All About Towing Your Vehicle

All About Towing your vehicle
(Written by Sue Monroe)

Towing a Vehicle - Before attaching a trailer to your vehicle it is best to determine the correct height to tow the trailer. A ball mount is an insert that attaches to the hitch that is installed on the vehicle. Ball mounts vary by weight rating, shank length and rise/drop. Sometimes your trailer towing needs may be ion a drop position, otter times it may require a rise position. To determine the correct height, place the vehicle on level surface and measure from the ground to the top of the receiver opening on the trailer hitch. Then measure the trailer coupler form the ground to the bottom edge of the trailer’s coupler. If the hitch height is greater than the coupler height, the difference is the drop that is required. If the coupler height is greater than the difference is the rise that is required.

A hitch ball is also important. The hitch ball is attached to the ball mount and is critical when it come to towing. Some important facts to consider is, ball diameter, shank diameter, shank length, and capacity. The ball diameter is determined by the size of the coupler on the trailer. There are 1-7/8 inch ball, 2 inch ball, and 2-5/16 inch balls. Trailers over 5,000 pounds generally have a 2-5/16 inch coupler. It is important to identify the correct size by looking on the coupler. Shank diameter are 3/4 inch, 1 inch, and 1-1/4 inches. Class I and II hitches that have 1-1/4 inch ball mounts have a 3/4 inch shank diameter, while Class III hitches have a 1 inch shank diameter. Weight Distribution and larger applications have a 1-1/4 inch shank diameter. Shank length determines how long the ball is from where it attaches to the ball mount. Capacity of each ball is marked on the ball. Be sure to always use a lock washer and tighten nut with a torque wrench to proper torque. Never exceed the ratings on the hitch, bumper, coupler or any component in the towing setup regardless if the ball is rated higher than any of these items. Hitch balls come in different options such as zinc, chrome, and stainless steel. There are also interchangable ball options available.