Benefits of an Air Hitch vs Standard Rigid Hitch
Towing is a significant aspect of driving that often goes unnoticed until the need arises. Whether hauling a boat for a weekend getaway or transporting heavy equipment for a construction project, the quality and type of hitch you use can significantly impact your towing experience. This blog post will delve into the world of hitches, exploring standard hitches, air hitches, and the factors to consider when choosing between the two.
Understanding Standard Hitches
As mentioned in the content, hitches play a crucial role in towing. But what exactly are hitches?
A hitch is a device that attaches to your vehicle’s frame and allows you to tow or pull another object behind it. It acts as a connecting point between your vehicle and the trailer, camper, or any other thing you’re towing. The hitch’s design and construction determine its capacity, weight limit, and ease of use.
There are various standard hitches, but the two most common are ball mount and receiver hitches.
- As the name suggests, a ball mount hitch consists of a ball-shaped component attached to the towing vehicle. The trailer’s coupler latches onto this ball, creating a secure connection.
- On the other hand, receiver hitches are characterized by a square or rectangular tube (the receiver) that accepts a variety of hitch-mounted accessories, including ball mounts.
Key Components and Functionalities
The central components of a standard hitch include the hitch receiver, the hitch ball, and the hitch mount.
- The hitch receiver is the part that attaches to the vehicle. It’s designed to accommodate different types of hitch mounts.
- The hitch ball is where the trailer attaches. It provides a pivot point for the trailer to rotate around when turning.
- The hitch mount holds the hitch ball. It slides into the hitch receiver and is secured with a pin and clip.
The primary function of a hitch is to provide a secure connection between the vehicle and the trailer or load being towed. It must withstand the weight of the load and the forces exerted during motion.
Advantages and Limitations
Standard hitches come with several advantages. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and offer a reliable connection for towing tasks. They also come in various sizes and styles, making finding one that fits your vehicle and meets your towing needs easy.
However, standard hitches also have their limitations. They can be noisy and may not provide the smoothest ride, especially when dealing with heavier loads or rough terrains. They also put more strain on the vehicle and the trailer, which can lead to faster wear and tear.
Unveiling Air Hitches
Now that we’ve covered standard hitches, let’s dive into air hitches. As the name implies, air hitches use air to cushion the connection between the vehicle and the trailer. They operate on a similar principle as air suspension systems, where compressed air is used to absorb shock and reduce vibrations.
How Air Hitches Work
An air hitch consists of an airbag mounted between the hitch receiver and hitch mount that acts as a shock absorber. When compressed air enters the airbag, it expands, creating a cushioning effect and reducing the strain on the vehicle and the trailer.
Benefits of Air Hitches
One of the primary benefits of air hitches is their ability to reduce vibrations and minimize vertical forces exerted on the vehicle and trailer. This results in a smoother ride and less wear and tear on both vehicles.
Air hitches also distribute weight more evenly, reducing the strain on specific vehicle parts. Additionally, air hitches offer adjustability, allowing users to control the amount of air they want to enter the airbag. This gives them more control over their towing experience and can be particularly useful when dealing with heavy or uneven loads.
Air Hitch vs Standard Hitch
Before investing money into your towing needs, you must consider all the potential costs.
These estimates are based on over 20 years of data and our extensive towing experience. We’ve compiled these common issues that are widely known throughout the industry yet often overlooked or delayed.
Read these issues and use the column on the left to check those that you feel may apply to your towing situation. Then, review the impact and add up the costs, or estimate your own cost and compare that to our price at the bottom of this article.
|$300 – $2,500
|Loose connection around 5th wheel kingpin on a rigid hitch
|Slop around King Pin of up to 1/8” will cause forward and back clunking and a rough ride
|Adding Air Springs to Truck
|Will help the ride for up and down Will not help trailer ride Will not improve the rigid hitch connection and the transference from the truck to trailer.
|$800 – $1,200
|Wear & tear depreciation on tow vehicle due to rough ride while towing
|Tow vehicle + repairs cost when towing an average of 22,000 per year. Time to run around & fix at the dealer, rental, etc.
|$2,000 – $3,000
|Repair trailer damage contents, slide-outs, cabinets, dishes, etc.
|Welds broke on the frame, slide-outs, and hitch. Broken cabinets, dishes, shower doors, and other contents Time to run around to dealers and fix problems
|Excess tire wear and
problems on truck/trailer
|Tires with rigid hitch are forced to absorb all omnidirectional forces causing excessive wear.
|Tire blows on a trailer due to trailer sway, bouncing, and other conditions
|Shreds trailer sheet metal repair bill and changing a tire on the side of the road.
|Truck and/or trailer bounces because of road conditions
|You lose traction and control Safety becomes a major issue and peace of mind that you get with a smoother ride
|Fuel used when you are continually bouncing due to road conditions
|Best estimate 1 to 2 miles per gallon, not to mention drivetrain wear & tear resistance increasing proportionately
Tired of the bouncing and jerking?
Are you all tense up when you arrive at your destination?
Have you had a narrow escape and almost lost your trailer?
|Price of Towing
|If any of the items above occur, you could be stranded for hours or days waiting for repairs or parts.
|Back and neck problems due to bouncing and jerking. Driver fatigue and sore hands from the gripping steering wheel
Considerations When Choosing Between Standard and Air Hitches
When deciding between standard and air hitches, there are a few factors to consider. These include:
Type of Vehicle
The type of vehicle you own plays a significant role in determining the kind of hitch suitable for your needs. Not all vehicles can accommodate all types of hitches. For example, smaller vehicles may only be able to handle lightweight hitches, while larger vehicles like SUVs and trucks can handle more robust hitch types. Always check your vehicle’s towing capacity before purchasing a hitch.
How often you tow is another critical factor to consider. A standard hitch may suffice if you tow infrequently or only for short distances. However, an air hitch could offer greater comfort and durability if you tow frequently, especially over long distances. Air hitches provide a smoother ride by absorbing shocks and vibrations, which can benefit regular towing.
The weight of the load you plan to tow influences the type of hitch you need. Standard hitches are generally suitable for light to medium loads. In contrast, air hitches are designed to handle heavier loads more efficiently. Air hitches can reduce the strain on the vehicle and the trailer, potentially extending their lifespan. Always ensure the hitch you select can safely handle the weight of your trailer or load.
Cost and Maintenance
Consider the cost and maintenance requirements of the hitch. Standard hitches are typically less expensive upfront and require less maintenance than air hitches. However, an air hitch’s extra cost and maintenance could be a worthwhile investment in the long run. It’s important to consider both the initial cost and potential future costs related to maintenance and vehicle wear and tear.
Choosing the appropriate hitch goes beyond mere preference; it’s about aligning your needs with the right tool. Remember that the ultimate goal is safe and efficient towing. Evaluate your options carefully, considering your vehicle type, towing frequency, and load weight. With the right hitch, your towing experience can be as smooth as your drive.