A trailer hitch is an attachment made to a vehicle to enable it to tow a trailer. The hitch can either be a receiver type or a fixed-drawbar type hitch. The receiver-type hitch has an opening that faces rearward to accept a removable ball mount, a hitch bike rack, or other accessories for hitch mounting. Fixed-drawbar hitches come as a single piece instead.
The trailer hitch is attached either to the chassis of the vehicle or to the rear bumper. The hitch then provides a link to tow a trailer or other equipment. Hitches come in a variety of heights, lengths and other specifications. Many families have taken to the RVing lifestyle. They travel together as a family and enjoy a great vacation staying at different RV parks across the country.
There are different classes of hitches in North America. They are categorized as Class I, II, III and IV by the SAE or Society of Automotive Engineers. Although Class V is also marketed by some manufacturers, the SAE does not recognize it.
Class I is meant for light loads up to 2000 pounds. Class II is for light loads up to 3,500 pounds. Class III is for larger loads like campers and boats of up to 5000 pounds. Class IV is for heavier camper or boats up to 10,000 pounds.
The receiver type hitches come with a typical square opening that is 1.25 inches for Classes I and II and 2 inches for the higher classes.
The trailer ball slips over the hitch head which comes in different sizes based on the load it is meant to carry and the country where it is used. The most popular sizes are 1 and 7/8 inches, 1.97 inches (which is an ISO standard), 2 inches and 2 and 5/16 inches.
The ball mounts on the hitch basically attach to a ball on the trailer. The hitch head on the ball mount can be raised or lowered to match the ball height on the trailer. The ball mount should conform to the SAE hitch class based on the load it is meant to tow.
The trailer needs to be maintained in a horizontal position and then linked up with the towing vehicle. The correct combination of towing vehicle and trailer needs to be maintained for safe towing.