When you’re cruising down the highway, and your trailer starts to sway, it’s genuinely one of the scariest feelings in the world. To prevent this or stop your trailer from bouncing up and down – you might need a weight distribution hitch. Lots of RVers probably need them and don’t even realize it.
It’s pretty quick and easy to install a weight distribution hitch. Once you do, there’s a good chance your travels will be smoother and safer.
What is a Weight Distribution Hitch?
When you hook up a bumper pull trailer, there may be a noticeable sag right there at the hitch point. This is sometimes called “squat.” Other terms are “sink” and “dive.” It’s an indication that there’s too much weight on the tow vehicle’s back end and not enough on the front.
A weight distribution hitch is a simple mechanical device that helps to balance the load you’re towing. It transfers some of the weight from the rear axle of the tow vehicle to the front axle. This helps to stabilize the ride.
How Does a Weight Distribution Hitch Work?
Installed underneath the tongue, it equalizes the load from rear to front through the principle of leverage. It has adjustable spring bars (or chains, in some cases) that let you change the amount of tension on the hitch.
It redistributes the trailer’s weight, in essence, by moving the hitch point toward the rear. How much you have to adjust it depends on the weight of the trailer and the tongue weight.
The result is better control of the vehicle and less wear and tear. It can also allow you to tow more weight safely.
When Do You Need a Weight Distribution Hitch?
Are your headlights shining up into the trees? This is an extreme example, but it’s a sign that you need an adjustment. This means the front of your tow vehicle is pointing upward.
When this happens, it means you have less control of the vehicle. Your steering is going to be compromised, and so is your braking ability. If you ever have trouble stopping or slowing down, this could be the reason.
Too much load on the rear end means more wear on your rear tires, so an unbalanced load could mean you have to replace them sooner. And, of course, constant swaying or bouncing can cause severe damage to both your vehicle and your travel trailer.
If you’re close to your towing capacity, a weight distribution hitch can probably help your performance. If you have a surplus of towing capacity and haven’t experienced any problems, you might not need to invest in one just yet.
Best Weight Distribution Hitches
There are many different weight distribution hitches available. Here are the most popular on the market, with the highest review from users:
- UNPARALLELED SWAY CONTROL, NO BOUNCE: The Andersen 'No Sway' Weight Distribution Hitch doesn't just raise the bar, it...
- SELF-ADJUSTS & EASY BACKING UP: Andersen Hitches sway control system self-adjusts! AND if you need to back up, no sweat!...
Unlike the others on our list, the Andersen hitch uses chains rather than steel springs to adjust the tension. It does use urethane springs to absorb bounce, however, and it’s self-adjustable.
At around 60 pounds, it’s lighter than many others but also more expensive. It comes with a 2” or 2 5/16” ball that also doubles as a standard hitch ball. The hitch bar itself fits a two or 2.5-inch receiver and secures in place with a single pin.
With the 2 5/16” ball, it handles up to 14,000 pounds and a tongue weight of 1,400 pounds. With the 2” ball, it can handle up to 10,000 pounds and a tongue weight of 1,000 pounds.
It’s easy to install and easy to remove. It doesn’t require pry bars or extra lubrication – it uses a grease-free system in which the ball and coupler move together.
The unit generally gets excellent reviews. Some users have complained that the initial setup is tricky. Others say they’ve had trouble reaching anyone for customer service.
Curt Hitch with Sway Control
- LEVEL TOWING. This weight distribution hitch offers a smoother ride and improved control by distributing the tongue...
- CONTINUOUS LUBRICATION. This CURT weight distribution hitch with sway control is equipped with an integrated lubrication...
The CURT 17063 MV Round Bar uses a pair of spring bars to leverage the trailer tongue weight and spread it across all axles. Instead of using chains, it connects to the trailer frame using adjustable support brackets that hold the spring bars in place.
While regular spring bars angle from side to side, the integrated sway control arms resist this movement and keep the trailer better aligned. The unique system builds up pressure to actively stop sway and then relaxes to make smooth turns.
This weight distribution hitch uses powerful trunnion spring bars and an adjustable shank that fits a 2-inch receiver. It features a tilting head with hex castle nuts for easy adjustment without completely disassembling the hitch. Additionally, it is rated to tow 10,000 to 14,000 pounds gross trailer weight and 1,000 to 1,400 pounds tongue weight. The hitch head has two easy-access grease fittings for lubrication.
The unit is a bit heavy at 100 pounds, so you will probably need some assistance to install and remove it. Some customers have reported that the protective black carbide powder coating wears off quickly.
Camco Hitch with Sway Control
- Cutting-edge innovations, reliable design, solid value
- Fits multiple makes and models (contact seller with your vehicle for fitment compatibility information)
Some weight distribution hitches with sway control hinder turning to some degree because they lock the trailer straight. Not so with the Camco Eaz-Lift ReCurve R6. Instead, the sway control feature automatically disengages when you turn. It also can be turned off entirely if you need to.
Users of this Camco model also love that the spring bars are top loading because this means better ground clearance. The streamlined design also allows the hitch and the trailer to move as one.
This model comes with a 2 5/16” hitch ball and a 2-inch-square hitch bar with a length of 12 inches. The spring bars themselves are 30 inches long. The Camco has a maximum tongue weight rating of 1,000 pounds and a maximum gross weight rating of 10,000 pounds.
It’s a bit pricey but is considered to be very user friendly. Unfortunately, there have been some reports of the bar pins breaking or being hard to remove.
How to Choose a Weight Distribution Hitch
To find the best hitch for you, know your weights. Specifically, you need to determine your Gross Trailer Weight and your tongue weight (which is generally considered 10 to 15 percent of the gross weight).
Select a hitch with a weight rating that’s a little bit above what your trailer weighs when it’s fully loaded.
You might be tempted to get one with a much bigger capacity just to be on the safe side. Don’t do that, though. If a hitch is designed for a much heavier trailer, you could wind up with a stiff, uncomfortable ride.
Last update on 2021-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API