Choosing the right hitch for your car or vehicle is a process. There is no one hitch or tow system that fits all. Depending on your vehicle and the size of your trailer, there are many options and configurations that can work for your needs. The selection can be intimidating, but always remember that there are several factors that you should consider when shopping for a hitch.
Your tow vehicle should be able to manage the weight of your trailer. You will find two abbreviations that are useful in selecting the right hitch: these are GTW or Gross Trailer Weight, which is the total mass of your trailer; and TW or Tongue Weight, which is the amount of weight that rests directly on your hitch. You can find this information in your vehicle owner’s manual or online. Once you know the GTW and TW of your vehicle, you can easily find out what type of hitch you can install in your tow vehicle.
When you have a capable tow vehicle, the next step is to find out what class of trailer you will be using. These are classified into four types, which are limited by the size of your cargo and the weight capacity. Class 1 trailers are generally used to transport small cargo or equipment, and have a maximum GTW of 2000 lbs. and a TW of 200 lbs. These are usually used for subcompact and compact cars.
Class 2 trailers can handle a GTW of 3500 lbs. or a TW of 300 lbs. These are usually used for pop-up camping tents and small boats. A class 3 trailer has a GTW maximum capacity of 6000 lbs. and TW of 600 lbs. This trailer is the best choice for towing trailer homes and medium sized campers.
The last type is the class 4-5 trailer, which has a GTW capacity of 6000 – 12000 lbs. and a TW of 600-1200 lbs. This is used for towing large to extra-large campers and fishing boats. When you know your vehicle’s towing capacity and your total trailer weight, then you are ready to select a hitch. This information is just a general range. It is strongly advised that you consult your hitch dealer to confirm the correct hitch for your needs.
When choosing a hitch, keep in mind that it is good to have excess capacity, because your towing needs might increase due to additional cargo. A higher capacity hitch will give you more flexibility for towing, because a heavier hitch can tow a lighter trailer. There are also many kind of hitches to choose from. Depending on your preference and needs, there are hitches that can be hidden under your vehicle’s bumper, and some others that are designed to be more prominently placed and cannot be hidden.
You can purchase a hitch from RV dealerships. By doing this, you will have a professional on hand to give you sound advice about which hitch is right for your particular RV or trailer.