Common Towing Definitions

The following trailer towing related definitions will assist you in understanding the following information.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

The GVWR is the total allowable weight of your vehicle.

This includes driver, passengers, cargo and trailer tongue weight. The total load must be limited so that you do not exceed the GVWR. Refer to “Vehicle Loading/Vehicle Certification Label” in “Starting and Operating” for further information.

Gross Trailer Weight (GTW)

The GTW is the weight of the trailer plus the weight of all cargo, consumables and equipment (permanent or temporary) loaded in or on the trailer in its loaded and ready for operation condition.

The recommended way to measure GTW is to put your fully loaded trailer on a vehicle scale. The entire weight of the trailer must be supported by the scale.

WARNING!
If the gross trailer weight is 3,500 lbs (1 587 kg) or more, it is mandatory to use a weight-distributing hitch to ensure stable handling of your vehicle. If you use a standard weight-carrying hitch, you could lose control of your vehicle and cause a collision.

Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR)

The GCWR is the total permissible weight of your vehicle and trailer when weighed in combination.

NOTE: The GCWR rating includes a 150 lbs (68 kg) allowance for the presence of a driver.

Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR)

The GAWR is the maximum capacity of the front and rear axles. Distribute the load over the front and rear axles evenly. Make sure that you do not exceed either front or rear GAWR. Refer to “Vehicle Loading/Vehicle Certification Label” in “Starting and Operating” for further information.

WARNING!
It is important that you do not exceed the maximum front or rear GAWR. A dangerous driving condition can result if either rating is exceeded. You could lose control of the vehicle and have a collision.

Trailer Tongue Weight (TW)

The TW is the downward force exerted on the hitch ball by the trailer. In most cases it should not be less than 10% or more than 15% of the trailer load. You must consider this as part of the load on your vehicle.

Frontal Area

The frontal area is the maximum height multiplied by the maximum width of the front of a trailer.

Trailer Sway Control

The trailer sway control can be a mechanical telescoping link that can be installed between the hitch receiver and the trailer tongue that typically provides adjustable friction associated with the telescoping motion to dampen any unwanted trailer swaying motions while traveling.

If equipped, the electronic Trailer Sway Control (TSC) recognizes a swaying trailer and automatically applies individual wheel brakes and/or reduces engine power to attempt to eliminate the trailer sway.

Weight-Carrying Hitch

A weight-carrying hitch supports the trailer tongue weight, just as if it were luggage located at a hitch ball or some other connecting point of the vehicle. These kind of hitches are the most popular on the market today and they are commonly used to tow small- and mediumsized trailers.

Weight-Distributing Hitch

A weight-distributing hitch system works by applying leverage through spring (load) bars. They are typically used for heavier loads, to distribute trailer tongue weight to the tow vehicle’s front axle and the trailer axle(s).

When used in accordance with the manufacturers’ directions, it provides for a more level ride, offering more consistent steering and brake control, thereby enhancing towing safety. The addition of a friction/hydraulic sway control also dampens sway caused by traffic and crosswinds, and contributes positively to tow vehicle and trailer stability. Afriction/hydraulic sway control mechanism and a weight distributing (load equalizing) hitch are recommended for heavier trailer tongue weights (TW) and may be required depending on Vehicle and Trailer configuration/loading to comply with gross axle weight rating (GAWR) requirements.

WARNING!
• An improperly adjusted weight-distributing hitch system may reduce handling, stability, and braking performance, and could result in a collision.

• Weight-distributing hitch systems may not be compatible with Surge Brake Couplers. Consult with your hitch and trailer manufacturer or a reputable Recreational Vehicle dealer for additional information.

Without Weight-Distributing Hitch (Incorrect)
Without Weight-Distributing Hitch (Incorrect)

With Weight-Distributing Hitch (Correct)
With Weight-Distributing Hitch (Correct)

Improper Adjustment of Wei2ght-Distributing Hitch (Incorrect)
Improper Adjustment of Wei2ght-Distributing Hitch (Incorrect)

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