Installing trailer hitches in Eugene, OR depends on many factors that consider the capabilities of vehicles and trailers. The small four-wheel drive that will only carry bicycles has different needs than the diesel truck that will pull horse trailers. To better understand trailer hitches and know what to expect, here are descriptions of the various hitch classes.
Overview: The factors
When you arrange to buy and install a trailer hitch, be prepared to understand the following terminology: GTW (gross trailer weight), TW (tongue weight), GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) and GCWR (gross combination weight rating). GTW indicates the weight of a fully loaded trailer. TW is the force on the hitch ball created by the trailer’s tongue. GVWR is the maximum weight of the vehicle when it is carrying passengers and cargo and GCWR is the total weight of the loaded vehicle and trailer.
Knowing these numbers helps you determine your vehicle’s capabilities, appropriate trailer and correct class of trailer hitch. The numbers that concern your vehicle are normally on a sticker located on the interior of your driver’s side door. If you already purchased a trailer, bring its vital statistics to the tow hitch facility. However, if you are not purchasing a trailer until after hitch installation, at least have a good idea of your maximum towing needs.
We also recommend requesting the manufacturer’s towing guide for your vehicle before you look for a trailer hitch. This guide is separate from your vehicle manual and can often be located online.
Based on the numbers above, we determine a hitch class and present you with options. Numbered one through five, these classes include:
- Class 1: Certified for up to 2,000 pounds GTW, this works for any vehicle with that tow capability. Jet skis, motorcycles, bikes and cargo boxes all require Class 1 hitches.
- Class 2: This hitch is appropriate for all but sub-compact cars and accommodates towing weight up to 3,500 GTW. It can handle anything listed in Class 1, but also small boats, sport utility vehicles, and small camping trailers.
- Class 3: For heavier duty towing up to 8,000 GTW, only vans, light duty pickups and heavy-duty trucks are appropriate for this hitch. In addition to any items in Classes 1 and 2, it can also tow larger trailers and fishing boats.
- Class 4/5: The heaviest-duty hitch is only appropriate for some light-duty trucks and heavy-duty vehicles. If you are considering this class, check your vehicle’s manufacturer recommendations for towing first. Accommodating a GTW of up to 18,000 pounds, this is the ideal hitch for pulling heavy trailers for horses, racecars and even RVs.
To save money, you only want to install as much trailer hitch as you are going to use. If you only plan to use bike racks or tow jet skis, there is no reason to install a class 4/5 hitch. However, if your lifestyle involves everything from sleeping in a one-person tent trailer to towing six horses for a mountain camping trip, you will likely need that class 4/5 hitch.
Ron’s Hitch N Tow can help you choose from a variety of trailer hitches in Eugene, OR that suit many recreational or industrial needs. Call or visit us today to prepare your vehicle for future adventures.