A Brief Explanation of Tongue Weight (TW)

When it comes to safe towing, the most important factor is knowledge. And part of this knowledge is knowing your tow weights. This includes the weight of your load, the capacity of your towing vehicle, and your towing trailer’s tongue weight. Most experienced towers are familiar with their load weight and capacities, but many tend to overlook tongue weight, which is equally important as the rest.

Continue reading for a brief explanation of these weights, with a primary focus on tongue weight.

Indianapolis Towing & Recovery 317-247-8484

What is Tongue Weight?

Tongue weight is the downward force or pressure the trailer puts on the back of the towing vehicle (specifically on the ball by the trailer coupler). Why is this weight measurement important? Well, too much weight on the back of the vehicle can cause it to raise in the front, thus making the rear brakes work too hard. Too little weight can cause the trailer and vehicle to be unleveled, which is dangerous while taking turns or driving at high speeds.

Tongue weight should never be more than 15% of the total trailer weight, including the weight of its cargo. This weight calculation is referred to as “gross trailer weight”, which is the same as “gross vehicle mass”, or “GVM.” See our blog, “Towing Acronyms for Vehicle Manufacturer Specifications” to learn all the weight definitions for safe towing. For now, here are two additional towing weight definitions you need to know in order to tow a trailer safely:

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) – The acronym, “GVWR” stands for “Gross Vehicle Weight Rating”, which refers to the maximum recommended weight of the vehicle or trailer when it is fully loaded in adherence to the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) – The acronym, “GCVWR” stands for “Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating”, which refers to the combined weight of a trailer and the towing vehicle, including all passengers, as well as, fuel, equipment, and the cargo on the trailer.

Unsure of Your Towing Weight Capacities?

If you are not sure what your weight capacities are for your trailer and towing vehicle, refer to the owners’ manual for both. See our blog, “What is a Compliance Certification Label and Where is it on My Car?” to learn more about the importance of calculating these figures. If you need to replace a lost owners’ manuals for your trailer and/or vehicle, you can download them online, sometimes for free.

Need Professional Towing?

Zore's Towing Indianapolis 317-247-8484
Indianapolis Towing & Roadside Assistance 317-247-8484

Call Zore’s Inc. at 317-247-8484 for friendly 24 hour towing in Central Indiana. We open a family-owned and operated business for 90 years, so you can trust us for prompt and professional service. We are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year, so our certified tow truck operators can be there for you anytime, any day! Request free estimates, anytime.

Before and After Safe Towing Tips

If you are planning to hook up a trailer and tow a cargo, it is important to know exactly how to do so safely, whether you are traveling a long distance or just around the corner. Keep in mind that towing safety starts before you leave the drive, and continues a long the journey.

Continue reading to learn some vital before and after towing tips that will help to ensure everyone’s safety, including your cargo.

Indianapolis Towing & Recovery 317-247-8484

Indianapolis Towing & Recovery 317-247-8484

Before You Tow

There are several things you need to do before you even put the keys in the ignition and drive away. In fact, the safest form of towing involves a focus on preparation. Here is what you need to do before heading out on the road with your rig:

If you are towing a vehicle, place an “On Tow” sign in the rear window to alert other drivers to be cautious. Many towing ropes and poles come with this sign, but you may have to purchase it separately. Do not make your own sign; store-bought signs are made with safety features, like reflective technology.

Always do a full inspection of your towing ropes and poles. Look for damage, defects, abrasives, rips, tears, and frays. These are all signs that your equipment is unsafe to use. Do not use your towing ropes or poles if they show signs of damage like this.

If you are towing another vehicle, be sure to leave the ignition switch in the “ON” position. This will disengage the steering lock, allowing for more controlled towing. This is especially important for vehicles that have power steering and/or power-assisted steering.

After You Hit the Road

Once you are on the road with your cargo in tow, the responsibility to tow safely remains just as strong. The most important duty is to drive with extreme caution and care. However, there is more to it than that. Here are some important reminders for safe towing while out on the open road:

Maintain a minimal speed. If towing another vehicle, try to remain under 20 miles per hour. If you are towing anything else, stay 5 to 10 mph BELOW the mandatory speed limit for optimal safety. If you are driving too fast, you can lose control of your reaction times, and take much longer to come to a stop.

Relating to speed and caution, be sure to signal and plan maneuvers ahead of time. This helps to forewarn other drivers on the road. This includes using your turn signals and hazard lights. Furthermore, try not to brake suddenly, and instead, plan ahead in advance.

Operate the clutch slowly and carefully so to not snap or snag a towing rope. This can cause the towed cargo to jerk forward suddenly, which can cause all sorts of dangerous situations. For the same reasons, do not suddenly change direction or use excessive maneuvers.

Need a Professional Tow?

Zore's Towing Indianapolis 317-247-8484

Indianapolis Towing & Roadside Assistance 317-247-8484

Call Zore’s Towing at 317-247-8484 for safe and affordable Indianapolis tow truck services you can trust. Our licensed and insured tow truck operators provide punctual and prompt tow truck services, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week! We also provide numerous community services, roadside assistance services, wrecker and recovery services, and much more. Call 317-247-8484 to request a free estimate, anytime!

3 Vital Tips for Towing a Camper This Summer

Summer is a time for family vacations. And although many families are catching planes and trains, road trips are still a popular and traditional way for families to travel together! If a long distance road trip is part of the plan for your family vacation this summer, it is likely that you will be hauling a camper along with all your vacation supplies. Just be sure you remember how to tow a camper, safely.

Continue reading to review the top three safety tips for towing a camper.

Indianapolis Towing 317-247-8484

Long Distance Towing 317-247-8484

Adhere to Weight Capacity

It is vital to know and understand the weight capacity of your vehicle in order to prevent damage to your vehicles, as well as, serious accidents. Your camper should come with an owners’ manual that will tell you the total weight of the vehicle you are planning to tow. With this number in mind, compare it to the weight of the vehicle doing the towing. Generally speaking, the heavier your vehicle is, the larger the load it can haul. In contrast, if you have a lighter vehicle, it will only be able to haul light loads.

Use Proper Distribution

Not only does your load weight need to be an appropriate match to your vehicle’s towing capacity, it is vital to evenly distribute the weight in both vehicles. It is common practice for travelers to pack up their vehicles with luggage and supplies for their vacation, as well as their camper or RV. This is perfectly safe and acceptable so long as the weight ratios remain similar in both vehicles. Packing too much in the camper can outweigh the vehicle towing it, which can lead to distress on the hitch and the vehicle doing the hauling.

Use the Proper Towing Hitch

It is crucial to use the right towing hitch for the type of towing you need to do. Your towing hitch set up should be able to hold the total trailer weight of the camper. A stabilizer bar is another tool that can greatly reduce the chances of swaying and swerving on the road. It is highly recommended to use a stabilizer bar along with your tow hitch to ensure a safe and secure ride. Once you have the right hitch, it is helpful to simply back the vehicle up to the front of the camper. The towing ball should be set directly underneath the hitch so that you can lower the hitch over the ball and complete all the necessary connections.

Professional Long-Distance Towing

Zore's Towing Indianapolis 317-247-8484

Zore’s Towing Indianapolis 317-247-8484

Call Zore’s Towing at 317-247-8484 for professional Indianapolis towing service you can trust. Our licensed and insured tow truck operators provide 24 hour wrecker and towing services, including light duty tows, heavy duty tows, long distance tows, roadside assistance, and more. Request a free estimate or emergency service, anytime!