Do I need a drop hitch?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Do I need a drop hitch? We will explain what a drop hitch is, what are the instances that you may need one, and how to measure the trailer hitch weight. 

Do I need a drop hitch?

Yes, you will need a drop hitch if the hitch height of your trailer is higher than the coupler height. To measure the drop hitch you will need, you first must calculate the difference between the hitch height and the coupler height. 

The purpose of a drop hitch is to connect the trailer or the camper to your vehicle without fearing it will tip over or be unleveled. A bad coupling height can cause premature aging of the axles, especially on double axles:

  • a hitch that is too low causes a load transfer on the front axle
  • a hitch that is too high causes a load transfer on the rear axle.

Here’s where the drop hitch makes the difference!

How to measure hitch drop and select a ball mount

When you are towing a trailer, it is important that you stay close to the level behind the vehicle in order to be as stable as possible. If the trailer is significantly out of level, then it can cause inconsistent wear between the front and rear wheels of the trailer and cause it to sway behind the towing vehicle while it is being driven.

To make sure your trailer is level you need to have the correct drop on your tow ball and calculate your hitch height needs. This measurement will also determine whether you need a drop hitch!

  1. Park your tow vehicle on a flat, level surface.
  2. Place the spirit level on a flat surface on the tow vehicle and the tow vehicle registration is the same level at the front as at the rear.
  3. Use the tape measure to find the vertical distance between the ground and the top of the hole where you had put the tow ball. This is the height of the hitch.

How to measure the height of the ball?

The height of the ball is the vertical distance between the ground and the centre of the ball. This measurement should be taken on level ground with the trunk and the vehicle empty. The height of the ball under load is measured in the same way as the maximum static weight allowed by the vehicle applied to the ball during the measurement.

At what height should the ball be positioned?

The height of the ball must be between 350mm and 420mm in the loaded position. The maximum load is defined by the vehicle manufacturer (PTAC). Alternatively, the ball can be positioned at the height defined by the manufacturer of the vehicle and its homologation.

Does my trailer/caravan have to be level when hitched?

A trailer boom leaning slightly forward is recommended for trailers equipped with a single axle because it reduces the lifting movement of the rear of the vehicle during emergency braking and therefore reduces the risk. wallet or rollover. When towing a trailer equipped with a double axle, you must ensure that the towing vehicle and the trailer are levels.

My kneecap is too low, what should I do?

Maybe it’s not the ball joint that is too low, but the coupling head of the trailer/caravan that is too high. All too often we assume that the problem comes from the hitch when in fact if there is no problem with ground clearance or stability, there is no reason to change anything. on the hitch. 

In spite of everything, in the case of an approved hitch, your options are: use a different position for the fitting (indeed some hitches have different height choices), have them check that the hitch has been installed correctly and that it has been positioned in its highest position when tightening the screws, check the vehicle suspensions (on some vehicles it may be necessary to install suspension aids). 

The change in position of the coupling head must be taken into account, as well as if the problem is with the jockey wheel, it can in some cases be repositioned.

My kneecap is too high, what should I do?

As in the question above, the problem may be caused by the trailer/caravan mismatch with the standard. In the case of an approved hitch your options are: use a different position for the fitting (indeed some hitches have different height choices), some hitches have been approved for use with ball lowering accessories. (Consult the assembly instructions for more information).

Can I use a riser plate to increase the height of the ball?

No. Doing so would change the positioning of the forces applied to the hitch and create a risk of the vehicle or hitch breaking. That too would void the approval of the hitch and possibly that of the vehicle’s insurance in the event of an accident.

How do you adjust the height of a trailer hitch?

It is possible to adjust the height of a hitch in just a few simple steps.  The hitch system between a towing vehicle and a trailer needs to be configured correctly so that the two can work together safely. The towing vehicle must be capable of supporting the weight of the trailer. 

Adjusting the hitch height on the towing vehicle and trailer will help you create a strong connection in the trailer hitch coupler, which will help reduce the risk of the trailer separating from the towing vehicle.

Here’s how to adjust the height of a hitch step by step:

  1. Use a rag, cleaning brush, and wire thinner to clean the bolt holes and other areas where the hitch ball will sit. The wire brush will make removing cocky road debris a simpler task because it will tear the dirt up.
  1. Use the tape measure to determine the distance between the towing vehicle and the ground. Also, measure the distance between the trailer and the ground.
  1. Adjust the height of the trailer hitch by changing the tension of the trailer spring bars. The trailer and the towing vehicle must be fixed at the same height. The spring bars can be located along with frame A of the trailer.
  1. Loosen the nut and lock the washer under the hitch ball. Raise or lower the hitch ball so that the trailer hitch can be sitting on top of the ball. Retighten the lock washer and bolt after the balloon has been adjusted to the required height.
  1. Place the trailer hitch on top of the hitch ball and lower the trailer onto the hitch ball so that the hitch coupler engages.-

Final thoughts

Purchasing a drop hitch device is a good idea whether to tow a luggage trailer, a work material trailer or to place several bikes safely on a specific support.

Likewise, to buy or rent a caravan or horse trailer taking into account the capacity of the vehicle, you also have to inform yourself and document yourself about the offer of hitches on the market. Not forgetting to choose the right cable harness for the vehicle.

The coupling device is chosen based on several criteria. These are the main ones:

  • Compatibility with the towing vehicle;
  • compatibility with the accessory to be towed;
  • compliance with the highway code;
  • the frequency of use;
  • the functionality;
  • aesthetics;
  • optional items.

The hitch on your trailer can be adjusted, but the receiver on your towing vehicle generally cannot. This is the instance where you may need a drop hitch!

If we can be of any help, if you have any thoughts and comments on the content, please let us know. 

FAQ on Do I need a drop hitch?

How do you adjust the height of a trailer hitch?

It is possible to adjust the height of a trailer hitch in just a few simple steps. The hitch system between a towing vehicle and a trailer needs to be configured correctly so that the two can work together safely. The towing vehicle must be capable of supporting the weight of the trailer. 

What size hitch do I need for a pop-up camper?

To determine what size hitch you need for a pop-up camper you must know what the weight of your camper is. Most pop-up campers weigh approximately 2000 lbs. In this case, you will do fine with a Class I hitch (approximately 200 lbs hitch weight). 

Should my trailer be level when towing?

Yes, your trailer should be level when towing to improve your driving stability, braking performance, ground clearance,  and ultimately to prevent unwanted movement

Swaying is one of the main causes of accidents when towing a trailer. Using a sway control system can help tremendously with towing any trailer. Accidents occur when trailers begin to sway due to a change in load or suspension problems. 

Is a fifth wheel hitch removable?

Yes, all fifth wheel hitches are removable. A fifth wheel or gooseneck hitch sits in the middle of the sturdy truck bed, where it can support more weight in that area. This also makes it easier to turn around tight corners. 

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