Skip to content

Tow Ball Weight Information

Tow Ball on the back of a truck |


Tow Ball Weight Information


Understanding tow ball weight effect on your trailer and towing vehicle is essential to secure your towing. Tow ball weight is the total weight that is placed on the towing truck’s tow ball by the towed vehicle. Tow ball weight should not be more than the total weight indicated on the tongue of a vehicle’s manual or tow bar. When the tow ball weight is too much, the front end of the vehicle is lifted. This, in turn, reduces the ability to safely steer and brake the vehicle. On the other hand, if the tow ball weight is too light, the towing truck is more likely to sway. Tow ball weight is associated with the following weights.


Tare Weight

This is the total mass of a truck without non-standard accessories or payload. The truck’s tare is always specified on the identification plate of the vehicle. A certificate of the weight can be obtained from the trailer’s weighbridge. Any weighbridge can perform the weight measurements and issue you with the tare weight license for your truck. This is important especially if your truck identification plate is not labeled with the weight.


Gross Trailer Weight

Gross trailer weight is the maximum mass that is allowed on a particular truck. It’s the mass that can be supported by a truck’s axle(s). It’s the total weight of a trailer when its loaded to the capacity. This includes the weight of the trailer itself, cargo and its fluid. This weight is rated by the manufacturers to tow. It doesn’t include the tow ball weight. It only included the maximum allowable trailer payload. This weight is normally different from axle rating. Its normally listed on the trailer’s identification plate of vehicle’s manual.


Aggregate Trailer Weight

Aggregate trailer weight is the maximum payload plus the tare weight of your truck when unhitched from a tow truck. This is the maximum a caravan on transit is allowed to measure. This is the maximum weight you should measure on a weighbridge when the entire uncoupled trailer is measured. This weight is listed on the identification plate of the vehicle.


Towing vehicle payload Weight

This is the total weight of everything that is added to the car. This includes the non-standard accessories, passengers, extra fuel, water and all the loads on the towing vehicle. The tow ball weight counts on the towing truck’s payload mass.


Tow ball weight is very critical in towing process. You can change the tow ball weight by applying two tricks on your payload. First, redistribute or remove the payload. This is simply moving the payload from the front end of your truck back to the trailer’s center of gravity which is normally over the axle. If the weight is too much reduce the load and carry only the maximum weight indicated for easy towing. Secondly, you can install a mass distribution hitch on your towing truck. This helps in cases where you cannot shift the tow ball weight on the towing truck’s center of gravity. A weight distribution hitch will be able to shift all weight.


Leave a Comment