The Complete Towing Guide

Chapter 2: The Hitch and Coupler.

Safe towing practices start from the moment you connect your trailer to the hitch, therefore, it is critical to understand all the elements that make up the hitch and coupler. In this chapter we will break down the different components of the hitch and coupler to increase your awareness when connecting your trailer and to raise your safety and awareness while on the road.

The Complete Towing Guide

  1. What is a trailer hitch?

The trailer hitch is is the main weight bearing connection between the trailer and your vehicle. Typically when you purchase your vehicle, a hitch is already installed. This may not be the case however if you are not driving a truck or SUV. The hitch can be considered as a receiver for your accessories. This may range from ball mount to luggage rack depending on what your need is. A trailer hitch has other names such as, receiver hitch or tow hitch and for the most part can be used interchangeably. However, the terms 5th wheel hitch and gooseneck hitch refer to each type of hitch respectively. Each hitch is designed for a specific use and weight rating.Trailer hitch receivers are available in 4 main sizes: 1-1/4″, 2″, 2-1/2″, and 3″. These numbers refer to the width of the receiver openings. We will discuss in chapter 5 which trailer hitch you will want to purchase if you do not already have one installed.

The Complete Towing Guide
The Complete Towing Guide

2. What is the Ball Mount?

A ball mount is a receiver hitch accessory comprised of a shank and a trailer ball platform. The shank inserts into the hitch receiver tube, while the platform provides a solid mounting point for a trailer ball.

Ball mounts come in a variety of styles and capacities. Some are fixed, made up of a single piece. Others are adjustable. Virtually all ball mounts come with a hole in the shank to accept a hitch pin or hitch lock.

Below is a ball mount without the ball loaded onto the mount.

The Complete Towing Guide
The Complete Towing Guide

A ball hitch is another name for a ball mount but is comprised of the mount and the ball already together. A ball mount and and ball ( ball hitch) is often times referred as a “loaded” ball mount implying that the ball has already been loaded or pre-torqued into place with on the mount.

The Complete Towing Guide

3. What is the Ball?

A trailer ball is the shinny part on your trailer hitch. It is the immediate connection between the trailer and your vehicle. It is a polished metal ball on top that has a threaded stem on the other end. The ball shape is what allows you to travel over bumps and turn around corners smoothly with ta trailer in tow.

Trailer balls come is a couple different sizes to accompany different needs. Here at Big Bubba’s we have all the sizes you’ll need but as a reminder, for most practical uses, a 2″ ball is all you will need.

Trailer Hitch Ball