# Hitch Weight Calculation

by Amy L. Gouger

Many factors go into successfully and safely hauling any trailer with any truck. Each piece — the hitch, the hitch ball, trailer tongue and truck — can only handle a specific amount of weight. To determine how much the setup can handle, load the trailer with weight not exceeding the maximum weight for the weakest component.

### Hitch Classes

Manufacturers determine the maximum weight capacity of a each hitch and stamp it with a class rating. Class one handles less weight than class five.

### Towing Capacity

Manufacturers determine the towing capacity (GTC) -- the maximum trailer weight the truck can haul -- of a truck and usually put the number in the manual or on their website.

### Tongue Weight

Each hitch can only handle a certain amount of weight pressing down vertically. Tongue weight equals 10 to 15 percent of the trailer weight.

### Calculation

Add the weight of the trailer to the weight of the stuff within the trailer. For example, a horse trailer weighs 2,800 lbs and has two horses in it; the total gross trailer weight is 4,800 lbs. Average horses weigh 1,000 lbs. each. Multiply by 15 percent. This is the tongue weight, sometimes called hitch weight.