EZ Trailer Hitch Buying Guide
If you're here then you are probably looking to do some serious hauling. No matter what you plan to haul EZ Wheeler is always her to make it EZ for you!! We have a ton of trailer hitches for you to choose from, but before we get into that you probably want to know a little bit more about trailer hitches. This article is here to help beginner and master haulers pick the right trailer hitch for there vehicle and towing purposes. So go ahead and start reading to learn everything you need to know about trailer hitches, that way you can make an informed decision.
- Types of Hitches
- Different Classes of Hitches
- Wiring Your Trailer Hitch
- Importance of Towing Mirrors
- Useful Towing Accessories
Types of Hitches
Hitches are the only way to haul a trailer. So many people just pull from a ball attached to the bumper, which is fine for lighter loads. If you are going to be hauling some serious loads, however you will need a hitch with a higher weight rating than a bumper mounted hitch. There are three different options of these types of hitch and what you get depends mainly on what you are hauling.
Frame Pull Trailer Hitch
Frame pulled trailer hitches are the most common type of trailer hitch. This is mainly because it is the cheapest option and can pull almost every kind of trailer. Frame pulled trailer hitches mount in between the frame rails and are bolted into the frame. These types of hitches are hidden up under neath the rear bumper. All hitches are equipped with safety chain mounting locations and drilled for a 5/8″ ball mount pin. Rear pulls are the lightest of the three hitch types, designed to handle loads as light as a bike rack to as heavy as 20,000 lbs. on some applications.
Fifth wheel Trailer Hitch
The second type of hitch is the fifth wheel hitch. A fifth wheel hitch is a large hitch mounted in the bed. The head of the fifth wheel hitch will need to be lubricated, because it is in constant contact with the plate on the trailer. So when you turn there is going to be a lot of friction and squeaking, and if you don't lubricate it properly it could do some serious damage to both the trailer and the hitch. Fifth wheels are designed for a heavier weight trailers, these hitches range from 16k, 20k and 24k capacities. This style of hitch plants more of the weight over the axle compared to the rear pull where the weight is all on the rear of the truck. When you keep the weight further forward it keeps the front end of the vehicle more level, meaning more weight on the turning wheels. With the tongue weight centered in the bed, the trailer tows more stable with less sway and wander while being pulled.
Goose Neck Trailer Hitch
The third and last option is the gooseneck hitch. There are different options within this option. There are options that keep everything under the bed and just a ball pops up through the floor of the bed. Other options mount the plate on top of the floor of the bed, but the ball folds down into the plate, for a flat surface in the bed. With gooseneck hitches, the ball is always mounted in the center of your bed. If you use your bed for hauling often you could really benefit from one of the styles that allow the ball to drop down in for a flush bed floor. The gooseneck is the heaviest option of all three styles offering 25k to 30k lbs. of gross trailer weight. Both the fifth wheel and goosenecks keep the tongue weight in the bed which in turn keeps the trailer closer to the truck forcing the rig to make wide turns.
Different Classes of Hitches
Rear Pull Hitches are divided into different classes. They have class 1 and 2, class 3, 4 and 5, Xtra duty and Xtra duty+, Commercial duty and Comercial duty+.
Class I & II Hitches:
Class 1 hitches have up to a 2000 lbs. gross trailer weight rating and a 200 lbs tongue rating . Class 2 have a gross trailer weight rating up to 3500 lbs. and a tongue weight of 350 lbs.. They will be limited to a 1 1/4 squared reiceiver tube opening, so if you have a bike rack or are looking to get a bike rack make sure you have the right size reciver to fit this hitch. You will find these mostly for cars and light suv applications.
Class III, IV & V:
The next classes of hitches are the 3, 4 and 5. The Class 3 hitches run up to 6000 lbs. and 600 lbs. on the tongue weight. This will depend on the vehicle it is made for. The class 4 is rated up to 10,000 lbs. with 1000 lbs. for a tongue. Last the class 5 will reach 12.000 lbs. and 1200 lbs. for a tongue weight. These hitches are mostly fitted for the truck and SUV vehicles and have a 2 x 2 receiver opening.
Xtra Duty & Xtra Duty+ Class:
The Xtra duty is as high as 16,000 lbs. GTW and 2400 lbs. TW. The Xtra duty+ hit rates of 17,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight and 2550 lbs. of tongue weight. These hitches are only made for the 3/4 ton and 1 ton vehicles that can take this much weight.
Commercial Duty & Commercial Duty+Class:
As the name implies, these hitches are made to fit the commercial vehicles. Commercial vehicles are built for heavy loads to be used in the work field helping contractors and business owners in their daily task of transporting heavy loads and equipment from place to place. The Commercial duty hitch is rated to haul a gross trailer weight of 18,000 lbs. with 2700 lbs. on the tongue. Where as the Commercial duty+ being the heaviest rear pull hitch offered at 20,000 whopping lbs. and 2700 lbs for a tongue rating.
Wiring a vehicle in the past used to be a nightmare.You had to cut into your factory wires and splice new trailer piggy back wires into them. It’s kinda like looking at a bomb wondering if your cutting the right wires. Not only is it scary cutting into your factory wires you have to splice them back together, hoping that your connection is good and the elements e.g. water, snow & humidity, don’t corrode things so bad that the connection no longer works. Those days are a thing of the past. Most wiring companies offer T connections that plug into a connection between the two side. The connection is split apart and one side will plug into one side of the T connector and the other into the opposite side. this wire connection is strictly for lights and turn signals. Other wiring options are available for trailer brakes that will control the brakes on the trailer via a control unit mounted under the dash.
A must have when towing are towing mirrors. K Source towing mirrors provide an extended line of view around your trailer so you can see behind you while safely changing lanes. These are available in easy to install slide on extensions that a very affordable, to full replacement mirrors that extend out further than the factory mirrors. The slide on extension mirrors are a sleek addition to the factory mirrors that snap on easily without tools. They extend anywhere from 3 1/2 ” to 4 5/8 ” depending on the vehicle you are installing them on. The Replacement style towing mirrors bolt on to where the original mirrors are. They extend anywhere from 3″ to 5″ and offer all the same options as a factory mirror e.g. power, heated, turn signals. Also available are spot mirrors. These Round fish eye mirrors stick on to the original mirrors surface and get rid of any blind spots left by the factory mirrors.