Know Your Tow Weights To Prevent Disaster

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Having a truck can make towing a recreational trailer a reality, but towing can quickly turn into a disaster when you aren't prepared to accommodate the weight of the trailer you intend to haul. Being a responsible truck owner means knowing your tow weights in order to prevent serious accident or injury while you are on the open road.

Here are three types of weights that you need to be paying attention to in order to ensure that you are able to safely tow your trailer in the future.

1. Your trailer's gross weight.

Before you hook up your recreational trailer to your truck, you should know exactly how much the trailer weighs. This information can typically be found by utilizing a public scale at your local truck stop or weigh station.

Since the gross weight measures how heavy your trailer is when fully loaded, you should pack up any off-road vehicles or camping equipment you will be hauling on a regular basis prior to weighing. Drive across the scale until only the trailer's tires are on the scale itself, then record the measured weight.

2. Your vehicle's gross combined weight rating.

Each truck is specifically engineered to be able to tow a certain weight safely. When you exceed this weight limit, you run the risk of a potential towing malfunction. The gross combined weight rating for your vehicle is a guideline that tells you how much total weight your vehicle can safely accommodate. This includes the weight of the vehicle, the trailer, any occupants within the vehicle, and any items loaded on the trailer.

Understanding that, when you add passengers to your vehicle, you may need to reduce weight from your trailer to avoid going over the gross combined weight rating can be beneficial in keeping you safe while you tow in the future.

3. The tongue weight of your trailer.

The amount of weight resting directly on your hitch is referred to as the tongue weight of your trailer. You want to carefully manage your tongue weight to ensure safe towing.

When you don't have enough weight on the tongue, your trailer could sway excessively during transit. Too much weight on the tongue will cause an uneven weight distribution to your truck's front tires, negatively affecting your ability to steer. A good rule of thumb to follow is to ensure that about 10% to 15% of your trailer's total weight is resting on the tongue to maximize towing efficiency.

Taking the time to know about some vital tow weights will help you safely haul your recreational trailer in the future.