There are minivans out there that can haul enough weight that you do not have to upgrade to a powerful pick-up truck. With the right hitch, you should be able to tow as easily as those powerful trucks and enjoy your vacation.
Many owner’s manuals will state that for a minivan to tow over 5000 pounds, they need a weight distribution hitch. This hitch helps make your ride level smoother. It also helps protect you from any insurance company’s claims that you violated manufacturer instructions.
To learn more about this hitch and what it can do for you, just keep reading our article. It provides the information you need to know so that you can tow a nice camper with your minivan. The hitch should protect you from liability and keep your family safer.
As you may know already, a straight dead hitch keeps the weight of your trailer on your rear axle. Doesn’t matter the vehicle, that is where the weight is placed. When the trailer you tow is heavy, you can find that the rear axle is lowered and the front end of your vehicle is raised making for a very unsafe towing situation.
A weight distribution hitch, not only allows you to tow greater weight by raising your hitch weight capacity, it distributes the weight so your rear axle does not carry the brunt of the load. In the end, the result is your rear axle does not get lowered and your front end does not get raised.
This gives you a safer towing time and protects you from any problems from your insurance company if you have an accident. If you use a regular hitch, you can lose steering and stopping performance which makes towing riskier.
The weight distribution hitch balances the minivan so you do not lose any steering or braking performance. Your towing time is safer and more enjoyable for you and your family.
Also, the hitch may be required by the manufacturer if you are going to tow more than 5000 pounds.
In most cases, using a weight distribution hitch would be the smart way to go. Yes, you can tow without it especially when the trailer is not that heavy but what this hitch does is provide you an extra level of safety (no matter the weight of the trailer).
When you are towing a light trailer, you may still see that bend at the hitch. This is due not to the type of hitch but to how you placed your cargo in your trailer. Instead of buying a new hitch, all you have to do is redistribute the cargo and balance the trailer more. That will or should solve the problem.
However, when the trailer is more than 50% of the weight of the tow vehicle or over 5000 pounds, you should use a weight distribution hitch. Not only is the weight evenly distributed over the chassis of your minivan but you do not lose out on any steering or braking performance.
You also have protection against sway which is always needed. The weight distribution hitch will make a big difference in your driving time. You can drive better in windy conditions which will give you better gas mileage. You also may not have to pull over to wait for the wind to die down before continuing your journey
One situation would be if your trailer is less than 50% of your tow vehicle’s weight. For example, if your tow vehicle weighs 5000 pounds, then you won’t need this hitch if the trailer weighs 2500 pounds or less.
You also won’t need a weight distribution hitch if your car does NOT have any of the following problems with a regular trailer hitch:
- the back of your van does not lower when you add the trailer to the ball
- your truck’s headlights are illuminating the top of the trees
- your steering is loose and the brakes feel mushy
- the trailer is over 5000 pounds in weight including cargo
- the trailer weighs more than 50% of your tow vehicle’s weight
- the trailer starts to sway for any reason
If your van meets these conditions, then you need a weight distribution hitch. If not, then you should be good to go with a regular hitch.
1. Does the hitch increase tow capacity?
No, it does not. That towing limit is set by the manufacturer of the minivan. The weight distribution hitch only helps you tow heavier trailers that meet those capacities.
2. Is a sway control and weight distribution hitch the same thing?
No, they are two different devices that help control sway using different methods. The sway control option works with the brakes to cut sway while the hitch works with the spring bars to do the same thing
3. Is 5000 pounds the standard for towing with a weight distribution hitch?
No, sometimes the amount of weight for using this hitch is set by the state. Some states make that weight marker lower than 5,000 pounds and have set it at 3,000 pounds. Check with the different states to see if yours does this.
Using a weight distribution hitch is a good idea no matter how much weight you are towing. It provides an extra level of safety and makes sure you have a better towing experience.
Make sure to check your owner’s manual and the state you live in to see if there is a mandatory weight limit for using this type of hitch. If there is one, use it so you can have the full protection of your insurance company if anything goes wrong on your trip.