When one vehicle tows another, be it a caravan or trailer, several components need to be fixed to make the connection possible. A key component in this set up is the trailer hitch.
INSTALL LEVEL OF DIFFICULTYMODERATE
What Is a Trailer Hitch?
Trailer hitches mount to the frame of the towing vehicle and provide a connection for the next component, the ball mount. Trailer hitches come in a wide variety of sizes for different applications and are typically rated according to the expected maximum towing weight.
How Does a Trailer Hitch Work?
In any towing situation, attention needs to be paid to safety and functionality. Regulations require that vehicles are equipped correctly so they do not exceed maximum recommended limits.
The trailer hitch is designed to be securely fastened to the towing vehicle and provide significant support for the trailer or caravan. Each hitch is designed to be vehicle specific, and they are generally divided into five classes based on the capacity they can handle. Each class is categorized according to the size of the rear opening, into which is fitted the shank of the ball mount. In turn, the towing ball is fitted to the ball mount and the tongue of the caravan or trailer is then fed into the ball so that it articulates as necessary and can be pulled in various road conditions.
The trailer hitch is also categorized according to the maximum weight it can safely pull, but it’s important to remember that whereas a different class of hitch may physically attach to a vehicle, it does not mean that that vehicle can necessarily handle the maximum recommended weight of the hitch itself.
How Is a Trailer Ball Made?
Trailer hitches are made from the highest quality steel products and carefully welded to ensure maximum durability and strength. They are carefully attached to the frame of the vehicle using brackets and bolts. In addition to receiving the ball mount, the hitch has special cutouts within the frame designed to attach the trailer’s safety chain.
Why Do Trailer Hitches Fail?
- They may be damaged through impact with another vehicle.
What Are the Symptoms of Failure?
- Inability to attach other towing components and effectively secure the towed vehicle.
What Are the Consequence of Failure?
- Safety may be compromised when trying to tow a caravan or trailer.
There is a great deal at stake in terms of safety and value whenever another vehicle such as a trailer or caravan is towed along a highway. As a result, trailer hitches are made to comply with very rigorous standards.
If you have questions or concerns about trailer hitches or any of your vehicle’s towing components, come into your local Pep Boys where we can answer any question, help you find any part, or perform any vehicle service you might need.