There are two very important factors when selecting a trailer hitch, one is going to be your gross trailer weight and second will be your tongue weight. When determining both of these weights you will want to make sure the trailer is fully loaded. Once you have your trailers total weight you will want to check and see how much your vehicle is capable of towing. You can usually find this information in your owner’s manual or call your local dealership.
Gross trailer weight will be determined when the trailer is fully loaded and ready to be towed. If you do not know what the weight of your trailer is fully loaded it would be best to take it to a public scale and have it weighed. This will be your most accurate way of knowing exactly what your trailer weight is fully loaded and not be guessing.
The tongue weight will be the determined by what the downward force of the tongue is on the trailer hitch and trailer ball. The weight on your hitch will be supported by your vehicles suspension. Your tongue weight should be between 10 to 15 percent of the total trailer weight. If your tongue weight is going to be under 300 pounds you can use your bathroom scale to determine the weight by putting the coupler of the trailer on the scale. Make sure that the trailer coupler is at the same height that your tow vehicle would be at. If you tongue weight is going to go over 300 pounds it is best to go to a public scale were they can weigh it more accurately.
After determining the gross trailer weight and gross tongue weight you can then make sure the hitch on your tow vehicle is rated for the weight of the trailer. Trailer hitches come in several different classes from 1 to 5. If your tow vehicle does not have a trailer hitch you can buy one from your dealership or any auto parts store. Make sure and take the trailer weight with you so you can determine the proper hitch to install.