When do I need Weight Distribution?
What is Weight Distribution and when do I need it?
One of the most common misconceptions we hear is Weight Distribution Hitches being referred to as ‘Sway Bars’ or ‘Leveller riders’.Weight distribution devices, like the name suggests, assist in the distribution of weight over both your towing vehicle and trailer axles.
What does a Weight Distribution Hitch do?
- Allows a smooth ride - A weight distribution system links your trailer, caravan or boat to your primary vehicle to share the load between the two, providing a smooth and level ride across all axles.
- Spreads the load – By using spring bars to apply leverage to both sides of your towing setup, the load weight that would otherwise be pushing down on the rear of your vehicle is transferred to all axles on both your vehicle and caravan or trailer.
- Provides greater control and capacity – The more you correct your tow vehicle sag, the more precise your steering and stopping is, allowing you to tow at the maximum capacity of your hitch (meaning you can move more at once)!
When do I need Weight Distribution?
Weight distribution devices are recommended if;
- your trailer weight is more than half of your vehicle’s weight,
- the rear of your vehicle sags or its headlights point upward when hitched to your caravan,
- your trailer sways from side to side while on the road due to poor weight dispersion on your trailer. This usually happens if there is too much weight behind the rear trailer axle (in some instances you will require an additional sway control device or integrated sway system to permanently remove sway)
- you are finding it difficult to steer or brake safely when hitched up
My vehicle rises when I hitch up…
If the front of your vehicle rises more than 20mm or the back of your vehicle sags when you hitch up your caravan, you most likely need a weight distribution hitch to help balance the trailer load and ensure you are towing safely. An exception to this could be if your trailer and vehicle load is not correctly balanced – make sure you load the heaviest items over the axle of your towed vehicle to maintain safer load distribution. A general rule of thumb when loading your trailer is to load a maximum of 60% of your load in front of your trailer axle, and never more than 50% behind. Your tow ball weight should ideally be 10% of your Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM). If you find your vehicle is still sagging or rising, it is a clear sign you need a weight distribution hitch.
Measuring your vehicles
A good point of reference is to measure is your tow tug’s wheel arches from the top-centre of the wheel arch to a fixed point on the wheel (without your caravan hitched). When measuring your towed vehicle, it may be a bit more difficult as you will need to get the jockey wheel perfectly level (the figure should be the same when you measure the front and rear sides). Re-measure your wheel arches again once you have hitched up your trailer to determine the difference. If you find a difference of more than 20mm in any of the location points, you will need to first review your loading dispersion of the vehicle and trailer.
If you find that the wheel arches are still not level, it is a sign that you should use a weight distribution hitch to safely tow your trailer on highways and bumpy roads.
How do I choose a Weight Distribution System?
Like many towing accessories, there are a variety of types of weight distribution systems on the market. The main feature to determine when shopping for a weight distribution hitch is the load range that the device can accommodate. Before you begin, it is a good idea to find out the GVM of your trailer when loaded as well as the loaded and unloaded tow ball weight. This will help you decide which load range to buy. You should also make sure to check your chosen weight distribution hitch is compatible with both your vehicle and your towed vehicle. Some off-road hitches may not suit some weight distribution systems. If you are unsure of what to look for, or how to determine if the hitch will be suitable for your needs, we are here to help! Talk to us today about finding the right device for you.