Trailer hitches can be a handy device if you want to tow something. These hitches allow you to add more load to your vehicle and transport things anywhere. But how does a trailer hitch work?
Generally, a trailer hitch works through a vehicle hitch ball and the towing trailer’s coupler. You need to attach the trailer hitch coupler over the hitch ball to make the hitch work. The coupler and the ball must be of the right size to make it work properly.
Not all hitches are the same. And they don’t come with the same capacity. You can find more about trailer hitches in the rest of this article.
How Does A Trailer Hitch Work?
A trailer hitch comes with a latching mechanism, and that is how it mainly works. There is a welded or bolted coupler at the end of the trailer’s hitch. And at the end of the towing vehicle, there is a hitch ball.
Using that latching mechanism, you attach the trailer hitch coupler to the hitch ball. It means the coupler clamps around the ball to secure the trailer to the vehicle. But the coupler and the hitch ball should be of the same size to fit perfectly and ensure a safer connection.
6 Types Of Trailer Hitch
Though almost all trailer hitches work almost the same way, it is best to recognize the types to understand their functions better. Here are more about different types of trailer hitches.
1. Receiver Hitch (Class 1-5)
The receiver hitch is one of the most common trailer hitches you will come across. This hitch is categorized into 5 different classes based on towing capacity.
Class 1 is the most light-duty hitch, while class 5 is the highest-duty hitch. The hitch comes with a square-shaped tube that allows you to insert anything to get the tow trailer attached.
2. Front Mounted Hitch
The front hitch is similar to the receiver hitch, but you install it at the front of your vehicle rather than the rear. This type of hitch is handy for multiple uses, including carrying cargoes.
But you should know that front hitches do not come with any particular rating. So make sure to double-check before purchasing one.
3. Bumper Mounted Hitch
The bumper-mounted trailer hitch looks almost similar to the receiver hitch. It also has a square-shaped tube to attach and tow trailers. But the difference between them is that you install this hitch on the car’s bumper instead of the car frame.
However, this type of trailer comes with a huge drawback. They are not suitable for carrying or towing any heavy objects.
4. Fifth Wheel Hitch
This one is the most interesting of all the hitch types you have known so far. The fifth wheel hitch is not installed on the front or rear of your vehicle.
On the contrary, you install this hitch right on your truck bed. This trailer hitch is for towing heavy-duty objects, such as other vehicles, heavy equipment, RV trailers, etc. A fifth wheel hitch comes with a massive load capacity.
5. Gooseneck Hitch
Now that you know about the fifth wheel hitch, you will easily understand how a gooseneck hitch works. Just like the previous hitch, this one also needs to be installed on the bed of the truck.
The hitch has a ball where you attach whatever you want to carry. But why is it called a gooseneck hitch? That is probably because once you make the attachment, the towing trailer’s hitch neck looks like a gooseneck once you attach it to the hitch ball.
6. Weight Distribution Hitch
Here is one more commonly seen trailer hitch. The weight distribution hitch is handy if you regularly carry an extra load or cargo.
This hitch comes with a rod frame design, and you attach it to the rear hitch ball of your vehicle. It helps distribute weight evenly between the truck and the trailer.
Benefits Of Using Trailer Hitch
Other than just towing trailers, here are some benefits you will get from using a trailer hitch.
- Carry Extra Load: Your vehicle cannot carry everything you want. So, adding a trailer hitch to attach a trailer will get you more space for more oversized items.
- Time-Saving And Energy: As the added trailer allows you to carry more stuff, you no longer need to make multiple trips to transport various items. Thus, it saves plenty of your time and energy.
- Trailer Hitch Step: You can install a step on the hitch other than adding a trailer or cargo. It will give you or the kiddos to get on the truck bed pretty easily.
- Cool Hitch Cover: If the hitch is not used, you can use a hitch cover. There is a vast range of hitch covers available in the market to enhance the appearance of your vehicle.
Tips To Use Trailer Hitch Safely
There are no hard and fast rules for using trailer hitches. But there are a thing or two you need to watch out for.
- Some states have laws to use tail lights for trailer hitches. So it is best if you check the required law to ensure you are doing everything right.
- After you are done attaching the trailer to your vehicle, try lowering the trailer jack and see if the hitch ball moves. If it does, it means the trailer is not secured correctly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How does a trailer stay on the ball?
When the trailer hitch coupler is the same size as the tow vehicle hitch ball, the adjustment becomes pretty easy. Only then will the coupler sit on the ball perfectly and prevent it from coming loose.
Q. What is the difference between a hitch and a receiver?
The hitch is basically a device you install on your tow vehicle, and it connects the trailer with your vehicle. On the other hand, a receiver is a device used to insert a ball mount to carry cargo.
Q. How long does it take to put a hitch on a car?
It takes around 30 minutes to several hours to install a hitch. Not all hitches come with the same installation process, and some are more complicated than others. Moreover, it also depends on the skill of the person installing the hitch because a professional takes less time than an inexperienced person to install a trailer hitch.
So, how does a trailer hitch work? It works when you set the hitch coupler over the vehicle’s hitch ball and secure both. Trailer hitches have a variety of uses and come with different capacities.
So make sure to know what type of hitch you need to install based on the type of cargo or items you will carry or transport. Once you realize the multiple uses of the hitch, you will see how much time and effort it saves.