If you are preparing to tow a heavy load with your RV, a weight distribution hitch will make your job much more comfortable and safer. Nobody wants a trailer that sways too much, heavy steering or having to stop in the middle of that long winding road to make sure nothing is breaking or coming loose. You chose a recreational vehicle (RV) to be as mobile as you can. A heavy trailer, however, may be difficult to drive with without a weight distribution hitch.
Using a weight distribution hitch secures you for a much safer drive with a heavy tow. A weight distribution hitch helps evenly distribute the weight of heavy trailers. Doing so lessens the load in the rear of your vehicle, and prevents your trailer receiver hitch from breaking. It gives you a smoother ride while allowing you to tow at maximum capacity.
What Does A Weight Distribution Hitch Do
Before discussing what a weight distribution hitch does, we need to understand two terms first: tongue weight, and gross trailer weight. Gross trailer weight, as it implies, is the overall weight of the trailer in its towing condition. Meanwhile, tongue weight refers to the load of the trailer that transfers to the truck, plus the weight of the cargo in the vehicle’s rear axle.
Having too much tongue weight to the gross trailer weight presses down the rear of your vehicle, making steering and braking harder. On the other hand, having too little tongue weight causes the trailer to be harder to control, making it prone to swaying.
A weight distribution hitch solves this problem by distributing some of the tongue weight to the front axle of the tow rig, as well as the trailer axle. Putting this weight in the front axle allows the driver to steer better, allowing the rear to be able to tow a more massive load. Moreover, a weight distribution hitch uses spring bars to distribute this weight.
Parts of a Weight Distribution Hitch
A weight distribution hitch utilizes five different components, namely: the trailer hitch, weight distribution shank, head assembly, spring bars, and the lift brackets.
- TRAILER HITCH
- WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION SHANK
- WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION HEAD ASSEMBLY
- SPRING BAR ASSEMBLIES
- LIFT BRACKETS
The trailer hitch connects the weight distribution hitch to your towing vehicle and is the opening where the weight distribution shank slides deep. It classifies as either Class III, IV, or V for weight distribution system use. However, Class III hitches are for use with weight distribution systems only in most cases.
The weight distribution shank attaches the hitch opening to the equalizer head. Shanks differ regarding lengths, drops, and rises, helping you adjust to your trailer’s height. Most shanks have a maximum rise of approximately 6 inches and a maximum drop of about 2 inches.
Everything connects to the weight distribution head assembly, including the weight distribution, the ball, and the spring bar assemblies. Remember that equalizer heads differ for each type of weight distribution hitches.
As said earlier, spring bars transfer the trailer tongue load from the rear of the vehicle by redistributing them to the front axle of the vehicle. There are two types of spring bar assemblies -- the round and the trunnion. Round spring bars slide up to the head and hold in place with clips. Trunnion bars, on the other hand, slide to the head from either the front or the back.
The lift brackets attach to the trailer and help keep the spring bar assemblies in proper position. Like weight distribution head assemblies, there are different types of lift brackets for different kinds of weight distribution hitches.
Types of Weight Distribution Hitch
Many weight distribution hitches are available in the market, with different manufacturers including features unique to their own. However, there are two standard types of weight distribution hitches, which vary with the presence or absence of a sway control system.
Standard weight distribution hitch without sway control
When sway control is not a problem for your trailer, a standard weight distribution hitch is in order. This type of weight distribution hitch is compatible with both electric brakes and hydraulic brakes. They are usually available with either round or trunnion bars.
Standard weight distribution hitch with an independent sway control system
A sway control system can be attached to any standard weight distribution system to if sway control is a problem for the trailer. However, this type of weight distribution hitch is compatible with electric brakes only and is incompatible with hydraulic brakes. Like the model without sway control, this system is available with either round or trunnion bars.
5 Reasons Why You Need a Weight Distribution Hitch
Here are five reasons that would make getting a weight distribution hitch useful for your next ride:
1. It provides a level ride
Usually, heavier trailers with a higher tongue weight tend to make driving harder due to a more massive downward force. A weight distribution hitch provides you with a level ride by redistributing the weight of your trailer. You'll have less drag as you drive off. Thus, these hitches are a must have for a smooth ride.
