Towing a trailer is more than the process of connecting it to your vehicle and starting the car. When buying a towing hitch, there is a horde of considerations to ensure that you have the right hitch for the job. Hitches come in handy when you have a boat, a recreational vehicle, horse trailer or any other form of a trailer. In this post, you will know which one is the best towing hitch that you can buy right now.
Towing Hitch Buying Guide
Hitches offer a safe way to haul a trailer. You may use a ball attached to your car’s bumper, but this can only haul a limited weight with no height adjustments. When you install a hitch, you get to adjust the height of the ball and you can carry heavier loads with ease. There are different reasons why one would need a hitch and there are different varieties of hitches to meet their needs.
Some of the needs of a trailer include pulling a horse trailer, pulling a bass boat to the lake and pulling parade float. When planning to buy a towing hitch, you need to know the specifications of the hitch you want to buy based on your towing needs and the vehicle that the hitch will be mounted to. There are a couple of other factors to be considered when purchasing a towing hitch as expounded below. First of all, the best towing hitch is a hitch that fits your car perfectly.
Make and Model of your Vehicle
There are towing hitches that are custom-made, for instance, the Reese Towpower hitch models reviewed above. Granted, you will need to know the make, model and year of your vehicle. If there is a hitch designed specifically for your vehicle, that is the hitch you need to buy since some designs do not fit some vehicles. Again, you need to consider the towing capacity of your vehicle before deciding which hitch will work for your car.
The Quality of the Towing Hitch
Towing hitch manufacturers are different and so is the quality of their hitches. Some designs offer more benefits in terms of performance and durability. Most hitches, especially the heavy-duty hitches are made of all-welded steel and this gives them the strength needed to pull heavy loads. Buying a high-quality hitch makes all the difference in towing performance.
When a hitch is made of stainless steel, it offers a long productive life and safe towing. If the hitch comes with a powder coated finish, it stays resistant to rust, chipping, UV damage and other elements. You should also look at the welds to ensure that there are no weaknesses in the welding; weaknesses can lead to a fail.
To be safe, it is always great to buy a hitch from a company that offers a generous warranty on the finish of the hitch and on the frame. By so doing, you are guaranteed of a long productive life of the hitch.
The best way to choose the right hitch for your trailer is to consider classes. Put simply, classes consider those different items to be towed come in different dimensions, sizes, and weight and as such categorize these items in 6 groups. Having the knowledge of classes will help you determine the hitch that will meet your needs with ease.
Class I is a light duty hitch pulling only up to 2000 pounds with no more than 200 pounds tongue weight. This is installed on passenger cars and small crossover SUVs. These are created with a 1.25-inch by 1.25-inch receiver tube for ball mount. To match their towing capacity, these hitches are used to pulling light to medium duty cargo, boats, motorcycles and small utility trailers.
Class II hitches are created with moderate duty receivers and are commonly installed in small trucks, mid-sized sedans, and minivans. Just like the class I hitch receivers, these are created with 1.25-inch by 1.25-inch receiver tube for ball mount, and they are rated for a gross towing capacity of 3500 pounds and 350 pounds tongue weight. You can use these to tow moderate cargo such as mid-sized boats, and small campers.
Class III hitch receivers are versatile and the most commonly used. They are designed to be mounted on pickup trucks, full-size SUVs, and minivans. They sport a 2-inch by 2-inch receiver tube for ball mount and they work well with a weight distribution system to increase their gross towing capacity. These hitches can pull weights up to 6000 pounds with tongue weight up to 600 pounds. You can use these to tow mid-sized campers, mid-sized boats, and utility trailers.
Class IV are heavy-duty hitch receivers; they are designed to tow heavy duty cargo. These are installed on heavy-duty pickup trucks and large SUV vehicles. This class is rated for towing up to 10,000 pounds gross trailer weight and up to 1000 pounds tongue weight. Seeing that the hitch can be connected to a weight distribution system, the gross trailer weight can increase up to 12000 pounds. You can tow large campers, toy haulers and large boats with this hitch.
These are the heaviest duty hitch models, which are installed on the tow vehicle’s rear. Given the heavy duty nature of the tow hitch, they are mounted on heavy-duty vehicles including commercial trucks. The hitches feature a 2.5-inch by 2.5-inch receiver tubes for ball mount and they can tow up to 12,000 pounds gross trailer weight with up to 1200 tongue weight. These come in handy in towing heavy duty loads such as full-size campers, car haulers, equipment trailers, large boats and almost anything else that may need hauling.
Fifth Wheel and Gooseneck
5th wheel trailer hitch and gooseneck are less common and are only used in industries. They are the strongest hitches in the industry with the capacity to tow up to 24000 pounds and 25000 pounds gross trailer weight respectively. They are created to pull the heaviest recreational vehicles, working trailers, equipment trailers and car haulers. The connection point of these hitches is on the bed of a 3/4-ton or 1-ton pickup truck just in front of the truck’s rear axle.
It is an unwritten rule that fifth wheel hitches are used for heavy recreational vehicles while gooseneck hitches are used for working trailers.
After knowing the different classes and choosing the class that will meet your needs, choosing a hitch will be easier for you. However, it is important not to forget to check the towing capacity of your vehicle so as to be on the safe side.
Towing Hitch Varieties
To meet the different towing needs, there are different types of hitches, each designed to accommodate the towing of a different item. Hitch manufacturers are making it easier to install and more efficient to tow a given item by creating a hitch that fits a given need perfectly.
Tow Hitch Receiver
This is common in hitches from class I to class V. Here, the tow bar is mounted to the vehicle’s frame and the receiver works with ball mounts. The bar of the hitch, in most vehicles, is hidden under the bumper and only the receiver can be seen.
Fifth Wheel and Gooseneck Mounts
Fifth-wheel hitches install on the bed of a pickup truck. They can be installed with a sidewinder or a slider, which ensures the balance of the trailer when taking a corner and ensuring that the trailer does not hit the cab. The gooseneck is also attached to the bed of a truck, but unlike the fifth wheel, the gooseneck leaves room on the truck’s bed.
Front Mount Hitches
These are more or less like the trailer hitch receivers but they are smaller and designed to be connected underneath the vehicle’s front. They are created to receive a ball mount and are commonly used on SUVs and truck. Some of the common uses include winch, snowplow and bike rack towing.
Specialty Trailer Hitch
You will get these if you need something special such as an invisible hitch, weld-on hitch, RV-bumper mount trailer hitch, and fixed tongue hitch among others. Each of these hitches is created to carry out a specific function and you can just if you need that specific function. Some of these hitches are not available on the market and have to be custom-made. You can always request for them from the manufacturer and you will be directed further.
Square or Round Tube?
In addition to choosing the type of hitch and the class, you will need to decide whether to buy a round or a square tube. Round tubes are sleek and streamlined, and they also create a clearance between the components attached to your vehicle’s frame and the bumpers and exhaust. A square tube, in some cases, will offer a towing advantage of up to 1000 pounds more in trailer gross weight capacity and 100 pounds more tongue weight. In most cases, the shape you choose is a matter of preferences as the differences in performance, most of the times, are negligible. And if you want a little extra room for your trailer coupler you can buy a trailer hitch extender.
Best Towing Hitch of 2018
There are different classes of hitches available, and as such, you need to choose the right one based on your needs.
A good hitch secures your trailer to your truck or small car. I took into consideration the following criteria: towing class, price, quality.
Below are some of the best towing hitch models.
Read moreBest Towing Hitch 2018 – Buyer’s Guide and Review