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How Much Tongue Weight Can An F150 Handle? Easy Calculation!

Ford is pretty clear on that. The maximum trailer tongue weight of the F150 should be 10% of the total loaded trailer weight (or the weight you’re towing), which is equivalent to;

  • Maximum gross trailer weight
  • Maximum weight-carrying capacity (for models with no hitch receiver)
  • Maximum weight-distributing capacity (for models with hitch receiver)

For example, if the Ford F150 is labeled with a maximum weight-distributing capacity or tow capacity of 12,000 lbs, the max tongue weight it can handle will be 10%, which equals 1,200 lbs. F150 with Hitch receiver has max tongue weight rating and weight-distributing capacity rating labeled on the hitch receiver.

Since different engines and configurations of the F150 come with different max gross trailer weights, the max tongue weight for a particular make and model can vary accordingly.

However, Ford asks F150 users to take care of vehicle payload (cargo and passenger weight) to accommodate max tongue weight, so the combined weight doesn’t exceed GVWR and GAWR. Besides, how you measure the tongue weight to keep it within the limit is also a legit concern.

I’ll cover all these to help you find how much tongue weight can an F150 handle. Bear with me!

How Much Tongue Weight Can An F150 Handle: 10% of the Total Loaded Trailer Weight

Let me first establish the fact that the F150, regardless of its engine type, configuration, and max towing capacity, can handle the utmost 10% of the total loaded trailer weight. The total loaded trailer weight is equivalent to

  • Weight-carrying capacity for models having no hitch
  • Weight distributing capacity or max gross trailer weight for models having a hitch

That being said, I want to share a table I got from Ford’s website to make thing breeze! Nevertheless, I made slight changes to make it look easier for you. Check out!

VehicleWeight-Carrying Max Trailer Capacity (lbs)Max Tongue Load (lbs)Weight-Distributing Max Trailer Capacity (lbs)Max Tongue Load (lbs)
F150 (With Rear Step Bumper but no Hitch Receiver)5,000500Doesn’t apply since there’s no hitch for weight distributionDoesn’t apply since there’s no hitch for weight distribution
F150 (With Hitch Receiver)5,00050013,2001,320
F150 Raptor (With Hitch Receiver)5,0005008,000800

From the table you can see,

F150 with rear step bumper and no hitch has a total loaded trailer weight equivalent to its maximum weight-carrying capacity, which is 5,000 lbs and the maximum tongue weight it can handle is 500 lbs (10% of the total loaded trailer weight).

F150 with Hitch Receiver (and when the hitch is used) has a total loaded trailer weight equivalent to its maximum weight-distributing capacity, which is 13,200 lbs and the maximum tongue weight it can handle is 1,320 lbs (10% of the total loaded trailer weight). And if the hitch isn’t used, the maximum weight-carrying capacity will be its total loaded trailer weight (5,000 lbs) and the maximum tongue weight will be 10% or 500 lbs.

F150 Raptor with Hitch Receiver (and when the hitch is used) has a total loaded trailer weight equivalent to its maximum weight-distributing capacity, which is 8,000 lbs, and the maximum tongue weight it can handle is 800 lbs (10% of the total loaded trailer weight). And if the hitch isn’t used, the maximum weight-carrying capacity will be the total loaded trailer weight (5,000 lbs), and the maximum tongue weight will be accordingly (500 lbs in this case).

The data above is mentioned on the Ford website for F150 2019 model, The rating will vary for different make and models accordingly. So whatever the make and model is for the F150, the maximum tongue weight it can handle will be 10% of its total loaded trailer weight.

Check out the hitch receiver label image that includes the max trailer weight and max tongue weight rating:

Ford f150 hitch receiver label

[An example of a hitch receiver label image]

How Do You Measure Tongue Weight & What Other Things to Consider?

Now you know how much tongue weight your F150 can afford — simply 10% of the total loaded trailer weight (by now, you know what this particular rating is equivalent to, so I won’t stretch it further).

Now coming to the point of how would you keep the tongue weight within the specified limit? You probably know what the tongue weight is. But I still want to have a quick recap:

How Tongue Weight Works

Two rear wheels of the truck generally carry most of the weight of a trailer. But luckily, the modern F150 comes with a trailer hitch receiver that has a connecting point to connect the vehicle to the trailer tongue. It also distributes the load in all the wheels through axles.

As a result, you see the vehicles with a hitch receiver have a particular rating, called weight-distributing capacity, which is generally higher than regular weight-carrying capacity.

It also means the vehicle can tow more loads than regular vehicles without a hitch because of its weight distribution capability.

