Choose the Right Hitch
Trailer towing necessitates an extra measure of precaution. With the right equipment, towing a properly loaded trailer is a breeze.
Choosing the right hitch is one of the most important steps to take. Remember to always ask a qualified hitch installed which type of hitch is best for your trailer and have it installed by an expert. The following chart will help you choose the hitch you need.
Under the chart are a few terms to know when determining towing capacity.
Terms to help determine towing capacity
- Gross Trailer Weight (GTW)
- The total weight of the trailer under fully-loaded conditions, including food, water, gear, ect. Measure the gross trailer load by placing the fully-loaded trailer on a commercial scale. (See chart above to choose the hitch you need.)
- Trailer Tongue Weight (TW)
- The downward pressure that the tongue of a fully loaded trailer exerts on the hitch ball. Tongue weight can be measured on a commercial scale, or on a bathroom scale, as illustrated. Be sure the trailer is level and the wheels are chocked.
- Vehicle Towing Capacity
- The manufacturer's specification of the weight the vehicle is designed to tow. Although some hitches may have a higher stated capacity since they fit other vehicles, never exceed the manufacturer's stated trailer capacity. The specifications are found in the vehicle's owner manual, or can be obtained by writing to the vehicle manufacturer.
- Weight Distributing Hitches
- By adding weight distributing equipment to a Class III or Class IV hitch, you will more evenly distribute the weight over the axles of the tow vehicle. This will eliminate tow vehicle sag as shown in the neighboring illustration.