What is the Hitch Tongue Weight Rating

If you’ve dug into trailer hitch installation guides, you’ll know that one of the most important measurements to consider is the tongue weight rating. But what exactly is a tongue weight rating? Why is it important? And most importantly, when is it necessary?

What Connects a Trailer & Vehicle?

The trailer coupler connects the trailer to the towing vehicle. More practically, it connects the hitch ball to the cargo. The image to the right is a simple representation of how this works.

As the point of connection between the trailer and tow vehicle, the trailer coupler is an essential aspect to any towing setup.

Trailer Couplers can be either fixed or adjustable. Fixed trailer couplers are welded to the trailer tongue, while adjustable trailer couplers can be moved up or down to accommodate different trailer heights. When choosing a trailer coupler, it is important to select one that is rated for the size and weight of your trailer.

For top level security for your trailer coupler, use Fastway's FORTRESS™ lock for your trailer and towing needs.

What is the Trailer Tongue?

The tongue is the part of the trailer that extends forward and includes the coupler. Whether you’re towing a trailer box or a platform as shown in the accompanying image, the trailer tongue is a key element to your towing setup.

Tongue Weight is the amount of downward force or weight that the tongue is placing on the hitch of the tow vehicle. Too much tongue weight can be dangerous, because it may be too much for the hitch to handle, leading to difficulty steering. However, too little weight may make your trailer prone to swaying.

You should never guess or estimate your tongue weight. Before you start towing, use Fastway’s SIMPLE WEIGH™ Tongue Scale to measure your tongue weight. Its designed to fit every coupler size and is easy to transport.

Why Does Tongue Weight Matter?

Measuring your tongue weight is a vital part of towing safety. Knowing your tongue weight helps you determine how much weight is being placed on the hitch ball, so you can avoid overloading it. If the tongue weight is too high, it will have a negative impact on your vehicle handling, like your ability to round corners. If your tongue weight is too low, the trailer will be vulnerable to swaying from side to side. If you aren’t careful, the lack of weight on the tongue paired with the sway causes a risk of the trailer slipping off the hitch ball and disconnecting from the towing vehicle.

Your tongue weight should typically be between 10-15% of the fully loaded trailer weight. This means that if your trailer weighs 4000lbs, your tongue weight should be between 400-600lbs. Whether you’re new to towing or a lifelong fan, use a tongue weight scale to check your setup
before hitting the road! Safe travels!

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