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When Flat Towing a Vehicle How Much Tongue Weight is on the Trailer Hitch

Question:

We purchased a motorhome with a Gross weight restriction of 26000lbs. It says we cannot tow more tha 4500 lbs. Im confused if the tongue weight is what gets added to the overall weight of the motorhome or he weight of the vehicle we are towing. We will be towing the car flat 4down. How does this affect the tongue weight?

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Expert Reply:

There are 2 different capacities independent of each other though related. Tongue weight is the downward force or weight on the trailer hitch. So it is pushing down at the back of the vehicle. The gross trailer weight is the weight of whatever it is you are towing. So for your motor home, at most you can tow 4,500 pounds gross trailer weight. Tongue weight is typically 10 to 15 percent of the gross trailer weight.

However, when flat towing a car there is almost no tongue weight because the vehicle is supporting itself on all 4 wheels. So as long as your vehicle weighs less than 4,500 pounds you will be within the limits of the motor home.

Check the vehicle owners manual to make sure that it can be flat towed behind your motor home. If it can there are 5 things you will need: base plates, tow bar, safety cables, lighting, and supplemental braking. Some of these items are vehicle specific so I would need to know the year, make, and model of the vehicle to make more specific recommendations.

I have also included 2 helpful links to the right on flat towing.

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