Dangers of Improper Weight Distribution
Improper weight distribution poses a serious threat not just to you and your passengers, but to all the other drivers on the roadway. Not to mention, your rig and tow vehicle can sustain serious damage if you’re overloaded in anyway. Here are just some of the effects of improper weight distribution:
- Uneven weight exacerbates the stress on your axles which speeds up natural wear and, in extreme cases, can lead to axle failure.
- When your weight is improperly distributed, your rig will be harder to handle and you'll have a greater chance of losing control of your vehicle.
- Improper distribution of weight puts premature wear and tear on your tires which can result in spontaneous blow outs.
- The excessive strain put on your rig when it’s loaded incorrectly can lead to the premature failure of components in your suspension system.
- Imbalanced weight also reflects badly on your bank account too, as it increases fuel consumption and worsens your gas mileage.
- In the event of an accident, overloading your axles can be reason enough to void your insurance coverage.
Achieving Proper Weight Distribution
Even if your overall payload isn’t over your limit, that doesn’t mean you can’t be overloaded on one of your axles. If possible, load your RV fully and take it to a weigh station that can measure your axles individually. You should aim for around 10% of the overall total weight to be placed on the tongue, meaning that if your trailer’s total weight is 7,000 pounds, you’ll want the weight at your hitch to be right around 700 pounds. Too much tongue weight in relation to your GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) can impair your ability to maneuver in a safe manner.
How you pack your RV matters. You want to make sure the weight is even front to back and side to side, so create a balance from left to right too. Make sure your under-bed storage isn’t highly concentrated with heavy items or you will create a tail-heavy situation that off balances your RV. To avoid a top-heavy situation, you’ll want to load items as low to the ground as possible. After you’ve fully packed up your RV, but before you’ve hit the road, take the time to look for signs that your rig might be off weight. Check that your tow vehicle or trailer doesn’t sag once it’s hitched up and that your headlights aren’t pointed upward. You’re goal is to have the trailer coupler even and level with your tow vehicle’s hitch.
Benefits of Weight Distribution Systems
If your trailer is more than 50% of your vehicle’s weight, it’s recommended that you get a weight distribution system which will most likely come in the form of a weight distribution hitch. These products will give you an even weight displacement by redistributing the center of the weight off of your hitch and onto other axles. When everything is balanced out, your driving performance will noticeably increase and you’ll have a much more stable and smooth ride. Plenty of weight distribution hitches are available on the market today, so before you make your purchase read the reviews and be sure that it is compatible with your rig. You can find weight distribution systems that include sway control which will improve the handing of your vehicle even further. Consult with the manufacturer’s instructions for specific assembly steps and feel the benefits yourself once you hit the highway with a well-balanced rig!
The importance of weight distribution hitches lies in their ability to aid in the safety of you and your passengers and the protection and preservation of your tow vehicle and RV. If you are concerned that you might be overloading your axles, try redistributing items within your RV to balance out the weight. If you want to ensure that you’re not overloading your axles, look into getting a weight distribution system before your next big RVing adventure!
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