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Trailer Weighing

Cat Scale

Trailer Weighing is just as important as every other aspect of handling a Trailer. We'll explain the different terms used within the industry to help make RV'ing safe.

Understanding all of this will make your life so much easier, safer and out of trouble, in the event of an "incident". If all your trailer weights and info are correct - nothing to worry about!

Trailer Weighing Terms

TWR = Tongue Weight Rating. This is the rating of the weight of the trailer onto the hitch ball or 5th wheel adapter. This info is pretty important.

If you don't have enough weight pressing down onto the ball hitch assembly, the rear wheels of the pulling vehicle will be allowed to lose traction easier.

Too much weight on the hitch ball, the front wheels of the pulling vehicle will have less weight on them to allow proper steering and braking - worse in wet weather, for sure!

OK, how do you figure out all that stuff out? Easy:

  • For trailers up to 2,000 lbs., not to exceed 200 lbs.
  • For trailers over 2,000 lbs., 10 - 15% of trailer weight.
  • For fifth-wheel trailers, 15% to 25% of trailer weight.

Now that you know what the tongue weight rating is, how the heck do you measure that!?

It's a little more "tedious", but really, really should be done. Go to a public scale, pull your pulling vehicle and the hitch only area onto it. Notice the height of the tongue. Disconnect your pull vehicle from the trailer and drive that off the scale.

Adjust your tongue height (the only thing on the scale now) to the same level as it was when hooked up. Get that weight.

That weight "number" is the actual weight load on your hitch. As long as it is within the "range" of the above numbers, you're fine.

If too much weight, you must re-arrange your cargo in the trailer to put more of the weight towards the rear. If too light, move your cargo forward.

The same idea applies to 5th wheels. The better connectors (in your pickup truck), allow you to move your hitch position forward or backward to "balance" your weight load between the 5th wheel and the pick up.

Please take a moment and look over our RV Hitch Weight Guidelines discussed on the link below.

Plus, we have several sources of different Manufacturers for you research.

* * * * RV Hitch Weight Advice and Tips * * * *

Pickup Truck/Van Ratings??

What about pickup trucks and conversion vans and their towing capacity and/or ratings??

As mentioned in our RV Tow Vehicles page, the truck manufacturers are coming out with "universal" standards in the 2013, then officially in 2015 model year.

Payload will be a term used frequently in the small truck world. That will be the difference between the truck's GVWR and the curb/wet weight.

The same guidelines need to be observed in the conversion van industry. Some of these vehicles will have everything you could ever want. However, they may not leave much room for you and your cargo!!

Be sure to fully understand how much cargo/people weight capacity your conversion van allows.

Again, finding out after the fact, can be a real downer!!

Study this info very carefully, it will determine the type of RV Trailer, Camper or 5th Wheel you can safely and legally pull behind you!

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