The weight that the drawbar of your bike carrier, trailer, caravan, boat trailer or horsebox exerts on your towbar is called nose weight. This should never be too high or too low and should always keep within a certain margin. This maximum nose weight differs per car, but usually lies between 45 and 75 kg.
Finding nose weight
The maximum allowed nose weight is established by the car manufacturer and is listed on the nameplate of the towbar and the VIN plate of the car. You will find the right weight under the maximum vertical load. In the exceptional case that the maximum vertical load on your nameplate differs from that of your vehicles VIN plate, the details on the VIN plate are leading.
If the nose weight is too high, this will force the rear of the vehicle down giving less traction to the front wheels. This results in bad road holding for both car and trailer, caravan, boat trailer or horsebox. If the nose weight is too low, the combination is less stable as well.
Take care with bike carriers
If you have bikes on the back of the car, the nose weight usually fast approaches the maximum prescribed by the car manufacturer. A carrier with two bikes is usually not a problem, but a carrier for three to four bikes requires keeping a close eye on to ensure the nose weight does not exceed the prescribed maximum vertical load.
Measure nose weight
The nose weight can be measured with a suspended tension spring with scale division. However, it is a lot easier with a personal scale. Place a strip of wood in the head of the coupling, then put the wood on the scale and check the weight. Then, measure the weight with the wood and scales under the nose wheel. That way you know for sure the nose weight is correct. The safest and easiest option is to buy a nose weight gauge at trailers and caravan vendors, or even order them online. A nose weight gauge is also called a drawbar force gauge.