So you have decided you need a trailer hitch. Trailer hitches come in a variety of styles and sizes and are used for many different things. Knowing what you are going to be towing and what type of vehicle will be doing the towing, is the first thing you should consider.
For instance, if you plan on hauling a horse trailer behind your pick-up, you don’t want to use a ball hitch. Instead you should be looking at getting a fifth wheel hitch. The horse trailer weighs too much, is abnormally shaped and shouldn’t be towed by a ball hitch.
Trailer hitches are not just for towing a trailer. There are also many hitch accessories to choose from.
When choosing a trailer hitch think of all the options that are available to you. Ask yourself what I am I going to be towing or carrying?
- Recreational Vehicles (motorcycles, ski jets, snowmobiles)
- Recreational Trailers (trailers, 5th wheels)
- Horse Trailer
- Mount spare tire
These are just to name a few. Your type of vehicle will also determine the size of load you can carry. Make sure you check the towing capacity of the vehicle you intend to use for your hauling. Never exceed the limit.
For instance, you wouldn’t try to tow an RV behind your motorcycle, right? Well the same principle applies to other types of vehicles as well. Trying to tow your horse trailer behind your car wouldn’t be a wise choice either. Take the time to consider these things.
- Safety First
- Make sure that the size of your trailer hitch ball is correct
- Check that your cargo load does not exceed the recommended weight for your vehicle and your hitch
- Make sure that safety chains and locks are secure.
- Make sure that your trailer wiring harness is working correctly
- Make sure that all parts are in working order
- Practice: Make sure you are comfortable towing
- Check that your load is balanced
- Check tire pressure on tow vehicle and trailer
- Make sure brakes are in good working order
- Make sure you have a spare for your trailer
- Adjust your mirrors, and watch your blind spots
- Slow down and avoid sudden steering maneuvers
You want to enjoy your towing experience. Accidents can happen but if you take the time to make sure things are working properly there is less chance of this happening.
You should also try not to buy the cheapest model of hitch. The quality is important, and you will want to use your hitch for many years to come.
Once you’ve chosen the type of hitch you want to use, you should make sure that the brand you buy is compatible with your vehicle. Ask a dealer or get it installed for you, that way you will know that the hitch fits and is compatible.
Here is a brief list of hitches and what they can be used for:
- Ball Hitches: For light to medium loads.
- Gooseneck Hitches: Heavy loads.
- Fifth Wheel Hitch: Very heavy loads.
- Weight Distribution Hitches: Heavy to very heavy loads.
- Receiver Hitches: Very light loads (spare tire etc).
I hope this article helps you to choose your hitch. It can be a painstaking process, but it will be well worth it in the end. You will have more freedom and I’m sure you’ll thank yourself many times after you’ve installed it.
About the Author
Scott Gray is a freelance author and web site publisher who provides useful information and money saving tips about trailer hitches, receiver hitches and heavy duty trailer hitches.