WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE BUYING
Components in a Towing System:
Truck, Towing System, Trailer
|Before you select your Towing System, you need to know:
1. Your tow vehicle information - year, make & model, the vehicle's maximum towing capacity. This information is found in the owner's manual.
2. Your trailer information - trailer type (flatbed, enclosed, open, RV, etc.), coupler size, tongue weight, gross trailer weight
Note: This is the minimal amount of information needed, a Dealer may want some additional infomation.
A Towing System may include these following items. Click on each bold title to read more and aid in your selections.
- Hitch: The Hitch, or Trailer Hitch Receiver, is typically mounted to the rear of a vehicle under the bumper.
- Ball Mount: Also known as a Draw Bar or Receiver Mount, this item that slides into the Hitch, and must be secured with a locking pin.
- Hitch Ball: The item that is fastened to the Ball Mount, which the trailer connects to.
- Couplers: The Hitch Ball inserts into a coupler - found at the end of the tongue (the front part of the trailer that hitches to the tow vehicle). The coupler comes with your trailer.
- Hitch Accessory: Accessories that fit the Hitch or secure the Ball Mount to the Hitch.
- Brake Control: The item that controls the braking of the trailer.
- Safety Chains: Required by most states, these chains generally come with the trailer upon purchase.
- Electrical: Items that connected the electronics between the vehicle and trailer.
- Weight Distributing: A device that levels out the weight between the vehicle and trailer.
- Fifth Wheel: A Hitch that mounts in the truck bed which pulls Fifth Wheel trailers.
- Gooseneck: A Hitch that mounts in the truck bed which pulls Gooseneck trailers.
- Front Mount Receivers: Front mount hitches aid in carrying things like bikes, spare tires and winches.
- Cargo Management: Accessories that hold and manage your cargo.
- Trailer Accessory: Towing Lights, choices of Jacks and couplers.
- Towing Starter Kits: Contains everything you need in a single kit - includes a storage case.
- Transmission Coolers: Prevent transmission failure due to overheating.
- ATV Accessories: NEW products - including ramps, receivers and cargo bags
Note: Each towing system will require different products based on Your Vehicle and Your Trailer. Consult your local dealer for your specific needs.
TRAILER HITCH TERMS TO HELP YOU!
- GTW/Gross Trailer Weight - reflects the weight the trailer hitch can bear when the trailer is full, including the weight of the trailer itself.
- TW/Tongue Weight – indicates the amount of downward force the hitch itself can bear from the trailer’s tongue (which is the part of the trailer that connects to the ball).
- WC/ Weight Carried - The amount the hitch can carry -- not including the trailer itself.
- WD - Weight Distribution – The capacity for weight being carried or towed depends on where and how the weight is distributed in relation to the axles on the trailer is located. Proper weight distribution is critical for safe and proper functioning of trailer hitches. For example, if the cargo weight is toward the back of the trailer causing the front to tip up, this is very dangerous as it will also cause the back of the vehicle to come off the ground. If all the weight is forward in the trailer, then it could weigh down the back of the vehicle and lift the front, which is also dangerous.
- Ball Mount – This is another name for a trailer hitch because the ball is the critical connector between the vehicle and the trailer. Basically, the trailer gets lowered onto the ball, which is on the hitch, which is attached to the truck. This trailer hitch is also called a “stinger” or “draw bar”. The ball mount is the weight bearing part of the trailer hitch.
- Ball - An actual ball that is where the trailer attaches to the hitch allowing the vehicle to tow the trailer. The ball or ball mount design allows for pivot and play at the attachment point so that the trailer can take corners and adjust to varying road heights, hills, bumps, etc. Balls come in three standard sizes: 1 7/8ths inches, 2 inches and 2 5/16ths inches. When the ball is not in use, most owners like to use ball covers, which come in a variety of cool and fun designs.
- Draw Bar – The part that slides into the receiver, also called stinger, ball mount or tow bar.
- Hitch Pin and Clip – The hitch pin is the steel bar that slides horizontally through the holes in the receiver and draw bar and basically holds the whole hitch mechanism together. It’s thanks to the hitch pin that the trailer will actually follow your vehicle as you pull away! The clip is what keeps the pin in place. Locking safety clips are usually a good idea to prevent theft.
- 5th Wheel Hitch or Gooseneck Hitch – Unlike a ball mount trailer hitch, a fifth wheel hitch or gooseneck hitch mounts in the center of a truck bed. These type of trailer hitches are used only for pulling 5th wheel trailers, such as a horse trailer. Fifth wheel trailers and gooseneck trailers include “pin weight” ratings in their specifications.
- Pin Weight – the actual amount of weight that will be sitting on the pin.