Weight Distribution Hitch Buying Guide

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Weight Distribution Hitch Buying Guide

A weight distribution hitch or sway distribution hitch is a type of tow bar intended to evenly distribute weight across the vehicle rather than solely on the back axle. Typically, weight distribution hitches use spring bars to manage this. With weight more evenly distributed across the vehicle, the tow hitch can be supported to the maximum capacity of the vehicle's weight limit without the rear of the vehicle sinking too close to the axle or ground.

Another benefit of weight distribution hitches is that they can make driving smoother because they balance out weight. Weight distribution hitches make turning and driving easier, which is great for anyone who is not experienced with driving a vehicle with a trailer. Buyers who are looking for a weight distribution hitch should consider the weight, the fit, the length, the attachment method, and whether or not a weight distribution hitch is necessary for the load being carried.

Is Weight Distribution Necessary?

Not everyone needs a weight distribution hitch, even if they intend to tow things frequently. Weight distribution is mostly useful for larger loads that might cause more problems with driving. For this reason, people who are hauling loads that are 50 per cent or more of the weight of the vehicle, who are hauling loads physically larger than the vehicle, or who would like to tow to the highest capacity of the vehicle should consider investing in a weight distribution hitch. Other reasons why weight distribution might be necessary include that the vehicle is difficult to stop or sways while driving with a trailer, if the rear of the vehicle sags down when hooked to a trailer, or if the lights on the trailer point up.

Anyone who does not have any of these problems likely does not need a weight distribution hitch. Because weight distribution is more expensive than a standard hitch, choosing the standard can save money. However, anyone who plans on hauling very heavy or large loads can definitely benefit from weight distribution, even if they do not intend to always haul large loads.

Fitting the Weight Distribution Hitch

The next step to purchasing a weight distribution hitch is to choose the right fit by measuring the vehicle. Some hitches and tow bars are sold for specific vehicles; however, most can be purchased and used with any vehicle as long as they can be attached to the frame of the vehicle. Because weight distribution is typically used for large loads, these tow bars should not be attached to the bumper, even on a heavy-duty truck.

It should be possible to measure the distance between the frame and the outer side of the bumper to get the required length of the hitch. It is also possible to measure the distance between the frames connected by the axles if the hitch is intended to span the entire length of the rear bumper. This type of hitch offers more weight distribution and more strength but can be very expensive.

Choosing a Weight Distribution System

There are multiple types of weight distribution systems and each is usually set up to handle a slightly different amount of pressure, or to handle it in different ways. Some different types of systems are purely there because some are more affordable than others. Considerations include the weight rating, the load handling, as well as the tongue weight.

Weight Rating

Weight distribution hitches are given a weight rating according to two individual specifications. The first is the tongue weight rating, meaning the amount of weight that the tongue can support, and the vehicle weight rating, which is the amount of weight that the vehicle can successfully handle. Buyers should choose each rating based on their vehicle and the load they intend to carry.

The tongue weight includes the actual physical amount of weight that the weight distribution hitch is designed to balance. While with a normal hitch, it is fine to choose a tow bar that is given a higher weight rating, distribution hitches are designed to compensate for a certain amount of weight. This means that choosing a larger weight could unbalance the trailer and actually might push the hitch up off the ball. If the distribution hitch is rated for 2,500 kilogrammes, then it should be used for very heavy loads of 2,000 or more kilogrammes. If the hitch is rated for 1,000 kilogrammes, then it is fine to use it for a load of 800 kilogrammes and up.

Sway Control

Sway control is another important factor to consider because it affects the amount of control that the hitch puts on the trailer. If the trailer sways a great deal without the weight distribution hitch, then more sway control is necessary. On the other hand, if the trailer is already quite stable, it is a better idea to save money and go with lesser sway control. The following sway control options are usually available.

Sway Control Type

Definition

Independent Sway Control

A separate bar that attaches to the trailer and the hitch

Dependent Friction Sway Control

Two- or four-point sway control comprised of bars built into the weight distribution hitch

Active Sway Control

Built into the hitch but uses cams to actively prevent rather than minimise sway

Sway control is present in and recommended for most weight distribution hitches. However, some hitches are sold with no sway control; in this case, it is very easy to purchase a bar sway control or independent sway control system to attach to the hitch. Most buyers can choose what to purchase based on budget and needs as well as the estimated sway of the trailer.

Choosing a New or a Used Hitch

Weight distribution hitches are available in new and used condition, especially from online sites like eBay. Used items are a great purchase idea for anyone who is on a budget because they are often the same quality as a new item but much cheaper. Used distribution hitches should be examined carefully for damage including broken parts, missing parts, rusted pieces, or bent pieces but otherwise should be an equally good choice for most buyers. Anyone who is making an online purchase should pay attention to the listing description as well as any photos to ensure that the seller has not listed it as parts missing or damaged before buying it.

Buying a Weight Distribution Hitch on eBay

You can choose to look for a weight distribution hitch on eBay and can even use the site to look for deals on auto accessories like hitches. Sellers on eBay list both new and used items so it is important to check the condition before committing to a purchase. Also, eBay sellers can list from anywhere so it is also a good idea check the cost of shipping as well as the estimated delivery date. Some sellers might not want to ship a very heavy hitch, so it might also require local pick-up.

Use the search bar to find a specific weight distribution hitch. For example, searching for the popular brand 'Hayman weight distribution hitch' would bring up hitches from the brand. Read the description and check the seller's feedback before buying the hitch, and then make sure that the pick-up or delivery options available are feasible based on your budget and location.

Conclusion

There are several considerations for anyone who wants to purchase a weight distribution hitch but the weight load of the hitch is one of the most important. Buyers should have an idea of how much weight their vehicle can tow, how much weight their load is, and how much weight the hitch has to support in total. Hitches are typically rated with at least two weight ratings, so it is usually easy to find an appropriate hitch.

Other considerations include the type of sway control, which should be chosen according to the sway of the trailer. Buyers can also choose between purchasing new or used distribution hitches although this is usually a personal and budget based consideration. Finally, weight distribution hitches are sometimes available where trailers are sold, sometimes available in shops that sell car accessories, and almost always available on online stores like eBay.

Weight Distribution Hitch|Trailer|Tow Bar|Sway Control|Bumper

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