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How to Choose the Best Trailer Hitch for Your Vehicle

Are you in need of a new hitch? If so then most likely you are towing something very heavy and very important. Important and costly cargo means you need the right hitch to ensure you are getting to your destination efficiently and without damaging your vehicle, plus keeping everything in the trailer safe. But which hitch is right for you? Before you make a purchase, learn all you can so you feel good about what you’re putting on your truck.

Here’s how you get started:

Step #1 Look at your vehicle’s make and model. It’s very possible that the make and model of your vehicle affect which hitch you can get. This is particularly true if you’re planning on towing with a car or SUV and not a pickup truck. The vehicle’s maximum towing capacity is going to matter too. If you can’t find that information on your owner’s manual, use the make and model to look it up online.

Step #2 Consider your trailer. It’s not just your vehicle that matters here! What is your trailer type? You’ll also need to know the gross trailer weight, tongue weight, and coupler socket size. This will be determining what diameter ball you need. Does your trailer already have safety chains? If not, are new chains required?

Step #3 Figure out your capacities. You can’t tow more than your vehicle and trailer will allow, so there is no sense getting a heavy-duty hitch you don’t need. Two of the most important factors for doing this are Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) and Tongue Weight (TW). First, you should determine the GTW and TW of your trailer when fully loaded. Next, you should determine whether your vehicle is rated to accept the weight of your trailer. Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) is the fully loaded weight of your trailer in the condition that you would tow it in. If you don’t know the weight of your trailer, that’s not a problem. Simply measure it on a vehicle scale by taking it to a nearby weigh station.

Step #4 Decide on your class. Receiver hitches are perhaps the most common for both commercial and recreational towing. They are further divided into several classes. Each type of trailer hitch has a unique purpose and coupling style, as well as its own set of capacities and sizes to make sure it’s the exact right fit. For instance, Class 1 can handle up to 2,000 lbs. gross trailer weight and be used on cars. It goes all the way up to CD Class 5 which is common on dually and chassis cab trucks and can handle up to 20,000 lbs. gross trailer weight. Your hitch need will probably be somewhere in between.

Don’t settle for anything less than exactly what you want and need.

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