If you tow a trailer, it’s important to properly distribute the weight so things go smoothly and there are no surprises—or accidents. Uneven weight distribution on a trailer can cause it to sway at high speeds, catastrophic and scary circumstances indeed.
The total weight of a trailer is referred to as gross trailer weight, which includes the trailer itself and any cargo it happens to be carrying at a given time. The other important factor in determining safe weigh distribution is the tongue weight. This refers to the portion of the load at the front of the trailer, pressing down on the hitch. It also includes any weight behind the rear axle of the vehicle that’s doing the towing, like objects being transported in the vehicles trunk.
Too much tongue weight will push the front of the trailer—and the back of the towing vehicle—towards the ground, bringing the front of the towing vehicle off the ground. This can be incredibly dangerous, especially in circumstances when the vehicle needs to brake quickly. Too little tongue weight, on the other hand, might cause the trailer to sway back and forth, and in the worst case, out of control.
Of course, this is the precise purpose of a weight distribution hitch. It spreads some of the excessive tongue weight to the front of the towing vehicle, improving handling and overall safety. Trailers with a high gross trailer weight will be required by law to employ a weight distribution system. However, a common rule of them is that once your trailer weighs half of what the towing vehicle does, it makes sense anyway.
J & M Trailers can assist you with finding the right trailer for the load you’ll generally be carrying. Modern trailer systems involve round or trunnion bars and sway control systems, so it’s best to consult with our trailer experts to make sure you’re good-to-go with what you want to tow.
With the lowest prices in Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, and Canada, J & M Trailers in Laurel, Montana, typically sells between 800 and 1000 trailers annually and can answer your specific questions about proper weight distribution.