Do I Really Need a Weight Distribution Hitch? Let’s Find Out

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Last Updated on July 21, 2022

Weight distribution hitch is a gem of a mechanism that can really rock your stability and control game for the whole towing experience. However just because it’s a great setup, it does not mean you need it at all times. Instead, in a few situations or cases where the usage is a must, that’s how you can define it.

Now do I really need a weight distribution hitch; how does anyone specifically determine that?

Well, a bumper trailer hitch ball user, anyone towing more than 5000 pounds or using a heavy-duty truck for a significant weight will require a weight-distribution hitch indeed. 

Let’s dig deeper and specify whether or not you need one!

Do I Really Need a Weight Distribution Hitch

You Do Really Need a Weight Distribution Hitch in These Situations

I’ll jump straight into the top situations where a weight-distribution hitch is a must!

1. If You Use a Bumper Trailer Hitch Ball or Deal With 5000+ Pound Load

Bumper trailer hitches are quite common and are often seen for towing up to 5000 pounds of weight with mid to large-size vehicles. And these do need weight distribution to make sure that the high load is evenly distributed.

You will find that owner’s manuals will often have the weight distribution requirement added to shield themselves from any type of liability with such a heavy load.

2. If You Experience Lack of Stability & Control

The way weight distribution hitch can improve overall safety is impeccable. This is due to the ability to distribute the whole weight over the trailer axles. 

Hence when you drive, there’s a lot more stability and control over the ride. So obviously that’s improvising the whole safety factor of your towing.

Also, anybody would hate the idea of a trailer and truck hookup that’s squatting. It looks awful! It’s equally dangerous.

And that’s because this squat structure will:

  • Reduce response of the brakes.
  • Reduce response of the steering.
  • Cause headlights malfunction during rides.
  • Invite amplified dips and bumps on the road.
  • Increase swaying and body rolls of a trailer.

Also, if you know how a weight-distribution hitch works, you’ll understand that a pretty low setup is not ideal. Instead, it should be much higher even if your trucks are capable of handling it. You never know what a bad climate or urgent situation can bring.

3. If by Law You Must Get One

According to the law in many parts of the world, it’s prohibited to skip weight distribution hitch if the towing weight exceeds the vehicle’s weight by one-half.

For example, if your truck weighs 6000 pounds, then towing more than 3000 pounds is legally not allowed without using a weight-distribution hitch.

Calculate & Find Out If You Need a Weight Distribution Hitch

You can decide to require a weight-distribution hitch by using a calculation method. Here’s how:

  • Take the unladen front and back height of your vehicle.
  • Take the level front and back height of your trailer.
  • Measure the wheel arch’s center top to the wheel’s fixed point. This is called measuring the tow tug’s wheel arch.
  • Hitch up and take all three measurements once again.
  • If the difference between 1st and 2nd taken measurements is more than 20mm, you need a weight-distribution hitch.

“I Need a Weight Distribution Hitch to Tow More” (Think Again)

Weight distribution hitch’s main purpose is even load spreading over the vehicle. The trailer’s tongue weight shifts up to the tow vehicle’s front axle. And so, it sits level. This helps in better handling as well as braking. 

That’s it! It does not magically increase or reduce your vehicle’s existing towing capability. It’s just making the whole setup a lot safer and easier. So don’t have such expectations. 

Also, some noobs think of many ways of reducing/increasing tongue weight. Does a weight-distribution hitch reduce tongue weight or increase it? Well, that’s a different discussion. But in short, it does none of both!

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you remove weight distribution bars before backing up?

Yes, you should! However, if you are using a weight-distribution hitch with sway control then removal can be a little tricky.

Do I need a weight-distribution hitch if I have airbags?

You need a weight-distribution hitch even if you have airbags for distributing weight. As airbags are not capable of doing so. However, you can easily sidestep adding airbags if you have a weight-distribution hitch. As it can provide similar benefits to towing with airbags.

Do I need a weight-distribution hitch for my camper?

Yes, you need a weight-distribution hitch for a camper if it is more than a significant amount of weight.

Ending Notes

Now that you know situations where a weight-distribution hitch is needed, it’s easy to answer your question. So, ask yourself again, do I need a weight distribution hitch. And if you are:

  • Driving mid-size, ½ ton, or a heavy truck.
  • Towing more than 5000 pounds.
  • Owning a truck that comes with a clear requirement for using weight distribution.
  • Using bumper trailer hitch ball.

Then Yes You Do!

See you in the next guide, take care!


Do I need a weight distribution hitch? Are you asking the same question? Then here’s what I found out that you too need to know!

About the Author: Brian Silvestro

Brian Silvestro is the founder and chief editor of OffroadersArena. He spends his free time tending to his BMW iX SUV and explaining its merits to anyone who'll listen.

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