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The tow ball load is the amount of weight the fully loaded trailer vertically imposes in the tow bar of the towing vehicle.
If you have a compliance plate on your trailer (all trailers built after August 1989 must have a compliance plate) will list the trailers GTM (Gross Trailer Mass). The difference between the ATM and the GTM will be the trailers ball load.
Just like all other towing specifications, the ball load must not be exceeded.
If you own a small trailer than the ball load is not usually a issue with your towing unless your towing vehicle has a low ball load specification. This can be the case with many small vehicles and some European vehicles. Heavier trailers such as horse floats and caravans can often place a heavy ball load onto the towing vehicle.
The ball load is a function of the trailers position and the way that the trailer is loaded
We can be measure the ball load of your trailer on our weighbridge. This can be done in 2 ways.
1. When at the weighbridge, disconnect the fully loaded trailer from the towing vehicle and place only the trailers drawbar (via the jockey wheel) on the weighbridge scale.
2. Place your fully loaded trailer completely onto the weighbridge. 2 weights will be recorded - one while the trailer is still attached to the towing vehicle and one after unhitching the trailer. By subtracting the hitched weight from the unhitched weight you will know how much weight is being imposed on your tow ball and also how heavy your fully loaded trailer weights.
The ball load is often approximately 10% of the trailers ATM but you should not rely on this "guessed" weight for every trailer. The best way to determine the ball load is always to use a weighbridge to check that you are complying with your trailers and towing vehicles specifications.