Drawbar load on car and trailer – this is important

You have probably already seen the plate with the inscription drawbar load on your car or on another car? But do you know what exactly the drawbar load of your car is?? Actually, the most important should have been learned in driving school, many drivers who are rarely on the road with a trailer know with the "drawbar load" still only little to do, frightening if you know what serious accidents can result from it. In this article we would like to explain the most important information on the subject to you.

Trailer drawbar load

What exactly is the drawbar load on the car?

If you have a trailer license, then you should know about this topic.

The drawbar load is actually relatively easy and simple to explain. The drawbar load is the weight with which the drawbar of the trailer presses on the ball head of the trailer coupling of your car (towing vehicle).

And this drawbar load is mandatory, not only the maximum, but also the minimum.

However, the drawbar load is not relevant for all trailers, because it is only relevant for the following trailers:

  • All trailers with one axle
  • Trailers with two axles that are less than one meter apart
  • All trailers where the axles are mounted in the middle of the trailer

Where to find the information about the drawbar load?

The KG information on the drawbar load can be found in the vehicle documents, namely in the registration certificate part I, and there in field 13. In older cars you will find this information on a sign in the rear of the car, usually in the trunk.

The usual drawbar load for cars is between 50 and 100 kg. In most cases it is 75 kg, in SUVs it can be 100 KG.

But not only the drawbar load of your car is important, also the drawbar load of the trailer coupling, it can be that your car has a drawbar load of 100 KG, but your trailer coupling only 75 KG. Then of course always the lower value counts.

There the drawbar load works

How to determine the drawbar load of the trailer?

The easiest way to do this is with a drawbar load scale, the cheapest models are available from 13 euros, who is occasionally on the road with a trailer should buy such a drawbar load scale.

The drawbar load scale is simply inserted into the towing jaw of the trailer and placed on the ground, the drawbar load can now be read off the scale.

Simple alternative: determining the drawbar load is also possible with a piece of squared lumber and a normal personal scale, proceed as described above. This is where having a second person to help is beneficial.

Also pay attention to the minimum drawbar load

If some still know the maximum drawbar load, then it stops at the latest at the minimum drawbar load, but this is also important, and legally required.

The drawbar load must be at least 4 percent of the actual trailer weight. However, 25 KG is sufficient to.

The formula for calculating to the minimum drawbar load looks like this:

Minimum drawbar load = actual weight of the trailer x 0.04

This minimum drawbar load is important even with an unladen trailer! Most trailers are built in such a way that they reach the minimum drawbar load without any additional measures.

But why is the drawbar load actually so important? What can happen if you do not pay attention to it?

This is what happens when the tongue load is too low:

If you have too little drawbar load due to wrong loading of the trailer then there is visually a kink on the towbar of your car. The point where the hanger is hitched points upwards. And this has the following dangerous consequences:

  • The front axle of the car is overloaded
  • The rear axle of the car is overloaded which leads to a reduction in traction
  • There are strong pulling forces on the car's trailer hitch
  • The lack of traction can cause the entire vehicle combination to lurch, which can result in serious accidents
  • When loading, of course, also pay attention to the correct load protrusion

This is what happens when the drawbar load is too high:

If your trailer presses too much on the hitch then you will see that the trailer is pressed down at the point where the trailer is attached. This is what you often see in the summer months with caravan towing vehicles.

  • The load on the trailer hitch can become so high that it can break off and detach from its mounting
  • The rear axle of the car is overloaded
  • The front axle is relieved so far that it can come to the restriction of the steering

If the drawbar load is exceeded, the trailer can lurch dangerously even faster, which can result in a serious accident.

Conclusion: You now know that the "drawbar load" is not just an indication, but very important to avoid damage to the car and accidents.

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