Although last week’s blog contained a lot of valuable towing information with a comedic twist, we want to continue our exploration of tow-weight capacities and vehicle requirements this week.  There are many other factors that must be considered when attaching a trailer to your vehicle besides a vehicle’s maximum towing capacity.

Before you even think about towing, have your ball and hitch inspected by a qualified hitch installation company.  They will determine your maximum tongue weight which is typically 10% of the hitch’s rated capacity.  If you are unsure of the loaded weight of your horse trailer, toy hauler or RV, Phoenix Coach Works recommends being safe rather than sorry in regard your hitch and ball setup until you can get your rig to a weigh station.

Your trailer should sit level when attached to the towing vehicle with little or no sag in its rear.  Once you know the total weight of your trailer, be sure to place your load as follows:

Single Axle 10% minimum/15% maximum
Tandem Axle 9% to 15%
Travel Trailer 11% to 12%
5th Wheel 15% to 25%


Inspect your safety chain for broken or damaged links and attach them in a crisscross fashion to provide a saddle in the incident that your hitch or tongue should fail.

Another important factor is the wheelbase of the towing vehicle and the length of the unit being towed.  People who tow small utility trailers with relatively short wheelbase SUVs may not be affected but when you haul a 4, 6 or 9 horse trailer weighing 15-20 thousand pounds and measuring between 15 and 30 feet, you need a much longer wheelbase to handle the extended load.

A general rule of thumb is that the bridge length (length from the pivot point of the tongue to the center of the trailer’s axle) should be 1.25 times the towing vehicle’s wheelbase.  Most ½, ¾ and 1 ton pickups with an extended cab and 8ft beds work well for long trailers as long as you comply with the vehicle’s maximum towing capacity.

There are many more details that must be considered depending on your specific setup [vehicle, vessel and items being towed, and distance and roadways traveled].

If you have any questions or to arrange a consultation for a custom built trailer, trailer accessory installation or general trailer repair and maintenance, please contact Phoenix Coach Works directly.  With over 60 years of combined experience in the hauling and towing industry, our expert will be able to steer you and your rig in the right direction.

Feel free to join us next week as we discuss trailer operating techniques including backing and braking.  From safety to proper hauling practices, we know the importance of keeping a vehicle on the road and we do what do to make that possible.

*Tongue weight chart courtesy of Sherline trailer loading and towing guide.

If you’re a frequent visitor to this site or follow our blog regularly, you are well aware that we offer a variety of services ranging from trailer accessory installation to custom-designed trailer construction.  In recent weeks we have discussed at length many of the designs we offer such as the Phoenix Sprinter 2-horse van and reminded trailer owners about many of the MUSTs that accompany towing a trailer including insurance and proper maintenance/inspection techniques.

Although we take our business here at Phoenix Coach Works very seriously, sometimes we like to embrace the opportunity to lighten up and have some fun.  As many of our clients are horse-lovers we thought it would be fun to discuss one of the world’s most prestigious events: the Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing.

The Triple Crown is awarded to the horse and jockey that win the three most prestigious events in the sport; the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.  There has not been a Triple Crown winner since 1978 when Steve Cauthen rode to victory atop Affirmed, a three year old colt owned by Harbor View Farm and trained by Lazarro S. Barrera.  With the Kentucky Derby scheduled on May 5th, the Preakness on May 19th and the Belmont Stakes on June 9th, the tension is beginning to rise as the world’s finest competitors race toward greatness.  That said let’s take a look at what makes thoroughbred racing such a fascinating sport: the athlete.

It may come as a surprise to learn that the thoroughbred breed is only 300 years old.  Around the beginning of the 18th century, three stallions known for their speed, courage and agility were brought from the orient to England where they mated with large English mares.  These three horses, the Darley Barb, the Byerly Turk and the Godolphin Arabian, are known as the foundation sires and all thoroughbred bloodlines can be traced back to at least one.

In combining these breeds the result was a large, powerful animal with light bones literally born to race.  Thoroughbreds also have two unique characteristics that make them particularly suited for lengthy, high speed sprints.

Their long necks move in unison with their front legs, propelling them forward as their hind legs spring in a straight line, further enhancing the efficiency of each stride.  The average stride length of a thoroughbred horse is more than 20 feet and they are capable of taking 150 strides per minute reaching speeds of 40mph.

The ability to endure such speeds throughout a race is due to an extremely efficient oxygen delivery system.  Breathing only through their nose, thoroughbreds inhale while extended and exhale when their legs come together, similar to a bellows.  Their large heart circulates 75 gallons of blood per minute and their spleen increases red blood cell production from 35 to 65 percent to provide ample oxygen during races.

We could spend another 400 words elaborating on how thoroughbred bloodlines are tracked, the rules of the Jockey Club regarding the qualifications of an animal and the capacious industry that has grown from the loins of the three foundation sires but at this point we will bring it full circle and part ways on a professional note.

If you happen to be or know someone who is involved in thoroughbred racing, let Phoenix Coach Works help to safely and efficiently transport your valued animals.  From independent race teams who need 4 and 6 horse trailers to commercial haulers that desire an 8, 9 or 15 horse trailer and everything in between, Phoenix Coach Works has a design that will work for you.

If you’re not really into horses but find yourself still reading, leave a message or pick up the phone and let us know how we can help you build or repair your motorcycle trailer, car trailer or toy hauler.

Let Phoenix Coach Works make your new or old trailer move like a thoroughbred…unique and efficient.