Tongue Weight – the Key to Safe Towing

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Proper tongue weight can make the difference between a safe trailer-towing experience and a dangerous one.  Like the Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the tongue weight must be ‘just right’ – too little and the trailer could start swaying from side to side; too much weight and the force could overload the rear tires of the tow vehicle and push the rear end of the vehicle out of control.  Tongue weight also affects how safely you can go around corners and curves, as well as how quickly you can brake.


How to figure out the tongue weight? Proper tongue weight is about 10 to 15% of the total loaded trailer weight. For example, if a 2,000-pound trailer is loaded with 1,000 pounds of cargo, the safe tongue weight of the loaded trailer should be between 300 and 450 pounds or 10-15% of the total of the two – or 3,000 pounds.


Other important things to consider are the type of hitch and placement of the load. For example, #Sierra1500 models towing trailers with tongue weights over 700-800 pounds need to make sure they are using a weight-distributing hitch rather than a weight-carrying hitch.


It’s important for the load to be properly placed to ensure safe towing, with about 60% of the load centered evenly over the front half of the trailer. For example, if the 2,000 pound trailer is carrying 1,000, about 600 pounds should be in the front half of the trailer.


You can check that your trailer is properly balanced by visiting a public scale and weighing your vehicle and trailer a few times.


And of course, our New Jersey Auto Auction’s Sales and Service team is happy to advise you on how to have a safe trailing experience. Our family-owned dealership has built a reputation of customer-service excellence. We want to make sure you have a safe drive!  Visit our website at





New Jersey State Auto Auction

406 Sip Avenue

Jersey City, New Jersey 07306

Phone: 201.355.4138