Weight Distribution Hitch

weight distribution hitch, when properly utilized, builds around a standard receiver hitch to distribute the tongue load to the axles on both the trailer as well as the towing vehicle. A weight distribution system enhances the overall braking and steering performance of the towing vehicle, reduces the risk of trailer sway, and maximizes the capacity of the hitch.

Curt Weight Distribution Hitch

Weight distribution hitches from Curt Manufacturing can significantly improve the control you enjoy over both your vehicle and your trailer by leveling the trailer and evenly distributing the overall weight. You can’t go wrong with a Curt Manufacturing product!


  • Available in both Round Bar & Trunnion Bar
  • Heavy duty adjustable formed heads
  • 2 IN x 2 IN adjustable shank
  • Forged steel spring bars
  • Durable black powder coat finish
  • Manufacturer’s Warranty

Andersen Weight Distribution Hitch

Andersen Weight Distribution hitches truly are some of the most innovative products on the market today. They boast anti-away & anti-bounce technology and come backed by a limited lifetime warranty.


  • Unparalleled Sway Control that self-adjusts according to load
  • Reduces bounce using a patented Motion-Dampening system
  • Doubles as standard ball mount
  • Weighs under 60 pounds
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty

Weight Distribution Products Guide and FAQs

What is Weight Distribution? How does it work?

With a traditional rear mounted trailer hitch, the tongue weight of whatever you’re hauling is naturally shifted to the rear axle of your vehicle. In many cases, this excess weight is minimal and will not substantially affect the performance or safety of your vehicle. However, when towing something on the heavier side – such as a trailer – the back end of your vehicle may be forced downward, and the front end forced up as a result of this added tongue weight. This effectively forces the rear axle of your vehicle to bear the weight of not only the trailer, but also the majority of its own weight – a situation which can result in trailer sway, as well as a decline in steering, stopping, and traction ability.

This problem can be fixed with a properly installed weight distribution hitch. A weight distribution hitch uses spring bars to counteract the issues that often arise when towing something on the heaver side. While a weight distribution system can’t allow a hitch to tow beyond its maximum capacity, is allows for improved handling of the vehicle by transferring some weight off of the tongue on onto the other axles of your vehicle and trailer.

When would I need a Weight Distribution system?

As previously mentioned, the potential effects of towing something especially heavy on a standard weight-bearing hitch are trailer sway and decreased performance in steering, stopping, and the ability to maintain traction with the road. A weight distribution system could be beneficial to you if you experience any of these adverse effects.

It is also important to note that weight-distribution systems are not compatible with every standard hitch. Check the weight rating label on your hitch to see if it is rated for use with weight distribution. If the label on your hitch does not list a weight-distributing capacity, it not likely compatible with any weight distribution system. Of course, if you have any questions about this, please feel free to call or email us anytime – we’re happy to help!

What parts make up a Weight-Distribution System?

The weight distribution system adds to the standard weight-bearing hitch on your vehicle – typically a class III, IV, or V. A complete weight-distribution system is composed of a ball mount (both the shank and head assembly), spring bars, and mounted lift brackets.

Trailer Hitch

The trailer hitch, as you likely know, attaches to the frame of your vehicle and provides an opening (either 2”x2” or 2.5”x2.5”) for the weight distribution shank to slide into. In order to be compatible with a weight distribution system, the hitch typically must be either a class III, IV, or V. It is important to check the label of your specific hitch, however, because not all class III hitches are compatible with weight distribution systems.

The hitch ball itself is typically not included with the purchase of a weight distribution system because the ball diameter required varies according to the capacity of your specific trailer and your coupler size.

Weight Distribution Shank

The weight distribution shank slides into the receiver hitch on your vehicle and provides the attachment point for the rest of the weight distribution system – i.e. the weight distribution head assembly.

The shank is available in many different sizes with varying lengths, drops, and rises.
To ensure safe, comfortable towing, the trailer should be set up on a level plane with your vehicle – the shank is designed to ensure this will happen.

Standard shanks typically have a maximum rise of 6” and a maximum drop of 2”. If you require a shank with different measurements, purchase a weight distribution system without a shank included (systems can be bought with and without this piece) and purchase the custom shank that you need separately.

