can be damaged.
- With the tandem axle the front wheels are overloaded
- The braking distance can be extended.
How To Measure Tongue Weight And Ensure It Is Properly Setup?