It’s dangerous to tow with too much or too little tongue weight. Too much and you overload the rear suspension of the vehicle and the front tires don’t grip as well. Too little and the trailer sways side-to-side as if pivoting over the wheels. Either way, it makes for poor handling and increases your chance of a crash.

As a rule of thumb, a trailer should be loaded so that 10-12% of its weight is on the hitch—without exceeding its capacity or the maximum tongue weight and gross trailer weight listed in the vehicle’s manual. Most people know what their trailers weigh empty and it’s not that hard to figure out the weight of things you put into it. The difficult part is knowing how much of that weight is on the tongue. With a very light trailer tongue weight can be measured with a simple bathroom scale. Heavy trailers are trickier, and the tongue weight will vary based on how you distribute the load.

Ideally you would be able to measure tongue weight every time you connect the trailer—which is exactly what the Weigh Safe Drop Hitch is designed to do. The unit consists of an adjustable aluminum drop hitch that installs in the towing vehicle’s receiver. The ball is attached to a “scale” (actually, a load cell) inside the hitch that displays the tongue weight on an integral dial that shows the load in pounds. Every time you connect a trailer you will be able see the tongue weight and know if you need to redistribute or lighten the load. Weigh Safe offers 8 different models—for 2- and 2.5-inch receivers and with drops of 4, 6, 8, and 10 inches. Each includes a 2- and 2 5/16-inch stainless steel ball.

Maximum towing weight varies by ball and receiver, and is between 7,500 and 12,500 pounds. The maximum tongue weight for all models is 1,500 pounds.

Weigh Safe Drop Hitch
Price: $278-298