Have you ever noticed a vehicle towing a trailer in zigzag ways or unevenly on the highways? Such an issue can happen, along with accidents, if the trailer hitch is too high or too low. So, how high should a trailer hitch be off the ground?
A trailer hitch should be at least 17 inches off the ground. If you put weight on the trailer, it will lean on the front area. So, putting a distance between the ground and the hitch prevents different issues.
But you don’t just take out your hitch and set it up on the vehicle and trailer. There are some measurements to do and some rules to follow. Lucky for you, this single article has all the information you need to know.
How High Should A Trailer Hitch Be Off The Ground?
When driving around with a trailer, ensuring both the vehicle and the trailer are level is mandatory. And to do that, you need to make sure that the hitch is at the right height.
The trailer hitch needs to be at least 16-17 inches off the ground. The distance between the hitch and the ground depends on the type of hitch you are using and the coupler. Besides, the height of the receiver hitch on your vehicle plays a role in how high or low the hitch will be.
How To Measure A Trailer Hitch Height?
To ensure accurate measurements for the trailer hitch height, you need to go through a few procedures. Here is a step-by-step guideline for you to follow.
Step 1: Park Your Vehicle And Trailer On A Flat Surface
You will end up with the wrong hitch height if you do not park your car and trailer on a flat surface. Choose a spot that does not have any bump or tilting area. You can use a spirit level to ensure both the vehicle and the trailer are level.
Step 2: Measure The Hitch Receiver’s Height
Take a measuring tape to measure your vehicle’s hitch receiver height. Place the tape’s end on the ground and extend it until it meets the edge of the vehicle’s hitch receiver. Then note the nearest quarter inch.
Step 3: Measure The Trailer’s Coupler
Now go to your trailer and repeat the process of step three. Measure the height between the ground and the trailer’s tongue or coupler and note it.
Step 4: Do The Math
Most of us suck at math, but this one is easy-peasy. All you have to do is to subtract the receiver’s height from the coupler.
Step 5: The Result
If the answer is in the positive number, it means you have to raise the trailer hitch. On the other hand, you need to drop the hitch height if you get a negative result. And if the heights of the coupler and the receiver are the same, you are good to go.
Danger Of Poor Hitch Setup
I know all this information sounds pretty tricky and time-consuming. But when it comes to attaching the trailer to the hitch and connecting it to your towing vehicle, you must take your time. Issues occur when the hitch is too high or too low. And here is what you have to face if that happens.
When you have set up the hitch lower than it should be, the trailer will put more weight on the back of your vehicle. It will prevent the weight from getting distributed.
Furthermore, the uneven weight will bend the back of your car and cause damage. And the weight on the back will make it challenging to steer and control your vehicle.
A too-high hitch is even more dangerous. When the hitch height is higher than the trailer, the trailer will start tipping backward. This unbalanced weight distribution will result in a hazardous driving situation.
So when you have an unbalanced trailer due to the wrong hitch set up, it becomes risky to drive it. The load on the trailer will keep rolling back and forth the entire time. Thus, it can damage if there are any fragile objects or furniture on it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What Is The Standard Size For Trailer Hitch Balls?
The standard size for a trailer hitch ball is two inches. It is because most of the trailers come with a two inches size coupler.
But you can find variations in the ball’s size. Hitch balls can be of 1-7/8 and 2-5/16 inches, depending on the size of the trailer.
Q. Can You Flip A Trailer Hitch Upside Down?
There is no law against turning the hitch upside down. So it is safe to say that you can do it. It is called the rise and drop of the hitch position. And turning it upside down does not make any difference in the hitch’s towing capacity.
Q. Why Does A Trailer Sway?
Trailer sway is not uncommon. Since it is not a part of the vehicle, a minimum sway is usual. But if it moves a lot, there can be a few issues.
Trailers sway if you are driving too fast or there is a crosswind. It can also happen if there is no hitch or has a poorly attached one.
Q. How To Prevent A Trailer From Swaying?
Here are a few things that you can do to prevent your trailer from swaying a lot:
- The first rule is not to overload the towing vehicle.
- The loads on the trailer should not be more than its gross weight.
- Drive slow, especially during crosswinds.
- Make sure the hitch is well secured.
Every day around the world, road accidents happen. And a part of it occurs due to a poorly set up hitch and trailer. That’s why it is dangerous to drive around with a trailer that has an unbalanced hitch.
For this reason, it is essential to know the answer to the question, “How high should a trailer hitch be off the ground?” Remember to ensure that your towing vehicle and the trailer are leveled before you take the measurements. Be patient when you go through the procedure, and it will provide a safe and less bumpy ride for you.