A weight distribution hitch does just what the name says — it evenly distributes the weight of your payload. It works by using adjustable spring bars and tension to distribute the load of the trailer tongue to the trailer and the tow vehicle axles.
What Does Trailer Tongue Weight Mean?
The tongue weight is the static force the trailer tongue exerts on the hitch ball. For instance, if a 2,000-pound conventional trailer is loaded with 1,000 pounds of cargo, the proper tongue weight of the loaded trailer should be between 300 and 450 pounds, or 10-15 percent of the loaded 3,000 pound total. A tongue scale will confirm actual tongue weight.
How Much Can You Tow?
If your receiver hitch is rated for use with weight distribution, the weight distribution system will allow you to tow at the maximum capacity of the receiver hitch. Weight distribution doesn’t “increase” your receiver’s capacity so much as it allows the hitch to be used at its maximum capacity.
Generally, most people who choose to tow something try to keep the total weight at around 80 percent of their vehicle’s maximum towing capacity. This is the best way to make sure you don’t cause damage to your vehicle or increase the potential for accidents or difficulty hauling the trailer.
What Happens if You Tow More Than Capacity?
Max towing capacity should not be taken lightly. Exceeding what your vehicle is designed to tow can strain your engine and transmission, accelerate brake wear, damage your tires, and even warp your chassis. This could in turn trigger catastrophic failure while driving and could lead to property damage or serious injury.