Whether you’re a towing novice or a towing expert, you probably know that there are multiple different types of hitches in Eugene, OR that are each designed for different purposes. For example, a hitch designed to carry a bicycle can’t tow a recreational vehicle. While the information that follows is likely to be of greatest use to a newcomer, folks who have been around towing hitches for a long time might learn a thing or two, as well!
Before we get started, it’s important to understand a few of the key terms that you’ll usually see when you’re shopping for a trailer and trailer hitch. Here are a few of the common abbreviations for terms you’ll see when you’re shopping for hitches:
- GTW: The Gross Trailer Weight is the weight of your full loaded trailer. The more stuff you’ve loaded onto your trailer, and the larger your trailer is, the larger your GTW will be.
- TW: Tongue Weight is the downward force on the hitch ball that’s created by your trailer’s tongue. Experts tend to agree that a safe TW is anywhere between 9 and 15 percent of your GTW.
- GVWR: The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is a number determined by your vehicle’s manufacturer and represents the maximum safe operating weight. The number includes everything from the weight of your vehicle’s chassis to the weight of your passengers.
- GCWR: The Gross Combination Weight Rating includes the weight of everything you’re towing down the road (GTW), as well as your GVWR. Again, this number is determined by your manufacturer.
What can I tow?
Now that we know the key terms, let’s learn more about hitches in Eugene, OR. Hitches are divided into five classes, rated on a scale of 1 through 5. The lower the number, the smaller the vehicle that can use it, as well as the lighter items it can carry:
- Class 1: This is the smallest class of hitches. They can carry up to 2,000 lbs GTW. They usually attach right to a vehicle’s bumper and can carry things like bike racks and small tent campers. Any type of vehicle can utilize class 1 hitches.
- Class 2: These can usually carry up to 3,500 lbs GTW. They also attach to the car’s bumper. Small cars, like compacts, usually can’t handle a class 2 hitch.
- Class 3: Now we’re getting to the big boy hitches. Class 3 hitches can handle 6,000 lbs GTW, towing things like campers and boats. Since you’re hauling heavier equipment, these can only attach to your vehicle’s frame.
- Class 4: If you have a horse (or horses), you’ll need at least a class 4 hitch. These can tow up to 10,000 lbs GTW. Large SUVs, pickup trucks and vans are the only vehicles that can handle these hitches.
- Class 5: Finally, the largest hitches are rated as class 5s. These can tow up to 12,000 lbs GTW. Again, only the largest SUVs and trucks can handle this type of hitch.
If you still have questions as you’re getting started shopping for trailers and trailer hitches, feel free to visit Ron’s Hitch N Tow or give us a call! Our friendly staff members are well versed in all aspects of hitches in Eugene, OR and are more than happy to answer any questions that pop into your head. We look forward to seeing you soon!