Hitch extenders can be a lifesaver, providing extra wiggle room and improving the leverage on your hitch.
But are hitch extenders legal? In a nutshell, they’re on the right side of the law if you play by the rules, which include:
- Extender length (no more than 4-6 feet)
- 1/3 of the vehicle’s wheelbase
Fail to follow these guidelines, and you could end up shelling out some cash for a fine or even face jail time. Let’s dive deeper into the nitty-gritty details!
Hitch Extenders and the Law: What’s the Deal?
Using hitch extenders won’t land you in hot water, but it’s crucial to choose the right one that doesn’t ruffle any legal feathers.
Don’t Stretch It Too Far: Extender Length Matters
To figure out if tow hitch extenders are legal, you need to measure their length, which shouldn’t exceed 6 feet.
While there’s no specific mention of hitch extenders in the law, the general rule is that any extender placed on a vehicle’s rear should be between 4 and 6 feet.
If the extender’s length goes beyond this limit, it’ll obstruct the rear lights (taillights and brake lights), which spells trouble for you and other drivers.
Ignoring this rule can attract the attention of traffic cops and lead to a fine of $185 or more.
Formula: 4 x hitch assembly length (from hitch case to ball mount) = Length of the hitch extension.
Stick to the 1/3 Rule: Wheelbase Length is Key
When connecting a truck and trailer via a hitch, the connection shouldn’t stretch more than 1/3 or 33% of the rear wheelbase length.
Common Queries About Hitch Extenders
You bet! Extending the hitch point further away decreases the towing capacity since it pushes the load further out. Remember, the longer the hitch extender, the more it impacts towing capacity.
A hitch extender should be anywhere between 8″ to 18″, based on average ratings. Aiming for 10″ or 14″ gives you the right balance of leverage and movement without compromising towing capacity too much.
Hitch extenders fit on top of the hitch receiver point, allowing the weight of the vehicle and trailer to shift further away. This extra space adds leverage and stability to the hitch assembly, ensuring smooth sailing.