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Trailer Hitches 101 - A Guide To Towing
Attaching a trailer hitch to your car, van or SUV enables you to tow all kinds of loads. However, it’s not as simple as just fitting any old tow bar to your vehicle. Which type of trailer hitch you should use depends on the towing capacity of your vehicle and it would be unsafe to attempt to haul a heavier load. It is important to refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for information before fitting a towing hitch.
Then you must make sure you use the correct class of trailer hitch for the weight you intend to pull. Class 1 hitches can haul up to 2,000lbs, where as at the other end of the scale, Class 5 hitches can have a weight capacity of over 10,000lbs.
As a general guide, ball hitches are one of the most common types of trailer hitch and can easily be fitted to cars, SUVs and trucks. They have a ball that attaches to the socket of the trailer and are able to haul a variety of loads.
Heavy duty trailer hitches are required for heavier loads, such as hauling horse boxes, agricultural or industrial equipment. Gooseneck hitches use a ball mount, but are mounted on a central position on the underside of a truckbed, for increased stability and more even weight distribution. They are not suitable for use on cars.
Fifth wheel hitches are also fastened to the truckbed. This type of trailer hitch is mounted on a steel plate and becomes a permanent feature of the truckbed. Some fifth wheel trailer hitches require sliders for safer and smoother maneuvers. They have varying weight capacities, depending on the vehicle.
If you buy a trailer hitch, providing it is compatible with your vehicle and with a suitable towing capacity, it should be easy to install in around 30 minutes and be of lots of use for many years to come.
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