Head Assembly

The weight distribution head assembly attaches to the shank and acts as a mount for both the hitch ball and spring bars. Depending on the head, it will likely accept either a round or trunnion spring bar. The round bars slide into the head and are held in place via clips. The trunnion bars, on the other hand, slide into the head from either the side or the back. Some models also have a place where a sway control system can be mounted.

Upon installation, you often will need to adjust the angle of the head assembly in order to position the unit correctly. There are several ways this can be accomplished:

  • The block-style washer system utilizes a washer that can be rotated and positioned between the blocks of the weight distribution head. The washer is typically a hexagonal shape which is numbered with reference points in the event it ever requires adjustment.
  • The traditional washer system allows for the head assembly to be adjusted by sliding washers onto a rivet and inserting the spacer rivet into the head assembly itself. If the angle needs to be increased, you would simply remove the rivet, add another washer, and reattach. To decrease the angle – remove a washer. Repeat until you have the desired angle.
  • Finally, the serrated washer system is convenient in the sense that it does not require access to a rivet inside the head assembly. With this system, the head assembly can be adjusted by simply loosening a single washer/nut on the side of the head assembly, readjusting the head assembly to the desired angle, and then retightening the outside washer/nut until secure.

Weight Distribution Spring Bars

The spring bars are the part of the weight distribution hitch that evenly transfers the tongue weight pushing down on the rear of your vehicle to the axles of both your vehicle and the trailer. Most spring bars are made of flexible steel.

There are two main types of spring bars – each of which will be explained here. While there is no significant difference between the two styles, each does have slight nuances that may make one a better choice for your specific needs. If you have any questions about the two, please let us know – we would be happy to help.

Trunnion Spring Bars

Trunnion spring bars insert into the head assembly from either the side or the back. Because trunnion bars enter the head assembly from the side or the back – as opposed to the round bar, which enters from the bottom – they are ideal if you desire maximum ground clearance.

Round Spring Bars

Round Spring Bars slide upwards into the head assembly and are held in place with clips.

Lift Brackets

Lift brackets are utilized to hold the spring bars in place. The design of these varies significantly by manufacturer and model, but the purpose is generally the same. The most common system of lift brackets are known as a “snap-up” system. In this system, chains are used to connect the spring bars to your trailer – with the chains then attached to the lift bracket that is mounted on the frame of the trailer. In order to achieve the appropriate level of tension in the spring bars, the number of chain links between the spring bars and lift bracket is monitored and adjusted if necessary.

Some companies have designed specialty brackets that reduce sway. Instead of using chains like the snap-up system, the spring bars rest directly on the lift brackets. Because the bracket is designed to hold the spring bar in place with friction – this system can reduce the amount of sway.

Finally, other companies like Blue Ox utilize a rotating latch kit. These brackets allow the user to hook up their system quicker and easier than the traditional snap-up system while also allowing for increased clearance. For these, the user only has to inset the chain into the bracket and rotate the handle on the unit until the correct amount of tension is obtained. This type of unit also prevents sway.

How do I pick the right Weight Distribution System for my Vehicle?

There are a myriad of weight distribution systems available – each with their own custom bells and whistles. Before determining which one would best fit your specific needs, you first need to determine what size system is applicable to the current capacity of your vehicle. Before we go any further, you need to understand two key terms:

Gross Trailer Weight (GTW)
Complete weight of trailer, including any cargo loaded in the trailer.

GTW describes the total weight of the trailer. The GTW includes not only the weight of the trailer, but also anything in the trailer (i.e. cargo, fuel, etc.). The gross trailer weight can be determined by placing the fully loaded trailer (i.e. the trailer as you plan to haul it) onto a vehicle scale.

Trailer Tongue Weight(TW)
Vertical Weight placed directly on the trailer hitch of the Tow Vehicle. Usually 10-15% of the trailer weight.

TW describes the weight that is far enough forward in the trailer that is presses down on the hitch itself (as opposed to pressing down on the trailer axle) as well as the weight behind the rear axle of your vehicle (i.e. weight from items loaded in the trunk or bed of your truck – this can be calculated by weighing your vehicle without the cargo loaded and then again with the cargo loaded. This difference in weight can then be added to the TW.) The TW is typically between ten to fifteen percent of the GTW and is typically measured by using a tongue weight scale.

