3. Calculate the tongue weight and drive safely.
As soon as we pick up a trailer we head to a scale to make sure we are under the GVWR of each asset and under GCWR of the combination. We also check the tongue weight. It costs $10-15 and takes 10-15 minutes. Usually a scale is within 10-20 miles of a pickup and if you are pulling a trailer for the first time you should be getting out to check the trailer and the interior load anyway.
If the hookup doesn’t pass a visual inspection at the pick up there is no need to head to the scale, adjust the load prior to departure.
To save time you should scale the tow vehicle before you pickup the trailer. Hitting a scale prior to picking up the trailer at the fabricator will save having to detach later. This only works if the truck is already packed. If you scale the truck and then load up the truck bed with samples, supplies, or luggage you will have to re weigh. The truck needs to be basically the same each weigh.
If you are not able to weigh the truck prior to picking up the trailer simply weigh the combination (truck and trailer), then drop the trailer and ask for a re-weigh for just the truck.
Either way you do it once you have these 2 pieces of information you can calculate tongue weight. And if you need to calculate tongue down the road you only need to scale the combination since you already have the tongue weight.
If you need help on how to use a scale Cat has instructions for most combinations including pickup truck and trailer. They have videos too.
As shown in the diagram shows the truck needs to have the front or steer axle on the pad #1 and the rear or drive axles on the pad #2. For this method of tongue weight the trailer doesn’t really matter. So to calculate the tongue weight for this method you add the pad #1 and #2 numbers with the trailer attached and subtract them from the weigh ticket for just the truck. The difference is the tongue weight.