Updated: Oct 5
Are you a new truck owner or perhaps launching a small business? Perhaps you need to transport a vehicle for a family or friend or will need to transport a zero-turn lawn mower from one location to the next. Whatever your situation, hauling isn’t as simple as connecting a trailer to your hitch and going about your day. Instead, there is a critical first step you cannot overlook: calculating trailer tongue weight.
What Is Tongue Weight?
Sometimes referred to as hitch weight, tongue weight is a measurement of the downward force on your towing vehicle’s hitch. This joint acts as a lever and helps to keep your steering balanced.
There are many variables with towing, and this is one that not everyone understands. Instead, they see or hear terms such as “towing capacity” without calculating trailer tongue weight.
Why Is It Important?
Calculating trailer tongue weight is important because you do not want it to be too heavy or too light. Both of these can cause problems with your vehicle and make the trip itself dangerous.
If too heavy, your trailer will put undue stress on the rear of your towing vehicle. In addition, it can affect your stopping distance while making steering difficult.
However, if the tongue weight is too light, your trailer will likely sway and be difficult to control. Potentially, it could even disconnect completely from your towing vehicle.
Methods Of Calculating Tongue Weight
These two scenarios demonstrate why calculating trailer tongue weight is so important. There are a handful of methods to help figure out this value. Let’s start with the simplest.
If you know the weight of your towing vehicle and the weight of your trailer, you can use basic math. Divide the former by the latter. If your answer is between 10-15%, your tongue weight is correctly balanced.
With A Bathroom Scale
So what happens if you don’t know one of these two numbers? You can calculate tongue weight with a bathroom scale, assuming it will be less than 300 pounds. This method requires multiple steps but essentially requires you to connect a board to your tongue, balance it on a scale, and then multiply the answer times three.
With A Tongue Weight Scale
If that felt somewhat convoluted, a much easier solution is to buy a tongue weight scale. These run around $125 and can easily fit in your glove compartment.
With A Vehicle Scale
Finally, you can utilize the services of a company with a vehicle scale. First, weigh your towing vehicle without the attached trailer. Then, weigh it again with the trailer attached. The difference is your tongue weight.
The Best Source For All Of Your Trailer & Towing Needs
Whether you’re a first-time hauler or an experienced driver who frequently moves equipment from one location to the next, Bigfoot Trailers has something to fit your needs. We carry a full line of trailers and haulers while offering multiple financing options through our valued partners.
As a factory-direct manufacturer, we service the entire Eastern United States with locations in Mulberry FL, Jacksonville FL, Tallahassee FL (by appointment only), and Ashland Virginia.
Ready to roll with Bigfoot Trailers? Give us a call or visit our website to see our many different models. FL: (863) 589-7616 | VA: (866) 764-8878