5 Essential Things to Know About Hitches, Balls, and Mounts

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You may not realize it, but small cars are capable of towing up to 2,000 pounds safely, with full size trucks, vans and SUVs offering the ability to tow up to 10,000 pounds. There are a variety of classes of weight carrying and weight distributing hitches, balls and receivers and it’s critically important that you make the right choices when you get ready to tow that new four-wheeler to the track or your favorite boat and trailer to the dock. Learn the basic differences between the mounting options and get started towing!

Choosing the Correct Ball Mount

In order for a trailer to be safely towed, it needs to be as level as possible as that will minimize the strain on the connection between the trailer and the hitch. If there are different levels between the bumper and the trailer, you can match them up more effectively with a drop or a rise hitch.

Classes of Ball Mounts and Trailers

Classes are determined by the maximum gross trailer weight, as well as the maximum tongue weight. Class I is for light duty, and includes trailers up to 2,000 lbs – about the weight of a four-wheeler or a motorcycle (or two). Medium duty Class II towing goes up to 3,500 lbs and would include a small to medium boat; while Class III and Class IV heavy duty takes you up through 7,500 lbs and a large trailer. The highest is Class V extra-heavy duty which would include farm equipment and machinery that weighs up to 10,000 lbs and can only be towed by full size trucks, vans and crossover SUVs.

Check Your Owner’s Manual

The best option for determining what you need and what you can tow is to check your owner’s manual. Here you can learn what Class level your vehicle is rated for as well as recommended hitches and gross trailer weights you can tow. Exceeding these weights is incredibly dangerous.

Ball Hitch Details

Hitch balls are made of solid steel and can be purchased in a variety of finishes and sizes, all of which should comply with safety specifications and regulations. There are additional requirements for hitches for Class IV and higher as these are exposed to much greater stress and wear.

Measuring for Hitch Balls

There are several different measurements you will need to know when you are ready to purchase your ball hitch and mount setup including the diameter of the ball (inches across the hitch ball), the diameter of the shank, and the length of the shank.

With these numbers in hand and the information from your owner’s manual, you should be ready to shop!


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Michael

15 years of experience
518 reviews
Michael
15 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz GL450 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Atlanta, Georgia
Micheal was punctual and friendly. Work was completed within promised time. Will definitely use again.
Volvo S80 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Roswell, Georgia
Michael was SUPER QUICK with doing my brake and rotors. Great communication throughout the whole process. Will always recommend

Kenneth

19 years of experience
509 reviews
Kenneth
19 years of experience
Toyota Sequoia - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Newport Beach, California
Kenneth did a great job and very knowledgeable. He has a great attitude and I will for sure be using him again.

Chuy

13 years of experience
129 reviews
Chuy
13 years of experience
Honda Civic - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Cicero, Illinois
Excellent work on doing the breaks for my car and the break and steering system flush I’ll definitely recommend and take into consideration for chuy’s work whenever I need a fix on my car

Richard

16 years of experience
72 reviews
Richard
16 years of experience
BMW 328i - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Dublin, California
Richard was an outstanding mechanic. After he arrived, the first thing he did after taking the initial pictures of the car is an assessment into what work was asked. He quickly verified that I did not need brake fluid and my front brakes even-though it affects his personal commitments and time, which I think is highly appreciate and thorough professional. He was detailed oriented - took time to make sure that all the issue are fixed. He paid attention to detail in overall car assessment- he goes above and beyond. He was also teaching me through the process which I found highly educational and appreciate him providing the information ensuring and making me comfortable what he was doing and explaining patiently all the questions that was thrown at him. When he works - you know he's highly skilled and experienced and knows his stuff. He is highly experienced. He is a "Master" mechanic in true sense :)

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