Ask TFLtruck: What Happens If I Have Too Much Trailer Tongue Weight?

cargo trailer load loaded
(photo: Daniel S.) Too much trailer?

Daniel bring up an very relevant question – what happen when you inadvertently overload the tongue weight of your trailer? Will the truck still perform safely? Daniel S. writes:

I tow with a 2016 GMC Serria HD 3500 crew cab with a gas V8. I watch your videos with the Ford F-150 and I’m shocked to see how much the truck sags. When you load your trailers on the job site you always keep in mind the 10% tongue weight but that doesn’t always happen in the real world. My question is this, let’s say your towing 9k  with the f150 which is already sagging at 3-ins, what happens if the tongue weight is 13-18% instead of recommend 10%?  Could the truck still perform safety? When you drive a 2500/3500 you have the weight of the truck and payload capacity behind you but not in a half ton. Have you thought about checking out the sag numbers of a trucks with a 13-18% tongue weight? Here’s my example load a tree in my dump trailer.

(photo: Daniel S.)

Indeed, the everyday hustle and bustle does not generally allow for careful weight distribution, running over scales, or using a weight distribution hitch.

The simple answer is: if you accidentally overload the trailer tongue weight over the recommended 10%, it may lead your to go over the rear axle Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) and the total payload rating of your truck. This is a serious safety concern. It means the axle springs will be fully compresses / riding on bump stops. The truck may develop side-to-side sway, the extra sag will point the nose of the truck up in the air, truck’s braking and steering ability will be compromised, and the ride will be uncomfortable.

If you often carry load of unpredictable size and weight, it’s smart to get a heavy duty truck that offers extra payload and GAWR capacity to handle those cases when you have to haul an entire tree to the recycling center.

Check out this Super Ike Gauntlet towing test where we compare a Ford F-150 to a Titan XD. We push these two trucks to the maximum and get very interesting results.

Andre Smirnov is an Automotive Enthusiast, Producer, Reviewer, Videographer, Writer, Software Engineer, Husband, Father, and Friend.