You might have just purchased your first recreation vehicle (RV) and are hoping to take it out for a drive this spring or summer. Travelling in an RV gives you the flexibility to go wherever you want, whenever you want, so you can easily change your itinerary while still feeling comfortable with your sleeping arrangements, air conditioning, and other amenities. It is also likely more cost-effective than staying in hotels and you can even prepare your own meals yourself! As well, with the COVID-19 pandemic, travelling in an RV may be the safer option compared to staying in crowded places. You can maintain social distancing and minimize contact with others while still enjoying your vacation. If you are travelling with others, it also allows you to bond over shared experiences and create lasting memories. Before you get started, however, there are certain things that you want to take into account. The first of which would have to be the weight distribution.
What is a Weight Distribution Hitch?
A weight distribution hitch is an essential component for towing large trailers and RVs. Its purpose is to distribute the weight of the trailer more evenly across the tow vehicle’s axles, which helps to improve stability, handling, and control. When you tow a heavy trailer or RV, the weight of the trailer can cause the front of the tow vehicle to lift or the rear to sag. This can affect the steering and braking of the vehicle, making the tow vehicle less stable and increasing the risk of accidents on the road.
This handy hitch helps to address this problem by transferring some of the weight of the RV/trailer to the front axle of the tow vehicle and the trailer’s axles. This can make towing a large trailer or RV safer and more comfortable for the driver and passengers since it makes the ride smoother and less jarring.
Why is Weight Distribution Important for Stability?
One of the main benefits of a weight distribution hitch is improved stability which can reduce sway and improve control. It also assists with the steering response and reduces the risk of the tow vehicle or RV fishtailing. By enhancing the brake performance, the hitch lessens stopping distances and makes it easier to control the RV when you are coming to a stop.
Furthermore, towing an RV without a hitch can cause excessive wear and tear on the tow vehicle’s suspension, tires, and brakes.
What to Consider when Buying
If you decide that you don’t want to purchase one of these hitches, there are some concerns that we wanted to note. Not only will you have pooer handing over the vehicle as mentioned above, but you may also get overloaded axles which can cause damage to the suspension and other components. If there is enough strain, it can, unfortunately, lead to equipment failure and the need for costly repairs. As well, uneven weight distribution can increase wind resistance and drag, which can reduce fuel efficiency and increase fuel costs.
What are the Hitch Components?
Here are the parts of the weight distribution hitch and how it works:
- Attachment: The weight distribution hitch attaches to the tow vehicle’s trailer hitch receiver and to the trailer’s tongue.
- Tension bars: The weight distribution hitch also has tension bars that extend from the hitch head to the trailer’s A-frame. The tension bars help to distribute the weight of the trailer and create a level ride between the tow vehicle and the trailer.
- Spring bars: There are spring bars that are attached to the tension bars and the hitch head. The spring bars transfer some of the tongue weight of the trailer to the front axle of the tow vehicle and the trailer’s axles.
- Adjustment: The tension and spring bars can be adjusted to ensure the weight is evenly distributed between the tow vehicle and the trailer. This adjustment is necessary because each trailer has a different weight distribution and tongue weight.
What Hitch Accessories are Available?
There are several weight distribution hitch accessories that can be used with an RV to improve towing performance, safety, and comfort.
Here are some examples:
- Sway control devices help to reduce the side-to-side movement of the RV or trailer while it is being towed. There are different types of sway control devices, such as friction sway control bars, dual cam sway control, and electronic sway control systems.
- A weight distribution shank or the adjustable ball mount are specialized hitch extensions that can be used to adjust the height of the hitch head to match the height of the RV’s coupler. This can help to improve weight distribution and ensure a level ride.
- Hitch locks may be used to secure the weight distribution hitch to the tow vehicle’s hitch receiver and to prevent theft of the hitch and RV.
- Weight distribution storage bags can be used to store the spring bars and other hitch components when they are not being used. This can keep the many parts clean and organized and protect them from damage
If you are at all interested, there are many online retailers that sell weight distribution hitches, such as Amazon, Camping World, etrailer and more. RV dealerships and trailer supply or automotive stores often sell them as well, so keep your eyes out. When shopping, be sure to research and compare the different brands and models to find the one that best meets your needs and budget. It’s also important to ensure that the hitch is compatible with your RV or trailer and that it’s properly installed for safe and effective towing.
All in all, a weight distribution hitch greatly helps to redistribute the tongue weight of a trailer evenly across the axles of both the tow vehicle and the trailer. This helps to improve handling, stability, and control while towing. Benefits include improved stability, better handling, safer braking, reduced wear and tear, and a more comfortable ride, so it is imperative for a smoother ride. We hope that this advice encourages you to seek this out as an option so that you can have one of the best rides you can this summer!