In today’s blog post, we will answer the following question: What are trailer hitch sizes? We will explain the trailer hitch categories and types. We will also help you choose the best hitch for your tailor.
What are trailer hitch sizes?
Trailer hitch sizes are divided into five classes, with Class I being the one that supports the least weight and Class V the one that supports the most. It is important to verify the capacity of your hitch before using it, because as you will see, some have the same measurements although they support different weights.
- Class I: Supports up to 2,000 lb (907 kg). It measures 1.25 “x 1.25”.
- Class II: It can carry up to 3,500 lb (1,587kg). It also measures 1.25 “x 1.25”.
- Class III: It supports up to 12000 lb (5,443 kg) and is 2 ”x 2” in size.
- Class IV: It can carry up to 14,000 lb (6,350 kg). It also measures 2 ”x 2”.
- Class V: Supports 17 thousand to 23 thousand lb (between 7,711 and 10,432 kg). It measures 2.5 “x 2.5”.
What type of trailer hitches are there?
Not all trailer hitches are valid for any vehicle and must be purchased for each specific model. There are models and brands of cars that can have different types of trailer hitches mounted, yes, all valid for that specific vehicle model, but with different characteristics.
We must know what types of trailer hitches are on the market to be able to choose the one that suits our needs. Among the different types of trailer hitches we can find the following:
- Mobile or retractable hitches – They are the last to be mounted on vehicles and respond to the need of some drivers who do not want or cannot have the trailer hitch permanently installed. They are used in private vehicles and for other types of vehicles, the most common being the following:
- Automatic vertical detachable hitch. It is one of the most expensive, modern and lightest hitches. It can be put on and taken off in a matter of seconds with total comfort and without any effort. This type of trailer hitch respects the aesthetics of the vehicle by being hidden between the bumper and the chassis, in case you don’t have to use it.
- Detachable semi-automatic or horizontal hitch: It is a perfect hitch if you want the tow ball to go unnoticed without affecting the aesthetics of the vehicle. The hitch ball can be removed from the mount without tools and in a matter of seconds.
- Fixed hitches – They are the traditional hitch balls that are used to hold trailers in vehicles and the way they fix them is manual, called fixed hitches. This type of coupling cannot be removed, hence its denomination of fixed coupling and to disassemble them you need keys and tools and take time to do so.
They are trailer hitches valid for most cars, being the cheapest when buying them. Among the fixed hitches we can find the following or more common ones:
- Ball joint or gooseneck trailer hitch. They are simple and basic in terms of design, being very functional and also effective, being mounted on vehicles for frequent use.
- Plate type hitch or classic fixation. The hitch ball is fixed to the bumper of the car, usually mounted on commercial vehicles or SUVs and off-road vehicles.
- Mixed hitch. In the case of a mixed coupling, the support where the ball is attached is fixed, but the ball can be easily removed.
It should be noted that, if we have a mobile or retractable trailer hitch mounted on our vehicle and we wear it without having the trailer attached, we may be subject to a sanction by the competent authority because we must remove it once we have unhooked the trailer. trailer or other element that we carry hooked on it such as bike rack, animal carrier, etc.
On the other hand, in fixed hitches as it is difficult to remove the ball and we need tools to do so, we can circulate without problems with the system on.
How to install a hitch on your trailer?
The steps to follow for the installation and approval of the trailer hitch are the following:
- Choose the trailer hitch that we want for the vehicle.
- Installation in an authorized workshop or dealer.
- From the workshop go to the VIN inspection with the hook mounted on the car and with the conformity report that comes with the trailer hitch.
- They will pass the VIN inspection of the hitch, verifying that the complete electrical system works. The information will be reflected in the technical sheet of the vehicle that has a towing hook system installed.
It must be made clear that we cannot mount a scrapping trailer hitch and under no circumstances manipulate the chassis of the vehicle with drills, since, if we make these modifications out of the law, we can have serious penalties by the competent authorities and also run the risk to suffer an accident, endangering the safety of traffic and people.
The cost of a trailer hitch when ordering it as standard equipment of the vehicle, is around $ 1,000, but they come very well assembled and without having to manipulate the installation in the vehicle afterwards for assembly.
If we choose to mount a trailer hitch later, its cost is around 500-700 dollars, having to manipulate the installation and removal of the rear bumper.
What to consider before choosing your hitch?
The following points should be taken into account to help you choose your trailer hitch:
- Compatibility with the vehicle model – The type of assembly will vary from vehicle to vehicle. Fitting a hitch to your car is not the same depending on the vehicle model and type of hitch. It may also turn out to be simply impossible. This is the case, for example, if the exhaust does not provide enough space for the location of the hitch mount.
- The strength of the material in which the hitch is made – This criterion corresponds to the maximum weight supported by the vertical hitch. It only concerns the bike carrier. The manufacturers mention the threshold value directly on the identification plate of the coupling.
- The type of trailer to be towed (bicycle carrier, camping, goods, etc.) – The choice of your trailer hitch will also depend on this criterion. The model to choose will not be the same depending on whether you plan to tow a bike carrier, a caravan or a transport platform.
- The frequency of use – If you plan to use your trailer often, a fixed hitch is ideal. For occasional use, a removable model with a retractable hitch ball is recommended.
- Key information such as maximum towable load and static mass – This criterion is fundamental when it comes to choosing a trailer hook. The maximum towing weight is the maximum load your car can tow.
To calculate it, you must subtract the gross vehicle weight (GVW) from the total rolling weight (GWW). If the total rolling weight is not indicated on your registration document, it means that your vehicle is not intended for coupling a trailer.
The bottom line
Choosing the right size and type of trailer hitch is essential for safe towing. If you do not feel confident enough, please ask for the guidance of an authorised mechanic that can safely and quickly adjust the height of your fifth wheel hitch.
Please feel free to contact us should you have any questions or comments on the content.
FAQ on What are trailer hitch sizes?
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).
How do you adjust the height of a fifth wheel hitch?
It is possible to adjust the height of a fifth wheel 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.
How do I reduce the weight on my 5th wheel hitch?
To reduce the weight on your 5th wheel hitch, simply move all your luggage in the back of the trailer. If you want to increase the weight on your 5th wheel hitch, just do the contrary – move the things to the front of the trailer.
What is a sliding hitch?
A sliding hitch is a type of hitch mainly used for 5th wheel trailers. It acts like a normal trailer hitch, except it can slide on the rails. You need a 5th wheel sliding hitch if the distance from your truck bed to your trailer’s haws is less than half the width of your trailer. By manually sliding the pin position you will ensure safer and tighter manoeuvring at low speeds.