Hitches 101: What is Toungue Weight & How to Calculate It
Tongue weight is the amount of weight a trailer exerts onto the hitch ball. The tongue weight should be anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of the gross trailer weight. The tongue weight depends on how the load is distributed in the trailer in relation to the trailer's axel.
Uneven or low amounts of weight can cause the trailer to sway frequently while too much weight can create lower steering response on your vehicle. It's important to know the tongue weight when choosing a hitch so you can make sure it can handle your cargo.
Calculating Tongue Weight
- Step 1: Determine the trailer's weight. The gross trailer weight can be found inside your owner's manual, or you can weigh your trailer at a public weight station scale.
- Step 2: Calculate tongue weight range. Once you find the gross trailer weight, take that number and multiply it by 10 and 15 percent. The results will give you the proper tongue weight range.
- Step 3: Weight the trailer tongue. If you own a small trailer, this piece can be weighed on a bathroom scale. A large version typically requires special equipment like wood or cinder blocks to keep both the scale and tongue level as you weight the tongue.
- Step 4: Distribute items accordingly. If the trailer tongue is heavier than the calculated weight range, more equipment should be shifted toward the back of the trailer. If the tongue weight is lower, consider moving items closer to the front of the trailer.