Your hitch is pivotal to ensure you, other drivers, and your haul remain safe on the road at all times. Hitch types depend greatly on what kind of truck you have, what kind of trailer you’re investing in and what you will be regularly hauling. Talk to your trusted dealers about your industry, services and goals to determine which hitch is best for you.
Here are a few options to talk through:
Types of Hitches
Gooseneck hitches are designed to haul very large loads while maintaining the stability of the vehicle and trailer. For additional strength and durability, gooseneck hitches are attached to the truck bed in front of the rear axle, instead of attached just at the rear of the truck.
Gooseneck hitches are trusted in construction and agriculture industries. They are trusted to be able to move safely, even with incredibly large loads. Because of the location of the coupling, the gooseneck is maneuverable and remains even and stable during sharp or tight turns. It can tilt to accommodate variable road heights while keeping the trailer straight and steady.
A rear receiver hitch is a very common type of truck hitch. It can be used for many types of trailers, even for those hauling personal equipment like ATVs. The receiver, as mentioned in the name, is mounted in the rear frame of the truck and often features a square receiver tube. Using this tube you can haul all sorts of things. In addition to being able to hook up common trailers, they can also receive bike racks, cargo carriers and other pieces of hauling equipment.
Rear receivers can be used from light to heavy duty hauling and can often be found using a 5 number scale. 1 is the lightest duty and 5 is the heaviest duty. There are also different sized receiver tubes– they grow larger the heavier you haul.
5th wheel hitches are somewhat similar to gooseneck trailers because they are also mounted over the rear axles, increasing stability. Like goosenecks, 5th wheel hitches are designed for heavy duty towing– commonly used for agricultural towing, vehicle towing companies and towing things like the family RV.
Instead of using a traditional hitch ball, 5th wheel hitches couple using a kingpin. The coupling system is a part of the hitch, rather than a part of the trailer. A locking bar secures the kingpin and allows for movement and pivoting so that the trailer can still move smoothly while pivoting and moving due to different road conditions.
When you aren’t using a ball hitch, receiver hitch or kingpin hitch you may be looking at a pintle style hitch. Pintle hitches are often used for towing in off-road routes and are popular in construction, agricultural and military industries. Depending on preference, the pintle hitch can be installed to a truck or the trailer itself.
Pintle hitches use a hooking mechanism that uses a heavy metal hook that attaches to a locked ring, often called a lunette ring. Pintles are a good choice when you know you will be regularly hauling through rocky and tight terrain because it provides a wide range of motion between the hitch and the coupler. That extra room means the trailer can twist and skew to accommodate the unevenness of the road or the turn.
Understanding what kind of vehicle you want to use to haul will help to make sure you invest in an appropriately sized hitch.
- Class 1 hitches are for cars and crossovers with GTW up to 2,000#
- Class 2 hitches are for cars, crossovers and minivans with a GTW up to 3,500#
- Class 3 hitches are for vans, SUVs and trucks with a GTW up to 8,000#
- Class 4 hitches are for trucks and SUVs with a GTW up to 10,000#
- Class 5 (Extra Duty) hitches are for trucks and SUVs with a GTW up to 17,000#
- Class 5 (Commercial Duty) hitches are for dually and chassis cab trucks with a GTW up to 20,000#
Vehicle handling becomes increasingly difficult the larger the load you are hauling. Different hitches can create different types of handling challenges so make sure you are well versed in how to handle swaying, fishtailing, steep hills and quick stops to ensure you make the most of your truck, trailer and hitch investments while remaining safe on the road any time of the day.
Towmaster is an industry-leading truck and trailer equipment manufacturer, upfitter, and distributor. We offer an unparalleled trailer warranty because we are proud to stand by the build of our equipment. We invest in the success of our customers and want to ensure their investment will be protected through years of use.