Balanced load, safer towing

Paying attention to load position plays a big part in how your truck handles a trailer

Does your work truck feel a little light in the front or the equipment trailer it’s towing tend to wag a bit when there’s a crosswind?

Chances are the reason for both is the trailered load isn’t balanced correctly.

The key to how any pickup handles a trailer is predicated to how much, or how little, of the trailer tongue’s weight is pressing on the hitch ball.

In general, pickup manufacturers want between 10- and 15-percent of the trailer’s loaded weight pushing down on the back of the truck. But they also set a maximum tongue-weight so that downforce doesn’t upset the truck’s handling.

In the case of the 2015 F-150, Ram 1500 and Silverado 1500, for example, the maximum tongue-weight with the factory-supplied hitch is 500 pounds.

Moving a piece of equipment, such as a skid steer, multiple mowers, or mini-excavator, six inches forward or back on a tandem-axle equipment trailer can easily change the tongue weight hundreds pounds as the weight of the equipment moves in relation to the axles.

2015 F150 towing guide clearly shows max tongue-weight.2015 F150 towing guide clearly shows max tongue-weight.

So load positioning is critical if you want to be in compliance with the pickup manufacturers’ towing guidelines.

For Â˝-ton pickups,  500 pounds of tongue-weight is the norm, while Âľ- and 1-tons generally max out at 1,200 pounds utilizing the factory receiver hitch with a ball/shank.

Not sure of how much tongue weight a trailer is putting on your pickup’s hitch?  Get a Weigh-Safe Hitch.

The Weigh-Safe Hitch’s built-in scale shows tongue-weight up to 1,500, which covers the majority of  pickup towing applications.

Weigh-Safe hitch shows tongue-weight right on the hitch shank.Weigh-Safe hitch shows tongue-weight right on the hitch shank.

If the tongue-weight is too high or too low, adjust the position of the load  on the trailer until the number falls in line with the 10- to 15-percent range – without exceeding that hitch’s max tongue-weight rating.

Do that and at least the tow vehicle and trailer will feel like everything is in balance.