How to Measure the Tongue Weight of a Trailer
Is My Tongue Too Heavy?
I’m not a doctor, I just play one on TV. But if you think your tongue is too heavy, we better take a closer look.
Proper tongue weight is critical to proper trailer performance. Too little tongue weight and your trailer will sway, like the tail wagging the dog. Too much tongue weight causes undue strain on tow vehicle components and can exceed the weight capacity of your hitch, suspension, and trailer.
We’re here to help. Kendon Stand Up™ Trailers are designed to provide the perfect amount of tongue weight to get the most out of your trailering experience. Our trailers are specifically designed to provide 10-15% of total tow weight on the tongue. That means if the trailer weighs 400 pounds and your bike weighs 600 pounds, the tongue weight should be between 100 and 150 pounds. And if that’s what you have, you probably won’t even know your Kendon trailer is back there.
How to Measure Your Trailer Tongue Weight
- Start with the correct ball height. The top of your 2” hitch ball should be between 19” and 21” from the ground without the trailer attached.
- Connect the trailer and load your bikes, toys or cargo.
- Inspect the trailer to make sure it is close to level. If it is not level, adjust the ball height using a different drop-down receiver. You want the trailer to be as close to level as possible when loaded. The angle of the trailer can have a huge impact on tongue weight and towing performance.
- Block the wheels in front and back with wood blocks or wheel stops to keep the trailer from rolling. It is critical that you block the wheels well. Improper wheel blocking can cause serious injury.
- With a floor jack or other heavy-duty jack slowly raise the tongue of your trailer off your trailer hitch. Kendon’s Swivel Jack Stand is perfect for this task. Pull the tow vehicle slowly away from the trailer being careful to not pull or interfere with the trailer.
- Place a heavy-duty scale under the trailer tongue. Cut a thick wood block or similar material the length of the distance from the scale to the bottom of the trailer tongue (when the trailer is level). Place the wood block on the scale and lower the jack until the full weight of the trailer tongue is on the scale.
- Record the total weight. Subtract the weight of the wood (or similar) block. This is your net tongue weight. Record this weight.
- Kendon trailer weights are listed on our website at kendonusa.com. Add the weight of the trailer to the weight of your bike(s). Multiply that number by 0.10 and 0.15. This is the proper tongue weight range for your bike(s) and trailer configuration.
- Compare the figure in Step 7 with the figures in Step 8. If it falls in the range from Step 8, then you have the proper tongue weight.
If it does not, please call us at 714.630.7144 for suggestions on how to achieve the proper tongue weight.
One quick rule of thumb is that it’s always better to have too much tongue weight than not enough. Too little tongue weight will cause the trailer to sway and can potentially result in a serious accident. Never tow a trailer with less than 10% tongue weight.
Now get out there. Go. Ride.
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