Towing a Vehicle and the use of a Weight Distribution Hitch (WDH)

Things to consider when towing:

The performance of your tow vehicle in terms of  fuel consumption, acceleration, braking ability, general control and manoeuvrability, are impacted by towing a trailer, including a caravan. The impact on the performance increases as the size and weight of the trailer increases relative to the tow vehicle. Not only can the additional weight and size make it harder to manage, but once you add in wind, road conditions and passing vehicles, the effects can be exacerbated, putting further responsibilities on the driver to maintain control of the vehicle and trailer.

A weight distribution hitch (WDH) is used while towing trailers to distribute the weight of your load evenly between the trailer and tow vehicle, thus improving handling, stability and control whilst minimising sway. The world of weight distribution hitches can seem a little overwhelming if you don't know the basics regarding towing, couplings and sizes. There is a number of brands on the market, of which we sell Hayman Reese, Pro Series, Fastway and Eaz Lift due to the quality and performance they provide. If you have a recessed coupling you will need to opt for a straight bar style weight distribution hitch. If you have a flush mount coupling, it is beneficial to use a round-bar style weight distribution hitch.

If you are looking at a weight distribution hitch, you will firstly need to identify your coupling style.

How do I tell if I have a recessed or flush mount coupling?

Please refer to the images below which shows the difference between the two styles of couplings.

Recessed and flush mount couplings

Flush mount couplings sit on top of your A-Frame while a recessed coupling sits down in the A-Frame.

Your next consideration when looking at a weight distribution hitch is whether you opt for a 600lb or 800lb hitch.

How do I know if I require a 600 or 800lb hitch? 

  • Once your van is fully laden, you will need to calculate your tow ball weight.

  • You can easily calculate your tow ball weight with a tow ball weight scale.

  • Once calculated, if your towball weight is over 275kg you will require an 800lb.

  • If your towball weight is less than 275kg you can opt for a 600lb.

You do need to ensure that the ball weight  and your gross trailer weight do not exceed the tow vehicle manufacturer's recommended capacities. Once you have selected your hitch, it must have a maximum Gross Trailer Weight rating, equal to or greater than the trailer rating. Your ball weight is typically 10% of the gross trailer weight.

If you need assistance determining which weight distribution will suit your vehicle and van, you can give us a call on 1800 787 278 to discuss.