The old saying goes that you can never be too rich or have too many toys, we would add that you can never have too much towing capacity. If you know the total weight of your tow vehicle and fully loaded weight of your trailer, then you have all the information you need to select the right trailer hitch.
Well, there might be just a little more to it than that but you get the idea. When you shop for a trailer hitch it’s a good idea to buy a little excess capacity. After all, the day might come when you’ll want that bigger boat or a larger camper. It doesn’t hurt anything now to tow a light trailer with the heavy duty trailer hitch you may need later.
Here’s a chart to show you the basic types of trailers that are most commonly in use today and the various tow vehicles. Follow the trailer column to where it meets the tow vehicle row and that’s the trailer hitch you will need.
Once you know what trailer hitch you need a phone call to us here at Chux Trux is the next step. There are many options in hitches, from capacity, to 1 piece or multi piece hitches, options that make it easier to tow and much more. We want you to get the hitch that meets all of your wants and needs. We will answer all of your questions and help you with recommendations to get you on the road quickly and safely.
And once you have the right hitch for the job you need a ball mount. The tow ball should match the size of the coupler on the trailer and should be the proper height so the trailer and tow vehicle are level. To compensate for a receiver tube on the tow vehicle that is higher or lower than the coupler on the trailer, ball mounts are made with a “drop”. That drop is measurement ‘C’ in this drawing:
In some cases your receiver hitch may be lower than the trailer coupler and for that you can get a “reversible” ball mount that will have a rise instead of a drop. You can also adjust the rise or drop by selecting a ball with a longer or shorter shank or neck.
If you have a trailer that weighs more than 3,500 pounds you might want to consider a weight distributing hitch. This hitch uses tension on spring bars to help keep everything level. And we don’t mean to sound like a broken record but call us or come in to see us at Chux Trux and we can help you decide on the best type of weight distributing hitch for your specific application.
Controlling sway is another consideration when pulling a trailer. Trailers can catch a lot of wind and turbulence when going down the road, causing them to sway a little from side to side. This sway is transferred to the tow vehicle. Sort of like the tail wagging the dog. There are several different types of sway control, but for most people, adding a set of Hellwig sway bars (or anti-sway bars to be absolutely correct) can reduce trailer sway by a large amount. The bonus is it makes your truck handle better even without the trailer. And with no moving parts, they are worry free. Many trucks and SUV’s come equipped with sway bars from the factory, but they are generally pretty wimpy, to say the least. Typical of the OEM’s, they go for cost and weight savings over performance.
In the case of large camper trailers and toy haulers, your trailer hitch decision is much easier. Your trailer will require either a 5th wheel hitch or a gooseneck hitch mounted in the bed of your ¾ or 1-ton pick-up truck. A 5th wheel can handle up to 30,000 pounds and 5,000 pounds of pin weight (tongue weight) while a gooseneck can take 30,000 pounds and 6,000 pounds of pin weight.
Some of these trailer hitches can be folded down when not in use returning your truck’s bed to full function, but these typically have less weight capacity than the fixed type. Generally, 5th wheel trailers are more for recreational uses like toy haulers and campers while the gooseneck is more suited to working trailers like livestock haulers, hay trailers, etc.
So just remember, match the weight of your fully loaded trailer to the capacity of the trailer hitch and then add in a little margin for safety and you’ll be good to go. Call us at Chux Trux with any questions you have, or if you’re in the Kansas City area, stop and see us. We are the trailer hitch experts in Kansas City. We have more hitches in stock, ready to install, than any other dealer in town. We carry hitches made by Curt Manufacturing exclusively for one reason, they are the best. You might find a cheap trailer hitch but Curt’s hitches fit better, work better, and look better than any of the others. And the difference in price between a cheap trailer hitch and the best trailer hitch is usually about $20, so give us a call. We’re Kansas City’s experts in trailer hitches and towing.
All of the staff here at Chux are highly trained and have a lot of towing experience themselves so let us show you what we can do for you to make your towing experience not only safe, but fun too.