Loading the Trailer
and Tow Vehicle
When loading your trailer and tow vehicle it is crucial that you pay attention to the gross vehicle weight limits as well as the tongue weight. An incorrectly loaded trailer can easily create a very dangerous situation.
Keep in mind that if you fill your water tank, at 8 lbs a gallon, a small 20 gallon tank weighs 160 lbs. The load that you put in the trailer needs to be evenly divided side to side so that each side of the trailer has about the same amount of weight on it. If the tires are not evenly loaded, side sway can be more pronounced. Because you are balancing your loads on the trailer axle, while loading or unloading it is possible to get too much load to the rear and tip the trailer backwards, especially if you are not connected to your tow vehicle. The heaviest loads should always be placed between the trailer wheels. It’s also important to make sure that you load the trailer so that the tongue is heavy, but not overloaded. Trailers travel best when the load is slightly forward of center. This extra weight on the tow vehicle helps keep weight on the rear wheels so that the rear end of the tow vehicle doesn’t slid out and jack knife.
On larger trailers, you need to consider what happens to the load if you stop quick. Items that are not stowed correctly can become dangerous missiles in a emergency stop or crash. Even on smaller trailers, dangerous load shifts can occur on cornering or stopping that can cause problems. All loads need to be secured from moving forward.