So here’s what a hitch receiver looks like:

Hitch receiver

And here’s what the trailer tongue looks like, which is the part sticking forward and has the coupler to connect to the vehicle’s hitch receiver.

Trailer tongue

Although the tongue receives the trailer weight, it doesn’t have to carry the whole load, thanks to the hitch receiver and weight-distributing equipment that involves axles to distribute the load to vehicle wheels. But there’s still a certain amount of weight you can solely apply on the tongue.

And from the above discussion, we know this certain amount is 10% of the total loaded trailer weight of the vehicle when it comes to F150 trucks. So even though you’ve got a maximum tow rating to follow, you should still find out that the weight applied on the tongue doesn’t cross the 10% limit.

According to Ford, the applied weight on the tongue should also abide by a few more rules. I want you to have a look at those as well.

Factors to Consider While Putting Tongue Weight

According to Ford, there are two things you need to be careful about to accommodate the tongue load weight in your F150. Check them out.

● Payload should Accommodate Tongue Weight to Maintain GVWR

The payload capacity (weight of cargo and passengers combined) will have to be decreased accordingly if tongue weight is applied. It’s because you need to balance the overall gross vehicle weight rating, which is made up as follows:

GVWR = Payload (weight of cargo and passengers) + the curb weight (vehicle weight without payload) + tongue weight.

So don’t carry overwhelming cargo or passengers since the combined weight of the payload, curb, and tongue mustn’t exceed GVWR.

● Maintain the GAWR

Similar to GVWR; you should be careful that the payload (weight of cargo and passengers), curb weight (only vehicle’s weight), and tongue weight don’t combinedly exceed the gross axle weight rating.

You can find the GVWR, GAWR, and Curb weight of your F150 in the Safety Compliance Certification Label of the vehicle. So you need to be careful about the payload (the amount of cargo and passengers) and tongue weight so as to keep everything within the specified range.

Measuring Tongue Load

Final part of my discussion; since you’re now well aware of how much tongue weight can an F150 handle, it’s time to find out how to measure it.

Well, you probably have to do some shopping since the Ford F150 doesn’t include accessories for easy measurement of tongue weight. Interestingly, they also ask you to buy a few of these things on their official website.

So you’ll need to buy:

● A hitch ball or ball mounting with a built-in gauge.

● Weight-distributing equipment such as snap-up brackets, equalizing arms, and sway control system (since you want to achieve the maximum specified limit for tongue weight, get these stuff). They also help you with max tow capacity (Not sure if your F150 has a max tow package? Check out our article How to tell if F150 has max tow package).

But here I’ll talk about the hitch ball that comes with a measuring gauge. It’s easy to install, and if you find it difficult, check out this video. Now once you have installed the ball mount or hitch ball, you can put weight on the trailer to see if the gauge comes with it functioning properly.

It should show a reading like the following once the weight is on the trailer, which is connected through the hitch receiver to your F150. If you want to see how it works, you can see this video here.

Scale that measures tongue weight

So you’ve to ensure that the tongue weight stays within the specified limit we discussed above. If you exceed this tongue weight limit, you could overload the distribution hitch, which can cause axle, rear tires, and brake fatigue and failure.

Similarly, you need to put enough weight on the tongue; otherwise, the under-distribution will cause the trailer to sway from side to side and can’t be controlled properly.

Key Takeaways:

How much tongue weight can an F150 handle? It’s 10% of the total loaded trailer weight (equivalent to max towing capacity, gross trailer weight, or weight-distributing capacity for hitch receivers). I’ll be ending the article with takeaways I’ve had so far. Do check them out to have a summary of the article.

● The total loaded trailer weight can be found on the sticker of the hitch receiver in F150 as max gross trailer weight/weight-distributing capacity.

● The maximum tongue weight an F150 can handle is 10% of the total loaded trailer weight or max towing capacity. So if the vehicle has 12,000 lbs loaded trailer weight, the maximum tongue weight it can handle will be 1,200 lbs.

● Maximum tongue weight can vary. The newer F150 models and the ones with hitch receivers have more towing capacity, hence have an increased max tongue weight rating.

● Payload or the load of the cargo and passengers should be optimized to accommodate tongue weight so that the combined weight of the payload, curb, and tongue doesn’t exceed GVWR and GAWR.

● A hitch ball or ball mounting with a built-in gauge is necessary to measure the trailer tongue weight. Be careful about both under and over-loading of tongue weight. Overloading can cause component failure, while under-distribution will make it hard to control the trailer.

● F150 also doesn’t include Weight-distributing equipment such as snap-up brackets, equalizing arms, and sway control system, which could be bought to achieve the max tow capacity and tongue weight.

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