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Here’s Why Trailer Weight Distribution Matters

Here’s Why Trailer Weight Distribution Matters

Understanding trailer weight distribution is essential, whether hitching our motorcycle or hauling the tools associated with our trade. But many of us are incorrectly towing our belongings, which puts ourselves and other drivers at risk.

If you’re new to towing and are searching for tips, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything to know about trailer weight distribution and why it matters.

How to Find Your Trailer’s Load Limit

Every motorist should know their trailer’s ideal load so that it’s safe for themselves and other drivers.

You can do this by checking the VIN label on the trailer’s front half, which is often on the left side. This should detail the tare and loading information to prevent consumers from overloading it. Note, the total of your car and trailer can’t exceed the listed number, otherwise known as GVWR, so refer to it when loading.

The easiest way to calculate the weight is by using a public scale. If you’re overwhelmed, ask your local mechanic or dealer to figure out how much weight you’re carrying. This will tell you how much the vehicle and trailer weigh empty or unloaded, alongside the hitch and kingpin.

Benefits of Distributing Weight on Your Trailer

Before diving into the nitty gritty, explaining why you should care about weight distribution for trailers is crucial. In fact, there are endless reasons why it’s essential. For example:

Affects How You Drive

Poor weight distribution will affect how you drive, even on straight roads. For instance, if the trailer is too heavy, it’ll be harder to reverse out of parking lots or even into your drive. You also become more vulnerable to gusts of winds or if you must act fast in an emergency situation.

To avoid any issues, motorists should check what they can legally tow in their state and stay within guidelines.

Improves Towing Ability

A major reason to care about trailer weight is how it affects the towing ability. No one wants to drive their vehicle with a heavy load swinging at the back because it’s harder to control. Instead, calculate the weight beforehand to prevent any problems.

Stops Any Braking Issues

When there’s too much weight on the vehicle’s tongue, braking issues arise. It could affect the traction on the rear tires so that they eventually give out. Not to mention, if your brakes are being overworked, there will quickly be signs of wear and tear.

Protects Your Vehicle

If you don’t understand how to figure out the proper weight distribution on a trailer, you’ll ruin your vehicle. This often happens when you’re driving a small vehicle compared to the size of the trailer. Luckily, you can reduce the risk by prioritizing good weight distribution.

Prevents Accidents

As you can imagine, not properly distributing weight can increase the risk of accidents. In a worst-case scenario, motorists could smash into the back of your vehicle or even push you off the road. Or, if there isn’t enough weight on the tongue, the trailer could sway and you could overturn in seconds.

How to Distribute Weight on Your Trailer

Although it sounds overwhelming, everyone can figure out the best way to distribute weight on a trailer. Thankfully, there are specific rules to follow. Such as:

Park on a Level Surface

Find a parking space on a level surface so that the trailer doesn’t shift. You should also chock the wheels to stabilize the vehicle, regardless of how much you’re adding to the trailer. And don’t forget to engage the emergency brake to prevent any issues.

Finding the Correct Ratio

Many motorists make the mistake of keeping a majority of the weight at the front of their trailer. But this can put too much strain on the front axle. Instead, you want to follow the 60/40 rule so that the weight has been fairly distributed.

A good rule of thumb is to keep 60% of the weight at the front while 40% is at the back of the trailer. Make sure that you check the manufacturer’s specifications and never go over the maximum weight because it could break under pressure. Don’t forget to check either side of the trailer as they should be reasonably balanced too.

If there are any bulky or irregularly shaped items, attach them with rope, ratchet straps, or tie-down anchors. When secure, remove the excess so that it doesn’t get caught in the wheels.

You should also examine your vehicle for a telltale sign that it’s too heavy. For instance, your car will either sag at the hitch or the headlights will point upward.

Attach a Weight Distribution Hitch

The most effective way to prevent issues is by attaching a weight distribution hitch to the trailer.

Note, hitches are made up of spring bars, shank, head, and frame brackets. These components push down the trailer and lift the back of the vehicle so that your rig is level.

Ideally, you should get one if the trailer weighs 50% or more than your vehicle weight. The beauty of hitches is it extends the life of your vehicle’s suspension system and prevents unnecessary wear and tear.

Find a Trailer Weight Distribution That Works for You

Now that you’re a whiz at trailer weight distribution, it’s time to prepare your vehicle and trailer.

Distributing the weight properly comes with an array of benefits, from helping you drive safely and improving towing ability. And, when you use the ratio rule and attach a specialized hitch, you’ll see how simple the process is. Happy towing!

Looking for your next trailer? Contact Pro-Line trailers and we’ll help you find the perfect one for your needs.

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