Weight-distributing hitches (or “level rides”) are an incredibly important towing aid which attach between the tow vehicle and the caravan. The purpose of these devices is to increase the overall stability of the rig by increasing the front wheel traction of the vehicle. The below image illustrates this effect. Because of the very position of the link between the tow vehicle and the van, the weight is placed almost entirely over the rear wheels of the tow vehicle, which in effect lifts the front end, which in turn reduces the rig’s ability to turn, brake, or ride properly.
This effect may contribute to things which could be described as “pitching” or “floating”, overall loss of feeling in the rig’s steering, increased tyre wear on the rear wheels, or, possibly total loss of control. This can be especially true if the rig is under tow in more difficult conditions, for example on wet/slippery roads or in channels of high or turbulent wind drafts.
The purpose of a level-riding device is to spread the towball weight as evenly across all centres of the vehicle as evenly as possible, or, quite literally, make the car “level ride”. They act by way of the fulcrum process, whereby some weight is transferred from the rear of the rig through a pivot arrangement to the front wheels when lift is applied. This has the distinct advantage of helping to combat all of the problems outlined above, and overall making the entire rig much safer to drive.
Selecting the right level ride for your vehicle is quite simple – it is essentially based on the towball weight of your rig. The below table will assist you choosing.