Once the GTW and TW are determined, we can start searching for the perfect weight distribution system.

It’s imperative that you select a system that is as close to your TW as possible. If the weight distribution system selected is rated too high, it can result in a bouncing trailer due a failure of the system in effectively distributing the weight. If not rated high enough, the system will be completely ineffective because it will be overwhelmed by the weight.

If you’ve ever read Goldilocks and the Three Bears you’ll know that it has to be “just right.”

Here’s how:

Say, for example, that you have a trailer that has a tongue weight of 900 pounds and your vehicle has 100 pounds of freight in the back. Thus, your net TW, for weight distribution purpose is 1,000 pounds. As explained earlier, if you then purchase a system rated at a TW of 1,600 pounds, you may have issues because it is rated much higher than what you need and will not be able to effectively distribute the weight.

Further, if you pick a weight distribution system rated at 300 pounds (i.e. way too light), then you not benefit from the system whatsoever. When choosing a weight distribution system, it is imperative that you choose a system with a TW rating as close as possible to your needs to guarantee it will get the job done.

Now that we’ve established how to determine the rating system you need, there are also numerous weight distribution systems that vary based on a wide variety of features – such as the type of sway control used, the spring bars, the head assembly, or the lift brackets.

The standard weight distribution system without sway control

A standard weight distribution system without sway control is often used when the user does not anticipate any issues with sway control. Standard weight distribution systems do not come with any sort of built-in sway control. If this becomes a problem, certain sway controls – such as independent friction sway control – can be added later.

Typically Includes

  • Weight distribution shank
  • Weight distribution head
  • Spring bars
  • Lift brackets & chains
  • Installation hardware

The standard weight distribution system With sway control

Other standard weight distribution systems come with an independent friction sway control – typically in the form of an independent bar-style sway control system. If you have – or anticipate – problems with trailer sway, this type of system is often the best bargain.

Typically Includes

  • Sway control Kit
  • Weight distribution shank
  • Weight distribution head
  • Spring bars
  • Lift brackets & chains
  • Installation hardware

Blue Ox Sway Pro Weight Distribution Hitch

The Blue Ox sway pro uses the geometry and tension of a 4 point system to hold the trailer in line. Intelligent pitch angle of the head’s design works with the spring steel bars and latch attachments to prevent sway. A latch tool allows for easy wind-up, and also secures the chains.

Typically Includes

  • Sway control built into the weight distribution head
  • Weight distribution shank
  • Weight distribution head
  • Spring bars
  • Lift brackets & chains
  • Installation hardware

Anderson Hitches – No Sway Weight Distribution

Andersen Hitches also has a new Anti-sway, Anti-Bounce weight distribution hitch which is designed to adjust the amount of sway control exerted based on the amount of pressure placed on the tongue while also reducing the amount of bounce by adding a urethane spring to absorb movement. This hitch allows for an incredibly smooth and quiet ride.


  • Weight distribution shank
  • Weight distribution head
  • Trailer hitch ball
  • Frame brackets & chains – available in various widths for many trailers
  • Installation hardware

What is Sway Control ?

While weight distribution often limits trailer sway by balancing the overall towing load, proper sway control further promotes stability by reducing side-to-side movements often caused by windy conditions and passing vehicles – something that a weight distribution system will not be able to help with. It is for this reason that sway control is often recommended in addition to most weight distribution systems. There are three generally accepted systems for sway control:An Independent friction sway control bolts into your trailer frame and into the head assembly – effectively maintaining proper tension to keep the trailer in line with your towing vehicle. If the trailer begins to sway, friction pads inside the unit collide and reduce the possibility of any further side to side sway.

Dependent friction sway controls force the trailer to stay in line with the towing vehicle by the applying downward force associated with the spring bars onto brackets on either sides of the trailer frame. This creates enough resistance to force your trailer to stay in line with your vehicle.

Finally, active sway control utilizes sliding devices to suspend the spring bars in place by bolting to both the trailer frame and the lift bracket. By limiting the movement of the spring bars, sway is reduced without limiting the other movement that is required to successfully tow your trailer.

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