Your trailer hitch or tow hitch is rated two different ways, total amount of tongue weight and the total towing capacity. The gross towing weight or (GTW) is the gross weight that is allowed for that hitch to be towing. There are different rated hitches for the weight you will be towing and usually range from 1000 to 10,000 pounds. The tongue weight refers to the maximum amount of weight that can be put onto the tongue of the trailer and usually ranges from 100 pounds to 1200 pounds. A smaller lighter tow vehicle will have a low hitch capacity and the heavier trucks or motor homes will have a higher capacity.
When checking the rating for your vehicle and the rating for your hitch it is important to notice if they have different capacities. If the capacities are different then you have to use the lower of the two to determine what capacity you can tow with your hitch. To figure out what the vehicles towing capacity is rated at check your vehicles manual or your local dealership. If the hitch capacity is not noted in your vehicles manual it will usually be stamped on the hitch. If your vehicle or hitch does not indicate a tongue weight load, then you can use this theory. If you know the weight of your trailer then your tongue weight will be ten percent of the total trailer weight. So if your trailer weighs 3000 pounds your tongue weight should be 300 pounds.