Tongue emerges from a trailer

Why is a trailer tongue important?

Purpose of the Trailer Tongue

When towing, the tongue is often overlooked. Users like to focus on glamorous towing capacity numbers of the tow vehicle, and/or the quirks and features of what the trailer itself can accomplish. But the tongue is actually one of the most important parts of a trailer design.

What makes the trailer tongue such an important element of a good tow?


The towing vehicle is important, too. Check out some sweet towers in our new Toyota inventory!


The trailer tongue provides several important jobs from its humble perch, in addition to its main one of keeping your trailer attached and at a healthy distance from the towing vehicle. These are:

  • Keeping the trailer in balance when towing
  • Keeping weight on the tow hitch (essential for controlled towing)
  • Adding stiffness to the chassis
  • Keeping the trailer running both true and stable (depending on axle and load placement)

How can I choose a good trailer tongue?

A quality trailer tongue should have good vertical and sideways strength. The ideal can differ depending on the size of the trailer and of the loads you’re planning on transporting. As such, the tongue impacts what kinds of loads you can safely transport.

Humanoid tongue ala the Rolling Stones logo emerges from a trailer hitch

What causes wear to a trailer tongue?

The trailer tongue does a lot of work; every bump in the road, after all, transfers stress through the tongue. This results in constant compressing, twisting and stretching of the tongue material.

Over time, even a properly utilized trailer tongue will experience decay. Repeated loading or unloading of stresses on the tongue can create microscopic cracks within the grain of the tongue material. This stress is exacerbated if your trailer has an undersized tongue, or if the trailer is constantly overloaded or unbalanced.

What’s the danger of an overstressed trailer tongue?

Over time, wear on the trailer tongue causes microscopic cracks in the material to grow. Eventually, a point is reached where the tongue suddenly fractures and fails. This can occur even with a tongue that has been properly used for a long period of time. Different tongue designs can endure differing levels of loading and unloading stress.

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