Trailer Hitch

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    About Trailer Hitch

    Whether you’re looking to transport a powersport vehicle, go camping, or haul another vehicle or trailer, you’ll need the right part to tow and travel safely. This is where a properly fitting trailer hitch comes into play. With the right tow hitch, you can transform your SUV, truck, or in some cases even your small hatchback into the ultimate hauling machine.

    Measuring for Your Vehicle

    Understanding your vehicle’s towing capacity is essential in planning for a secure haul. The tow rating for a vehicle helps determine the safe weight range of what your vehicle can carry. Another two weight ratings to consider are the gross trailer weight and tongue weight. If your trailer is too heavy for your hitch or vehicle, it could damage your vehicle and even void the warranty.

    Depending on your application, hitches also have a particular drop or rise, making it imperative to always use the appropriate specifications for your trailer. Most other towing accessories require custom sizing, like ball mounts and hitch balls, both of which are sold separately. Check out our guide on finding the right hitch ball for your towing needs. By shopping with AutoZone, you can also find the perfect hitch pins, couplers and wiring to get the job done, with the best reviews on every product to ensure you’re getting the absolute best.

    Understanding Different Types of Hitches

    The different types of car hitches typically fall into categories that include:
    - Rear receiver
    - Front mount
    - Bumper hitch
    - Weight distribution hitch (WD)
    - Weight carrying (WC)
    - Fifth wheel hitch

    Rear receiver hitches are the most common because they are the easiest to use and can support a wide range of vehicles and trailers. The receiver tube on the outside can work with a camper or fifth wheel, too. Front mount hitches are different because they attach to the front of a vehicle. These are best for use with a plow or tire mount.

    A bumper hitch attaches to the bumper rather than the back of a vehicle. As they support less weight, they're not as popular as other hitches are. Weight distribution hitches are best for towing an RV or a camper. They evenly distribute the weight of the camper to prevent damage to your car. You'll also find fifth wheel hitches that fit near the rear axle to handle weight from larger campers.

    Class Specifications

    Class I: Light Duty
    - Maximum Gross Trailer Weight: 2,000 lbs
    - Maximum Tongue Weight: 200 lbs

    Class II: Light Duty
    - Maximum Gross Trailer Weight: 3,500 lbs
    - Maximum Tongue Weight: 350 lbs

    Class III: Medium Duty
    - Maximum Gross Trailer Weight (WC): 6,000 lbs
    - Maximum Tongue Weight (WC): 600 lbs
    - Maximum Gross Trailer Weight (WD): 10,000 lbs
    - Maximum Tongue Weight (WD): 1,000 lbs

    Class IV: Heavy Duty
    - Maximum Gross Trailer Weight (WC): 12,000 lbs
    - Maximum Tongue Weight (WC): 1,200 lbs
    - Maximum Gross Trailer Weight (WD): 15,000 lbs
    - Maximum Tongue Weight (WD): 1,500 lbs

    Class V: Heavy Duty
    - Maximum Gross Trailer Weight (WC): 12,000 lbs
    - Maximum Tongue Weight (WC): 1,200 lbs
    - Maximum Gross Trailer Weight (WD): 17,000 lbs
    - Maximum Tongue Weight (WC): 1,700 lbs

    How to Attach Your Tow Hitch

    If available, start with the manufacturer's instructions to properly install a trailer hitch. Use a car jack to get the vehicle off the ground and add clearance around the bottom. Take off the bolts and other hardware near the back end with a wrench and other tools. You will then position the hitch on the vehicle and hold it in place as you attach it. It's often helpful to have another person around to hold the hitch.

    You'll start with one bolt and insert it through the hole in the hitch to the opening in your car. Only after lining up the bolt and tightening it slightly should you move to the next bolt. You may find that you want to line up all the bolts to make sure that you installed the hitch correctly before you tighten all of them. Most hitches weigh a minimum of 50 pounds, which is why it’s best to have multiple helping hands. The best way to ensure proper fitment of any towing part is by setting your year, make and model in the space above, and shop for OEM quality parts with confidence that they will in fact fit your vehicle. Looking for a quick and easy way to get your new trailer hitch? Enjoy Free In-Store Pickup, Free Curbside Pickup & Free Next Day Delivery on eligible orders.