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How to Choose the Right Tow / Trailer Hitch

How To Choose the Right Trailer Hitch

Towing a trailer is not as simple as hitching up and rolling out. In order to tow safely, it is important to understand how weight effects your tow vehicle, trailer and the components of your towing system. This is also important to know when choosing the right trailer hitch for your towing needs.

Knowing what kind of hitch you will need also means knowing what you will be towing and the towing capacity of the vehicle you will be towing with. To determine your vehicle’s towing capacity rating simply consult the vehicle manufacturer or the owner’s manual. If the vehicle’s ratings are higher than what you intend to haul, it is safe to tow. Never exceed the weight capacity of the lowest-rated component of your towing system.

Hitch Class

Trailer hitches have a class rating based on their maximum weight capacity and receiver opening size. The classes range from Class I (lowest capacity and smallest receiver opening) to Class V (highest capacity and largest receiver opening). Each class of trailer hitch has its own use based on its capacity and receiver size.

Class I: Light-duty receiver hitches

Light-duty receiver hitches are often used for cargo carriers and bike racks and can handle a maximum gross trailer weight of 2,000 pounds. They can also be used for towing small utility trailers and are best for compact to midsize tow vehicles.

Class II: Moderate-duty receiver hitches

Regular-duty receiver hitches can be used for towing small fishing boats, ATVs and small cargo trailers. They can handle up to 3,500 pounds and are usually installed on small pickup trucks and midsize SUVs.

Class III: Versatile/Mix receiver hitches

Versatile/Mix receiver hitches attach to the frame of a tow vehicle and are rated to tow up to 6,000 pounds. This type of hitch is considered an undercar receiver hitch and is mostly used with mid-to-large size SUVs, vans and full-size pickup trucks.

Class IV: Heavy-duty receiver hitches

Heavy-duty receiver hitches are designed for use on towing vehicles with higher towing capacity like full-size pickup trucks and SUVs. With towing capacity up to 12,000 pounds, this class of hitch is suited for towing travel trailers, heavy machinery and large boats.

Class V: Super-duty receiver hitches

Super-duty receiver hitches can tow up to 20,000 pounds and are often used on heavy-duty vehicles and commercial trucks. Gooseneck and 5th wheel hitches are included in this class and are excellent for towing full-size campers and equipment trailers.

Southside Hitch carries trailer hitches from some of the top manufacturers like Curt, Reese, Blue Ox and B&W. Our professional team of technicians have been helping Central Virginia choose the right components for their towing systems for almost 30 years. If you need help determining the right hitch for your vehicle, call us today at 804-378-1992 or visit our store in Midlothian. We will be glad to serve you.