Traveling light is for college kids backpacking through Europe. The rest of us enjoy our toys too much to consider going anywhere without them. And, whether you’re hauling a massive camper trailer or tailgating gear, you’re going to need a reliable trailer hitch to keep from losing your load on the first sharp curve.
Trailer hitches, also known as a tow hitch or receiver hitches are devices that attach to the chassis of a vehicle and allow the towing of campers, boats or recreational equipment. Trailer hitches come in many configurations: receiver, gooseneck and 5th wheel hitches. Receiver-type hitches mount to the frame of a vehicle and have either a 1.25" or 2" square slot for connecting your trailer or accessories like hitch bike racks, hitch cargo carriers or even a hitch-mounted BBQ. Fixed-drawbar hitches feature a one-piece construction and have a built-in hole for the trailer ball, but, as a result, are usually not compatible with aftermarket hitch accessories.
What are the Different Trailer Hitch Classifications?
Here in the US, trailer hitches are classified into five separate categories based on the amount of weight they can tow. Classes 1 and 2 accommodate lighter loads, capping out around 3,500 lbs. These also have a smaller receiver size of 1 1/4". Classes 3, 4 and 5 on the other hand are considered “heavy-duty” trailer hitches and can muscle up to 10,000 lbs. These are 2" receivers (for class 3 and 4) and 2.5" for class 5. They’re intended for towing larger items, like boats and campers. When you need even more towing capacity, a fifth wheel hitch can be added to most truck applications for up to 16,000 lbs of towing strength.
Tow Hitches are Made for a Variety of Vehicle Applications
High-grade trailer hitches are engineered for your specific make, model and year, like Chevy Silverado trailer hitches or Toyota Tacoma trailer hitches. Regardless of what vehicle you drive, high-grade hitches ensure a tight connection, safety and reliability for your cargo. They’re robotically-welded for durability and sealed against the elements with a powder-coat finish, keeping them looking factory-fresh and free of rust, corrosion and oxidation. Many trailer hitches, like those designed by CURT, are even crafted with an open back-end to allow for easy cleaning. For added style and safety, cover them with a hitch cover. Hitch covers are available in a wide assortment of designs and colors, and they shield against mud, moisture and grime when you're not towing.
Choosing the Right Trailer Hitch and Accessories for Your Vehicle
Finally, when you find yourself with too much gear for the cabin but not enough to justify the use of hitch cargo carriers, store the extra stuff on the roof. To make stowing and retrieving your gear easier, transform your trailer hitch into a portable step ladder with a hitch step. Available in a range of sizes and styles, a trailer hitch step is built sturdy enough to support your weight without so much as a creak. Crafted from heavy-duty 3” steel tubing, a hitch step provides a wide standing spot with a treaded step pad for sure footing during wet or icy weather. Plus, many even come with an anti-rattle device for stability and noise reduction and a storage bag for conveniently stowing the hitch step when not in use. Take a look at trailer hitch reviews and find out which one is best for you.