Not every traveler uses or needs a weight distribution hitch on their trailer. It can make tight turns difficult, not to mention the extra time it takes to connect and unlatch. However, it can significantly improve your driving experience while towing a trailer. When you’re pulling so much extra weight, these hitches can add safety to your ride. But before you decide for yourself, let’s go over the facts about these hitches.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Weight Distribution Hitch?
- How Does It Work?
- When Do You Need a Weight Distribution Hitch?
- Benefits of Weight Distribution Hitches: AKA Why You Need One
- How Much Do They Cost?
- Does a Weight Distribution Hitch Increase Towing Capacity?
What Is a Weight Distribution Hitch?
A weight distribution hitch is a tool that balances the connection between your vehicle and trailer. This is especially important when the trailer weighs more than 50% of your towing vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). That imbalance of weight will affect your ability to steer, control sway, and avoid unsafe angles while driving.
How Does It Work?
Weight distribution hitches uses spring bars to adjust the trailer’s weight towards the front axle of the tow vehicle instead of just the rear axles. Evening out the weight prevents the back of the vehicle from sagging and adding stress to the rear axles. It also prevents from removing weight on the steer axle that can cause loss of control.
The hitch itself has a set of springs that attach from the vehicle side of the hitch to the trailer. What these do is put an upward force at the connection point. Imagine a weight distributing hitch as a bent springy piece of metal, without the bend the force of the tongue weight mainly rests on the rear tires and takes the weight off the front, With the spring the weight is distributed to the front of the vehicle
It’s fairly simple to see if you’ve balanced your vehicle’s weight properly. If the back of the vehicle and front of the trailer are even, you probably balanced the weight properly, and your weight distribution hitch is doing its job.
When Do You Need a Weight Distribution Hitch?
If you’re having trouble with a swaying trailer while driving, a weight-distribution hitch can help. Uncontrollable swaying can be dangerous, especially when driving large vehicles. It also prevents the front of your car from pushing upwards when the trailer’s weight is all on the back of the car.
Benefits of Weight Distribution Hitches: AKA Why You Need One
There are many benefits to having one. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why you might need one.
Even Weight Distribution
This hitch spreads the weight throughout each axle instead of focusing all the trailer’s weight on the back. No one likes driving at the awkward angle created by uneven weight. When most of the car and trailer’s weight rests on one spot, it makes driving more difficult and damages axles.
Minimizes Trailer Sway
Swaying back and forth can be relaxing in some circumstances, but definitely not while driving. Using a weight-distribution hitch can help solve swaying problems. That’s especially true if you are pulling a trailer weighing more than than 50% of your vehicle’s GVWR. If you’re pulling a trailer with a short bed truck, or any shorter vehicle with a larger trailer, you’ll have less control over swaying due to the shorter wheelbase.
While the weight distribution alone may not be enough to control the sway these hitches commonly have sway bars or additional means of sway control built in.
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More Control Over Your Vehicle
The hitch increases control over your vehicle because of the spring bars leveraging the trailer’s weight. When you’re towing a heavy trailer, you need to be able to stop when you hit the brake. When the weight is distributed poorly, the tires won’t have the same impact. This throws off the balance of the car and can lead to loss of control during hard braking.
Safer Steering and Braking
The pressure from the trailer on the back of your vehicle can create a tilted angle, which lessens the impact of the steering wheel. Because the back of the vehicle is so weighed down, the front pushes up at an awkward angle. This can impair the driver’s view of the road.
Without weight distribution, you lift the weight off the steer axle which can change the geometry of the steering system. This can cause wander in the steering and make controlling sway even harder. Weight distribution hitches have spring bars to prevent these issues and give you more control over your driving.
How Much Do They Cost?
A weight distribution hitch can cost anywhere between $200-$400, depending on the size and quality. Higher-end hitches will use square bars, though round bars provide optimal clearance while attaching the trailer to your car. Cheaper hitches don’t always have the best stability and sometimes won’t include necessary equipment, such as the shank and ball. The more expensive hitches are often bulky or sleek, with advanced design features.
Does a Weight Distribution Hitch Increase Towing Capacity?
While the weight distribution hitch doesn’t increase towing capacity, it allows the hitch to function at its full towing capacity. Higher quality hitches will have greater towing capabilities; this doesn’t change the towing limitations of the trailer itself, however.
Whether or not you need a weight distribution hitch depends on what kind of vehicle and trailer you have. Still, a little extra security can be a big help. Towing a trailer can seem like a daunting task. That’s why having valuable tools such as a hitch can make this endeavor much more successful. Whether you’re on vacation or a full-time RVer, this is a great addition to your trailer.
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