If you’re an outdoor enthusiast who loves to go on camping, boating, or road trip adventures, then you’re probably no stranger to towing a trailer. And whether you’re hauling a camper, a boat, or any other cargo, proper weight distribution on your trailer is crucial to ensure a safe and comfortable ride.
Weight distribution refers to how the weight is distributed on the trailer, with the goal of having an even distribution that keeps the trailer level and stable. When the weight is not distributed properly, it can cause a host of problems that can make your trip a lot less enjoyable.
Now, you might be thinking, “What’s the big deal? I’ll just load everything in the back, and I’ll be good to go!” But hold on there, partner! Having too much weight at the back of the trailer can cause some serious problems that can put you and your cargo at risk.
Below, we’ll explore what happens when the weight is too far back on the trailer and why proper weight distribution is so important. So buckle up, and let’s get started!
3 Common Causes of Poor Trailer Weight Distribution
Proper weight distribution on your trailer is critical for maintaining stability and control while towing. Unfortunately, there are several common causes of poor weight distribution that can lead to unsafe and uncomfortable towing experiences. Here are some of the most common causes to be aware of:
1. Overloading the Rear of the Trailer
One of the biggest culprits of poor trailer weight distribution is overloading the rear of the trailer. This is a common mistake, as many people assume that placing heavy items at the back of the trailer will help with weight distribution. However, this can actually cause the opposite effect and make the trailer too heavy at the back.
2. Incorrect Positioning of Cargo
Another common cause of poor weight distribution is the incorrect positioning of cargo. For example, placing all the heavy items on one side of the trailer can cause the trailer to lean to one side, which can be dangerous and increase the risk of a rollover.
3. Unevenly Distributed Weight
Unevenly distributed weight is another cause of poor weight distribution that can be difficult to detect. This can happen when the weight is evenly distributed but not placed correctly, causing the trailer to become unstable and sway while in motion.
Now that you know the common causes of poor trailer weight distribution, it’s essential to understand the effects of having too much weight at the back of the trailer. Let’s take a closer look at the risks and dangers of improper weight distribution.
5 Effects of Having Too Much Weight at the Back of the Trailer
If the weight is too far back on a trailer, it can cause the trailer to sway or fishtail, making it difficult to control the vehicle. This can lead to dangerous driving conditions and increase the risk of accidents. It can also cause damage to the trailer and its contents.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these effects:
1. Reduced Stability
Having too much weight at the back of the trailer can cause it to become unstable, which means it will be more difficult to control on the road. This can lead to fishtailing or swaying, especially at high speeds, and make the trailer more prone to tipping over.
2. Inadequate Braking
When there is too much weight at the back of the trailer, it can affect the trailer’s braking ability. The trailer’s brakes may not engage as efficiently, and it may take longer to stop. This can be especially dangerous in emergency situations where a quick stop is necessary.
3. Increased Swaying
Having too much weight at the back of the trailer can cause it to sway from side to side. This can be a dangerous situation, especially if the swaying becomes more pronounced and harder to control.
Swaying can be caused by various factors, such as high winds or sudden movements, but having too much weight at the back of the trailer can exacerbate this issue.
4. Difficulty in Steering
When there is too much weight at the back of the trailer, it can become difficult to steer, especially when making turns or navigating around tight corners. This can make it challenging to keep the trailer on the road and avoid obstacles.
5. Risk of Jackknifing
Finally, having too much weight at the back of the trailer can increase the risk of jackknifing. This occurs when the trailer’s wheels lock up, causing the trailer to skid and pivot around the tow vehicle. This can result in the trailer swinging out of control, causing a potentially catastrophic accident.
How to Check for Proper Trailer Weight Distribution
As we’ve already highlighted, proper weight distribution is essential for safe and comfortable towing. Here are some tips on how to check and ensure that your trailer’s weight is properly distributed:
1. Using a Tongue Weight Scale
One of the best ways to ensure proper weight distribution is by using a tongue weight scale. This tool measures the weight of the trailer’s tongue and ensures that it falls within the recommended range for your trailer’s specifications. This helps you to avoid having too much weight at the back of the trailer.
2. Positioning Cargo Correctly
It’s essential to position your cargo correctly to distribute the weight evenly throughout the trailer. Heavy items should be placed over the trailer’s axles, while lighter items should be placed closer to the front of the trailer. This helps to balance the weight and prevent any instability or swaying while towing.
3. Balancing the Weight of the Trailer
In addition to positioning the cargo correctly, it’s essential to balance the weight of the trailer. This means ensuring that the weight of the trailer is distributed evenly on both sides. An unbalanced trailer can cause problems with handling and stability, making it more difficult to control on the road.
4. Checking Tire Pressure
Another essential step is to check the tire pressure on your trailer. Incorrect tire pressure can also affect the trailer’s stability and handling. Make sure to follow the recommended tire pressure levels for your trailer, and always check before hitting the road.
5. Consult a Professional
If you’re unsure about how to achieve proper weight distribution, or you’re still experiencing issues after following these steps, it’s best to consult a professional. A trailer expert can help you determine the ideal weight distribution for your trailer and ensure that your load is safe and secure.
Related: How to Level a Travel Trailer With a Slide Out Like a Pro
Conclusion – What Happens if the Weight is Too Far Back on the Trailer?
If the weight is too far back on a trailer, it can cause the trailer to sway or fishtail, making it difficult to control the vehicle. This can lead to dangerous driving conditions and increase the risk of accidents. It can also cause damage to the trailer and its contents. It’s important to properly distribute the weight on a trailer to ensure safe and stable towing.
Remember, always check your trailer’s weight capacity, position the heaviest items in the right place, balance the load side to side, and test the weight distribution before hitting the road. And, if you’re ever unsure about how to achieve proper weight distribution, don’t hesitate to consult a professional.