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If the thought of “calculating” something fills you with dread and reminds you of math class, you’re not alone. Yet, when you are towing it is very important to know how to calculate gross trailer weight (GTW). This is necessary for a safe and secure ride. Thankfully, finding out your gross trailer weight doesn’t require any difficult math equations, percentages, or complicated procedures. It’s pretty simple math!

Why is Gross Trailer Weight Important?

Gross trailer weight is critical to know when towing a trailer. This number is the actual weight of your fully loaded trailer. It includes the weight of the trailer itself, plus everything loaded onto it or into it. This means any cargo, passengers, animals, equipment, fluids, and everything else. The gross trailer weight is also important to know so that you do not exceed the maximum permissible weight when fully loaded.

How to do it

To begin, you’ll need to know the weight of your trailer alone. If your trailer does not have an information sticker that indicates the trailer’s “dry” or “curb weight”, which means unloaded, then you will need to weigh it yourself. Most areas have public scales. When it’s your turn on the scale, you’ll need to be absolutely sure that you have disconnected the trailer from your truck. You want the weight of the trailer alone, so be sure that the tow vehicle is pulled far enough forward so it’s not touching any part of the scale and messing up the numbers you’re seeing.

Remember, you want the weight of a fully-loaded trailer. It’s the actual weight of the trailer after you’ve loaded all of your stuff into it. Any weight that you add to the trailer adds to the gross trailer weight. This could be anything from horses to snowmobiles to firewood to food. It’s as simple as that! This is where the math comes in, but it’s only addition.

Safely Tow Your Cargo with a Fifth Wheel Hitch

This weight is something that every driver of a towed vehicle should know. Once you know your GTW, you can make sure you load your trailer appropriately, meaning that your tongue weight stays within 10-15% of the GTW. Anything that is lower or higher than this range can cause trailer sway. You want to stay away from anything that decreases the towing performance of your vehicle and makes you less safe.

Once you have your gross trailer weight, the only thing left to do is to ensure you have the right hitch that can hold that much weight as well. Just because your trailer can hold that much doesn’t mean your hitch can! Be sure to browse our selection of hitches and find the one that is durable enough for the job ahead.