Trailer Hitches: 5 Different Types of Hitches

BY MICHAEL D.

Just as there’s more than one way to skin a cat, there’s more than one way to haul your heavy load – and no way is the wrong way, unless you’re using the wrong hitch class. It all depends on the size and weight of said load, and the kind of trailer hitch setup your vehicle allows for. Read on to find out which of the five different types of hitches are most applicable to your car, truck, van, Jeep or SUV.

1

RECEIVER (Class 1-5)

Receiver hitches are categorized in classes 1 through 5, according to the maximum amount of weight they can tow. Unsurprisingly, Class 1 hitches are for lighter loads and Class 5s are for serious-business capacities. In the United States, hitches in classes 1 and 2 are good for loads no heavier than 3,500 lbs and work with smaller receiver diameters of 1.25” and 2”. Class 3, 4 and 5 hitches usually top-out around 10,000 lbs. Classes 3 and 4 match up with 2” receivers and Class 5 hitches with 2.5” receivers, respectively.

2

BUMPER-MOUNTED

Hitches that mount to the bumper rather than the frame allow for greater adjustment and flexibility. It’s the ideal choice for hauling a wide variety of loads, from boat trailers to campers and much more. Because of the way they install, however, bumper-mounting hitches can only carry as much weight as – you guessed it – your bumper can, so be aware of that before linking up.

3

FRONT-MOUNTED

Front-mounting hitches are a great alternative to rearward hitches because they allow you to see where you’re going when you’re trying to line things up. They also accommodate hitch steps, cargo carriers, winch mounting plates and other accessories that no seasoned camper or off-roader can do without. Easing your boat in or out of the water will never be easier than with a front-mounted hitch.

4

5TH WHEEL

Unlike any of the previous hitches we’ve discussed, which install either in the rear or front of your vehicle’s chassis, fifth wheel hitches go right in the middle of your truck bed, mounting to the industry standard rails, directly above the axle. These are intended for towing massive RV trailers, with a maximum weight limit of 8 tons. For obvious reasons, these can only be used with pickup trucks.

5

GOOSENECK

Gooseneck hitches for gooseneck trailers give you a tighter turn radius, which comes in handy when hauling unwieldy freight like livestock trailers and flatbeds. Like fifth wheel hitches, they mount in the bed of your pickup, the job made easy by a special installation kit, but it won’t get in the way of complete bed access when you’re not using it. They also have higher weight capacities than average.

Whatever you need to bring along for the ride, no matter how heavy it sits or how hard it is to get around corners, the right hitch is waiting for you here. If you need a little more help determining which one is right for you, call the experts at 1-800-874-8888 – they’ll be glad to assist you.