Trailer Tongues

While the bed, tires and hitch get most of the attention, a trailer tongue shouldn't be overlooked. Across different trailers, the tongue and its design varies, though they all share the same fundamental role, regardless of what you're hauling or what you've got it hitched to. Essentially, the trailer tongue is the bit that keeps your trailer balanced and its weight forward on the tow hitch, which is responsible for giving you a safer tow when hooked up to a moving vehicle -- and it also strengthens the chassis and helps keep the trailer stable while in use.

Because of their importance, trailer tongues must be tough and have excellent vertical and horizontal strength. As load capability is increased, the trailer tongue must also become stronger, and, depending on the intended use of your trailer, may be one of several different designs. Unfortunately, trailers with undersized tongues tend to develop microscopic cracks and other injuries which, over time, will eventually lead to failure. If this happens while you're pulling a load, you could risk damage to the load, your vehicle and even bodily harm with a more severe accident.

Trailer Tongue Types

The three main types of trailer tongues are straight tongues, compound tongues and A-frame tongues.

A straight trailer tongue is the simplest yet most prone to failure if the trailer tongue gets damaged since they are centrally mounted and tend to come under a lot of vertical stress where the chassis and tongue meet, especially if a load is not balanced over the axles.

A composite trailer tongue, which is commonly used for boats, adds lateral support to strengthen the tongue and chassis, enabling the tongue to be longer and providing better clearance while reversing.

An A-frame trailer tongue is the most common due to its sheer strength, which supports the edges of the trailer from twisting under an uneven load. A-frame trailers are structurally superior and offer better horizontal stiffness and vertical stiffness with a design that transfers stress from the trailer tongue to the chassis.

Trailer Tongue Lengths and Sizes

Measured from the center of the trailer's front cross member to the center of the tow ball, the trailer tongue length changes based on the design, be it straight, composite or A-frame. Additionally, some trailer tongues come in fixed length, extendable and tilting tongue options, though an overwhelming majority are fixed length tongues.

In general, a longer trailer tongue provides a more stable and smoother ride, though there comes a point where the tongue weight becomes excessive. And, unlike their longer counterparts, it's true that shorter trailer tongues are more prone to unexpected tuning and "jackknifing."

If you'd like to learn more about our trailer tongues, including which trailer tongue is right for you, please contact the experts at Demco.