Skip to main content

Hitch or Ditch: Choosing Quality Towing Parts For Your Truck

Jen writes for 4WheelOnline. She enjoys writing about automotive industry news, vehicle maintenance tips, and more.

It is crucial to have a hitch that works well with your vehicle.

The appropriate trailer classification and weight rating will help you consider what type of tow products to purchase for your towing rig.

Before buying any towing products, you must understand their types, such as the fifth wheel and the likes. Understanding how they operate and function will help you decide which accessory and equipment selections are best for your vehicle.

Selecting the right hitch

A hitch that works well on your truck makes towing a breeze and more convenient.

The hitch is a standard towing accessory. Some vehicles have a permanent hitch with a fixed ball mount, while others use a temporary hitch with a detachable ball mount. The hitch is fastened to the chassis and acts as a link between the trailer and the vehicle.

The trailer hitch has a ball mount that allows the truck or SUV to turn and swivel with it. The temporary ball mount is kept in place by the ball mount lock. It includes a tongue that hangs over the hitch's ball mount.

The force exerted from the trailer is distributed to the tow vehicle. The wiring harness also links the tow vehicle's electrical wiring to the trailer. The tongue lock and trailer coupler secure the trailer's tongue in place while driving at varying speeds.

Different hitch types:

Gooseneck and Fifth Wheel – This hitch increases the vehicle’s gross trailer weight (GTW) capacity and is mounted in the truck bed. It also improves the trailer's maneuverability. Hitch models of this type differ based on their design and weight capacity.

Weight distribution – This type is designed with a heavy-duty, adjustable hitch head to secure a higher weight capacity. The hitch head may be trunnion bar style or round. The hitch is connected to the trailer's tongue and evenly distributes the weight across the vehicle and the trailer wheel for a more steady ride.

Sway Control – To keep the trailer track straight, attach this to a weight distribution system. Because it uses friction, the sway control unit decreases lateral trailer movements produced by strong winds. It also has a lever release to maintain the car's turning capability at low speeds.

Receiver – This hitch has a tube on the truck’s underside, connecting the ball mount and other attachments. Receiver hitches have five classes and ranges (class 1 to 5), with different designs depending on the vehicle. They are available in standard and vehicle-specific tube sizes.

It’s not easy to find a hitch guaranteed to fit every vehicle. Manufacturers generally design hitches to accommodate the maximum weight of specific automobiles, and each type has its rating.

Towing during extreme weather

If strong winds occur or the rain suddenly pours, it may affect the towing experience. Reliable towing components keep your truck secure even during inclement weather.

Strong winds have unfavorable impacts on both your towing vehicle's security and its overall performance. If a crosswind puts a lot of pressure on the trailer's side and pushes it along, it might result in a traffic accident. The towing vehicle’s safety and overall efficiency of the trailer are jeopardized if the towing parts you use are not weather-resistant.

The weather condition may impact how you drive, but you can tow safely despite the inclement weather, such as strong winds, snow, or hail. It's critical to get the best trailer, sway control hitch, brake controls, and other truck equipment available.

If you have the appropriate towing components and accessories, they will help reduce or prevent severe weather damage. Even if the weather isn’t cooperating, reliable towing solutions and equipment can give you peace of mind when you are behind the wheel.

For safer towing

Knowing how the components and attachments operate will allow you to fully comprehend why you should think about your vehicle's towing and payload capacity. It will also assist you in determining why better-quality components are required.

After selecting the best hitch for your vehicle, you must consider other towing equipment to ensure a safe hauling experience. You might need additional accessories such as the following:

Scroll to Continue
  • Safety chains: Use this to connect the trailer to the hitch, as it serves as a backup attachment. Suppose the trailer hitch fails—no need to worry because it secures the parts.
  • Tie-down chains, bungee cords, and ratchet straps: These add-ons are particularly useful in securing the items you load into the trailer.
  • Alarms, cameras, and anti-theft devices: These gears can help secure the trailer and its contents, especially if you stow valuables in your trailer. They notify drivers about theft or any nearby hazards.
  • Tools: Tools come in handy, especially if your vehicle suddenly breaks down or something needs a quick fix in your trailer.
  • Loading ramp: This tool helps truck owners load oversized objects such as a sofa, motorcycles, and ATVs.
  • Mirrors: They are an inexpensive option to help you operate the vehicle safely. Mirrors are a cheap yet useful tool that allows you to see additional angles while backing up the car. Mirrors also aid in reducing blind spots when towing.

Truck accessories, like toolbox or truck bed storage, will hold some hauling accessories. Truck owners who are interested in using their vehicles for hauling must be equipped with tow-ready accessories. They're critical in keeping the trailer and the vehicle secured, especially when transporting big and heavy items.

Weight capacity and configurations

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is a towing-related term you must understand before you start hauling. It represents the maximum combined weight (including passengers, freight, and dry weight). The dealership usually gives the GVWR information, or you may find it in your tow truck's brochure.

The weight you can safely pull behind your truck with a trailer is the towing capacity. Heavy loads may harm your tow vehicle because it has a different weight rating than your truck. All cars have varying towing capacities. You can find out by doing this simple computation:

Subtract the GVWR to the curb weight to get the towing capacity.

Most of the weight rests on the trailer axles, so this simple math lets you plan what load weight you can put on your travel trailer. It will also help you determine the maximum load you can put to your trailer and if the vehicle can pull a particular weight.

Improving the towing capacity and performance

Manufacturers design their trucks to meet a specific GVWR. You cannot alter the rating without re-engineering the vehicle, as these parts are made specifically for standard tow capacities. The following components contribute to raising the performance and volume:

  • Engine: The torque of the vehicle is vital for hauling. Diesel-powered trucks and SUVs have greater tow capacities than gasoline-powered ones.
  • Drivetrain: Towing capacity is reduced by about 70 percent for trucks and SUVs with four-wheel drive. Rear-wheel-drive cars have greater hauling capability than 4x4. Since four-wheel-drive vehicles are heavier, their towing capacity decreases.
  • Tire and wheel size: Due to their hefty weight, truck wheels and tires may affect the vehicle's performance. The towing capacity is reduced because the large, beefy tires add more weight. Lesser torque transmitted will result in lesser pulling power.
  • Wheelbase: A longer wheelbase can give you more control over the vehicle. It is less likely that the trailer’s weight will push down on the rear axle, especially if you have hooked a boat trailer or a camper to the vehicle. If your truck has a short wheelbase and you haul a hefty load, the vehicle’s front end may lift and damage the suspension.
  • Axles: Different axle ratios are available on several pickup trucks and SUVs. A greater axle ratio offers improved pulling power but at the cost of fuel efficiency.

You may still improve the capacity by upgrading other faulty suspension parts. You may also install a new and bigger radiator, improve the intake and exhaust, and upgrade the engine and braking system.

Quality towing products

Finding the proper components is crucial for safe and easy towing, so does searching a store that sells them. Blue Ox Towing is one of many brands available you can find in the shops like 4WheelOnline and other auto supply stores.

Low-quality products not suitable for hauling might not be able to carry the weight as you drive at various speeds. It is always worth investing in reliable truck parts and accessories to help you avoid stress and worry.

Related Articles