Trailers are great. Plain and simple. It is wonderful to be able to pull your boat, lawn gear, or even another car with a handy trailer. But there are some things to keep in mind when you use one. In this article, we will review how to choose the right trailer hit

This is a simple multi-part series on trailers. It certainly does not include everything you need to know about trailers. Hopefully, you will glean some information that will make your next trip a little better and a little safer. For more details, be sure to contact a professional.

Before Buying a Hitch

Before selecting the proper hitch for your vehicle, you should consider if you are going to purchase or rent a trailer. Knowing what kind of trailer fits your needs is critical.

Renting a Trailer

If you don’t own your own trailer, you can certainly rent one. There are many places, both local companies, and major, nation-wide companies that rent trailers. If you are unfamiliar with trailers, it is best to go to one of these places and talk to the experts. They can help you choose the right trailer for whatever you are trying to accomplish. They can also inspect your car or truck to make sure it is safe to pull a trailer.  Some smaller vehicles simply don’t have enough power to pull a large load. Some cars are too rusty, and the trailer could break away from the car. Yes, it happens.  Whatever the concern, talk to the experts before renting the trailer to make sure you’re all set.

Talking to a trailer rental company is a great idea, even if you want to buy your own trailer. The information you learn from the rental company will help you purchase the correct trailer without wondering if the salesperson is just trying to make a quick sale.

Purchasing a Hitch

To pull a trailer, you will need to install a hitch on your vehicle. Be sure to pick the right hitch for your vehicle. Determine the gross towing weight (“GTW”) for your vehicle. This is essentially the maximum amount of weight your vehicle can safely tow. Most of the time, you can enter your vehicle make, model, and year in your favorite web browser and search for “GTW” or “Gross Towing Weight.”

Once you figure out the how much your vehicle can tow, buy the hitch that will allow you to tow the MAXIMUM weight. Why? You may only be towing a light trailer at the time, but in the future, you might want to tow something heavier.

You may be able to install the hitch yourself, but if you are hesitant at all, have a professional install it. Some companies that rent trailers also install hitches.

Hitch Ball

The most common hitch has a ball that connects to the trailer tongue. The ball can be of different sizes. It can be 1-7/8”, 2”, or 2-5/16”. Whatever the size, usually it has the GTW stamped on it. Make sure the GTW on the hitch ball matches the hitch GTW capacity.

Next Time

Now that you have the right hitch, it’s time to hook up the hitch, attach the wiring, hook up the trailer, and practice safe driving. But that’s for future articles. So, stay tuned!

Written by Gary Pradel