Demystifying Weight Distribution Hitches

Anyone who’s hauled a trailer knows about those heart-pounding moments when the load starts swaying back and forth. It’s not only dangerous, but it can also be hard on the vehicle and trailer.

A weight distribution hitch reduces sway and improves the ability to steer, brake, and control the trailer. But how do these hitches work?

How They Work

Many trailer owners know that improper weight distribution can cause heart-pounding sway, which is hard on your tow vehicle and trailer. WD hitches level out the trailer tongue and gross trailer weight so you can pull heavier loads with less stress on your vehicle and your trailer. Many of these hitches also come with a sway control kit that minimizes trailer sway in windy or challenging conditions, making them necessary for hauling commercial food trailers and other heavy loads.

The sway control portion of a WD hitch uses spring bars to force the trailer into line with the tow vehicle, which prevents swaying in windy or passing situations. It is essential to stay within the maximum towing capacity of your vehicle, even when using a weight distribution hitch. This information can be found in your owner’s manual. Installing a sway control device does not increase your towing capacity either.

Sway Control

Unlike traditional hitches that only allow for a single connection point at the bottom of the trailer frame, weight distribution hitches use spring bars or equalizer bars. When in tension, these bars bridge and raise the hitch head. It helps restore the front of the truck to its normal posture so that the trailer springs are at their proper ride heights and transfer more weight to the road.

It allows for a more balanced and safe towing experience. It prevents too much weight from being pulled from the rear axle of your truck, which can cause sway. It also prevents the front of the trailer from diving, which can lead to loss of control.

Weight distribution systems also decrease the wear and tear on your tow vehicle and trailer. Food trailers, which can weigh over 20,000 pounds, benefit significantly from them. A weight distribution system is legally required if you have a certain gross trailer weight.

Weight Distribution

Unlike standard hitches, weight distribution hitches have spring bars that create lever action when the trailer tongue is lowered. It helps restore the front axle load to the tow vehicle; it is called front-axle load restoration (FALR). It reduces trailer sway and increases stability when driving your RV in tight parking lots or on poor roads. There is no exact threshold for when to use a weight-distribution hitch, but it becomes more necessary as the gross trailer weight (GTW) gets closer to or exceeds your tow vehicle’s WR.

A weight distribution hitch helps haul long, narrow loads such as boats or camping trailers. These loads can cause the front axles of the tow vehicle and trailer to dive, which is dangerous and difficult to control while driving. A weight distribution hitch balances the GTW and tongue weight, preventing this diving and making for a safer towing experience.

Installation

Whether you are a small boat or an RV, improper weight distribution can cause trailer sway, which makes driving dangerous. It can also make your trailer hard to maneuver and even damage your trailer or vehicle. A quality weight distribution hitch helps you avoid these heart-pounding moments by shifting some of your tractor’s sight forward to the rear axle of your tow vehicle.

It uses spring bars connecting to a shank plugging into your tow vehicle’s receiver. It creates pressure to lift the connection point and lower the front of your tow vehicle and the back of your trailer. It allows you to level the trucker’s sight and improve braking, steering, and handling. Some models come with advanced sway control for added stability. Installation is easy with a few essential tools and following the included directions—it’s a great way to ensure your safety and liability.

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