2. It maximizes tow capacity
As the weight distribution hitch already redistributes the tongue weight of the trailer, one can maximize their tow capacity and load more things onto their trailers. By using a weight distribution hitch, tow capacity increases up to 14,000 pounds, and tongue weight capacity up to 1,400 pounds.
3. It prevents vehicle sag
Vehicle sag happens when there is too much weight applied in the rear of the towing vehicle, due to a greater tongue force coming from a heavy load. A weight distribution hitch helps by redistributing this force to the front axle of the vehicle, propping up the rear.
4. It improves steering and stopping
With too much tongue weight, the rear of the towing vehicle is pushed down, lifting the front wheels of the vehicle, making steering and stopping much more difficult. Weight distribution on the vehicle prevents the rear from being pushed down too much, giving you a light steer.
5. It prevents trailer sway
On the other hand, when there is too little tongue weight, the rear of the towing vehicle may be lifted by the ball. With this, the load is pushed in the back of the trailer, leading to trailer sway. A weight distribution hitch corrects trailer sway by evenly distributing the trailer load.
Factors to Consider Before Getting a Weight Distribution Hitch
There are a lot of available weight distribution hitches out in the market today, and you may be tempted to buy one now. However, before you do so, you must carefully choose the size system that will be best suited for your tow.
Class of trailer
There are five classes of trailer hitches, and weight distribution hitches are available in Classes III, IV, and V. Firstly, class III hitches load kayaks, canoes, and bikes. Sedans and SUVs typically use class III hitches. Class IV hitches load large campers, large boats, and toy haulers. Heavy-duty trucks and SUVs primarily use these hitches. Lastly, Class V hitches load equipment haulers and multi-car trailers, and for both heavy-duty and commercial trucks.
A weight distribution hitch will have a rating for both the gross trailer weight and the tongue weight. However, the tongue weight system is always the foremost consideration in selecting your weight distribution hitch. As a general rule of thumb, always remember to select a rating close to your load as this dictates your RV ride. Thus, going too over or too under your rating will not let the hitch distribute your load’s weight properly.
Best Weight Distribution Hitch To Get Right Now
It’s now time to get your weight distribution hitch! Here are some suggestions that you can use for your next tow:
The Eaz-Lift 48058 Elite Weight Distributing Hitch Kit comes in 600-pound, 800-pound, 1000-pound, and 1200-pound tongue weight capacity variants. It has a hitch and sway control already pre-installed, and has torque on an adjustable ball mount. The spring bars come pre-installed with a u-bolt and chain package as well.
Furthermore, the first three variants have a maximum gross weight rating of 10,000 pounds, while the 1200 pounds has a maximum gross weight rating of 12,000 pounds. Eaz-Lift, a versatile weight distributing hitch, has an Amazon rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars. It costs between $219 to $230.
The grease-free Andersen 3350 No Sway Hitch comes with its self-adjusting sway control. It has 2-5/16 inches ball, universal frame brackets (3, 4, 5 & 6 inches), so there is no need to buy extras. It is also easy to remove from your tow vehicle with its one-pin removal system. This easy-to-use weight distribution hitch uses a standard mount for towing without weight distribution. This handy weight distributing hitch has an Amazon rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. It costs between $495 and $505.
The Blue Ox BXW1500 SWAYPRO Weight Distribution Hitch has a sway prevention system. This hitch prides itself of a pre-adjusted hitch head that does not need any more fine-tuning. It is made of spring steel, helping you have a softer and smoother ride. Moreover, it makes no noise and can back up without disconnecting. This well-designed weight distributing hitch has an Amazon rating of 4.3 stars out of 5 stars. It costs between $589 to $598.
Level Your RV with a Weight Distribution Hitch
A weight distribution hitch is a useful tool that will make your next tow much smoother and safer. Not only does a weight distribution hitch help you drive better, but it also allows you to tow at maximum capacity. Using a weight distribution hitch will upgrade your next tow to an easier drive and lighter steer. Moreso, you will be able to carry a more massive load than you can, all with the security of a safe ride. Thus, a weight distribution hitch is definitely a good idea. We hope you use our suggestions to make your next tow a great one!