If you tow anything behind your vehicle, you're going to need a trailer hitch. Hitches are necessary for pulling trailers, boats, jet skis, or fifth wheels behind a vehicle. In order to choose the correct hitch for your vehicle and load, you'll want to take many things into account. Plus, it is vital to read your owner's manual.
Trailer hitches come in six different classes (1, 2, 2.5, 3, 4 and 5). The class you choose will depend on your vehicle and what you plan to tow.
Always read your vehicle owner's manual
It is imperative to read your owner's manual before you decide to tow anything behind your vehicle. The owner's manual of your vehicle will tell you its tow rating. A tow rating is a group of specifications telling you how much weight your vehicle can tow. You must pick a trailer hitch with the same tow rating as your vehicle. Your vehicle's make, year, and model will affect which model of hitch you choose.
Choosing the trailer hitch
To select the right trailer hitch for your towing needs you need to know how much the trailer weighs with a full load. The tongue weight (the force pressing down on the trailer hitch) is affected by the weight of the trailer. You can contact a local trailer dealer to discuss your needs and make sure you have an accurate weight by using a public scale.
Weight-distributing trailer hitches
Weight distribution hitches spread some of the loaded trailer's weight to your vehicle's front axle. When the vehicle's front axle carries the same amount of weight as the tongue, you are able to have proper control of steering.
Gooseneck trailer hitches
Gooseneck hitches are mounted in a truck bed, or on its underside, where the connection point is centered. Farm and industrial equipment (including horse trailers), and fifth wheels are all best hauled on this type of trailer. Gooseneck hitches are meant only for use with trucks, never use with a car.
It is important that you talk to someone at your local Department of Motor Vehicles prior to towing anything. This will ensure that you fulfill any requirements your state has for towing. Some states require permits or licenses for trailers over a certain weight or size. Safety equipment such as rear- or side-view mirrors is required by some states. Most states require the use of safety chains.
Whatever you are planning to haul, you're sure to find the right hitch for the job. Trailer hitches make towing a big load a lot easier. Once you've figured out which trailer hitch is right for you, you'll be able to tow your large load.