So, you’re ready to hit the road with your trailer in tow, but first, you need to make sure your hitch game is on point. Choosing the right trailer hitch ball mount for your towing setup is crucial for a safe and smooth ride.
In this easy-peasy guide, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of picking the perfect ball mount. We’ll cover measuring hitch drop, selecting the right shank size, and figuring out the weight capacity that’s right up your alley.
Step 1: Sizing up the Situation – Measuring Hitch Drop or Rise
First things first, let’s size up your trailer’s height. When towing, you want your vehicle and trailer to be on the level – literally. If your trailer is hanging low or riding high compared to your vehicle, a ball mount can help bridge the gap.
Start by measuring the distance from the ground to the top of the inside of your hitch receiver (A), then subtract it from the distance from the ground to the bottom of the trailer coupler (B).
B minus A gives you C, the drop. Easy as pie, right?
Flipping the Script: Can You Flip a Ball Mount?
Many trailer hitch ball mounts are as versatile as a Swiss Army knife, designed to be flipped in the receiver tube for that much-needed rise. Rise is the flip side of drop – it’s what you need when your trailer rides higher than your tow vehicle. You can determine rise using the same method mentioned above.
But before you get too excited, double-check that your ball hitch is compatible with being flipped for a rise application. Not all models can safely pull off this trick.
Keeping Your Options Open: What About Adjustable Ball Mounts?
If you’re a towing chameleon, planning to tow different trailers with varying coupler heights, you might want to consider an adjustable mount. These handy dandy mounts let you fine-tune the height and can usually be flipped for use in the drop or rise position, making them the ultimate jack-of-all-trades.
An adjustable mount is a top-notch choice for workhorses like work trucks and fleet vehicles that need to tow a variety of trailers.
One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to trailer hitch heights. Since every vehicle is a different kettle of fish, the proper trailer hitch height will be unique to each one.
When hitch designers put their thinking caps on, they always factor in ground clearance. A trailer hitch and ball mount need to ride high enough off the ground to avoid kissing the pavement, even when faced with pesky bumps and potholes.
Step 2: Navigating the Shank Size Jungle
So, you’re wondering what size ball mount floats your boat? Trailer hitch ball mounts come in all shapes and sizes, ready to tackle any towing setup under the sun. But don’t fret, shank sizes stick to four basic options: 1-1/4″, 2″, 2-1/2″, and 3″.
The shank size of your ball hitch should match the receiver tube size of your trailer hitch like peas in a pod. If they don’t fit together, you’ll need a receiver tube adapter to save the day. To find the perfect ball mount for your trailer hitch, take a gander at the receiver tube opening.
Measuring a Ball Mount: ABCD’s Made Easy
- A. Rise is how high the ball platform sits above the top of the shank, reaching for the stars.
- B. Drop is the distance the ball platform hangs below the top of the shank, like a kid on a playground swing.
- C. Hole size is the diameter of the trailer ball shank that needs to snugly fit in the ball mount.
- D. Length is the distance from the pin hole center to the ball hole center, like measuring for the perfect pair of jeans.
Step 3: Weighing in on Weight Capacity
Now that you’ve got the shank size sorted, you’ll want to know how much your ball mount can tow. To find your towing Prince Charming, consider two measurements: gross trailer weight (GTW) and tongue weight (TW). GTW is the total weight of your trailer, while TW is the weight of the trailer measured at the tongue or coupling point.
Make sure the ball hitch you choose can handle the GTW and TW like a champ. But to make life easier, keep an eye on your vehicle’s tow rating, as determined by the manufacturer. Because you never know what you might tow down the road, pick a ball mount that meets or exceeds your vehicle’s tow rating.
Step 4: Grab the Bull by the Horns – Trailer Ball Time!
So, you’ve navigated the twists and turns of hitch drops, shank sizes, and weight capacities, and now you’re ready to get the ball rolling – quite literally! CURT offers a smorgasbord of ball mounts, with some even coming with a shiny trailer ball included. Their towing starter kits are the bee’s knees, complete with a pre-attached trailer ball and other nifty accessory options. Just make sure you’re comparing apples to apples when it comes to ball diameters and coupler sizes.
If you decide to go the “ball-less” route, CURT has got your back with ball mounts sans the trailer ball. Keep in mind, though, that installing a trailer ball can be like wrestling a bear – it takes a whole lot of torque! So, you might want to call in the pros for a helping hand.
3 Ingredients for the Perfect Ball Mount Recipe
Hitch drop, shank size, and weight capacity
To cook up the perfect ball mount combo for your vehicle and trailer, there are three essential ingredients to consider. Make sure your ball mount has the right drop/rise, the proper shank size, and enough weight capacity to carry the load.
- A Hitch Drop That’s Just Right Like Goldilocks and her porridge, you’ll want a ball mount that accommodates the height of your vehicle, ensuring the trailer stays as level as a pancake.
- Shank Size – Size Matters! The hitch bar on your ball mount needs to fit snug as a bug in a rug, matching the dimensions of your receiver.
- Weight Capacity – Can You Handle the Heat? Your ball mount needs to be strong enough to tow your trailer, taking into account both the gross trailer weight and tongue weight. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 20,000 accidents occur each year due to improper towing, so don’t skimp on this crucial aspect (source: NHTSA).
Remember, finding the right ball mount is like a puzzle – all the pieces have to fit just right. So, take your time, do your research, and soon enough, you’ll be hitching your trailer like a pro!