What Is Tongue Weight?

Written by hitchweb Team
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 — 5 Comments

When getting ready to tow your trailer the most important thing to do is make sure the weight capacities of your trailer does not exceed the the Gross Towing Weight (GTW: the weight of the loaded trailer). This is done by calculating what your tongue weight is. Tongue weight is important to know, and easy to adjust. But what exactly is it and why is it so important?

What is tongue weight?

(TW) The downward force that is exerted on the hitch ball by the coupler. The tongue weight will vary depending on where the load is positioned in relationship to the trailer axle(s). To measure the tongue weight, use either a commercial scale or a bathroom scale with the coupler at towing height, or find out what your Gross Towing Weight is and figure out 10% of that number. Most experts agree that an acceptable tongue weight for any trailer is somewhere between 10 and 15 percent of the Gross Towing Weight. If the tongue of the trailer does not use enough downward force on the tow vehicle's hitch ball, trailer sway could result.

What is trailer sway?

Trailer swaying back and forth due to an un-even weight. Trailer Sway can cause loss of control to your vehicle. Here is an example of how to test trailer sway. When starting out with a new load on a trailer, make sure it will not sway by gradually increasing your speed in intervals until highway speed is reached. If the trailer does begin to sway, try adjusting the cargo and equipment forward of trailer's axle. If the tongue is too heavy, you need to adjust the load so that more of the weight is behind the trailer's axle. If repositioning the load and equipment did not help reduce the sway, a weight distribution system with trailer sway control may be needed.

We hope this article could be of great help to you. If you need help determining your tongue weight, have issues with your trailer sway, or not sure which weight distribution system to use please contact our team via Live Chat, Email, Or call 800-300-4067.

Posted in Towing 101

Comments


Hitchweb Team
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Hello Mr. Zazulak, Unfortunately the hitches we have for your vehicle have a tongue weight of only 200lbs. The carrier with the luggage would weight more than that and the hitch would not be able to hold it. Have you considered carrying the cargo on the roof of your vehicle? You can find that information by using our "RACK FINDER", please visit the below URL and look up your options. https://www.hitchweb.com/rhino-rack
Jerry Zazulak
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
I have a 250lb. power wheelchair. I would like to know if a cargo carrier is recommended on a 2015 Kia Forte 4d sedan.
Anonymous
Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Im pulling 1200 lbs. on my 2009 scion what should the tongue weight be.

Hitchweb Team
Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hello,

 

What trailer hitch do you have on your vehicle and what it is rated for? Your tongue weight is 10% of what you are towing, but you also need to make sure your hitch is capable of holding that.

If you can please contact our team we can help you further.

Thank you

Anonymous
Tuesday, March 4, 2014

im going to be pulling 1200 to 1400lbs. on my 2009 scion xb what should the tongue weight be

Submit a Comment: