Frequently Asked Questions

DO YOU KNOW YOUR STUFF?..

With 15+ years in the industry, we have a very knowledgeable team!! But why not put us to the test, send us whatever questions you have and we'll post them on our wall of common questions for everyone to benefit!

 

Ball Mounts

Brake Controls

Cargo Management - Sport Carriers

HD Towing - 5th Wheel Hitches

RV  - Electrical Components

Towing Accessories

Towing Accessories - For Rear Hitches

Towing Accessories - Specialty Towing Equipment

Trailer Balls

Trailer Hitches and Front Receivers

Vehicle Wiring

 

BALL MOUNTS

 


 

Q: Is It Normal to Have a Small Amount of Play When a Drawbar is Inserted In the Hitch?

A: It is normal small amount of play when a drawbar is installed in a receiver hitch. However, if the noise is bothersome, there are ‘anti-rattle’ products available as either a sleeve, or a pin kit, or even specialty ballmounts to reduce the amount of play.

 

Q: Are All Ball Mounts Reversible?

A: Not all ballmounts have a rise and drop rating, but most do. Some ball mounts are to be used solely in the rise position or solely in the drop position – look for stickers that indicate any limitations.

 

Q: Are class I and class II ballmounts interchangeable?

A: Although Class I and class II hitches both have a 1.25” x 1.25” receiver openings, because of the differences in capacity, the class I hitches are not as deep as class II hitches.  This means the class II ball mounts are longer and have a different pin position than the class I’s, and therefore makes them non-interchangeable.

 

Q: How do I measure my trailer ball's diameter, shank length, shank diameter and load rating? OR how do I  measure my trailer ballmount rise, drop and length?

A: Refer to this blog post, it provides an illustration of all measurements

 

Q: What size ballmount do I need for my trailer hitch?

A:Refer to this blog post, It provides "how to's" as well as what capacity is needed for your hitch weight. 

 

BRAKE CONTROLS

 


Q: What is a Brake Control?

A:  An electric brake control is a device that supplies power from the tow vehicle to the trailers electric brake. It is a small device which is mounted underneath the dashboard on the drivers side of the tow vehicle. Follow the link to read more.

 

Q: What to do if Trailer brakes Lock-Up when tow vehicle Brakes are Applied?

A: On the brake control, adjust the preset amount of power that is initially supplied to the brakes on the trailer, or the brakes themselves need adjustment.

 

Q: Will a Brake Controller Draw Enough Power When Not in Use To Drain a Car Battery?

A: Brake controls on the market today are only on when they are activated, or a have a timed shut-off or idle state after a certain time period.  It is possible that some of the older brake controls never shut off.

 

Q: How Do I Install A Brake Control?

A. Follow the link to our Brake Control Installation Quick Reference Guide

 

 

CARGO MANAGEMENT - SPORT CARRIERS


Q: Can a Hitch Extender be Used with a Bike Rack?

A: Yes, it can, however the limiting factor is the capacity of the hitch. Using an extender will generally reduce the hitch’s overall capacity by half. (eg. If the hitch has a 200 pound maximum tongue weight, using the extender may limit the capacity to 100 pounds – depending on the length of the extener.) To correctly calculate tongue weight, include: the weight of the bike rack, the extender (if used), and any load in the vehicle behind the rear axle, plus the bikes on the rack.

 

Q: How to choose a hitch mounted bike rack

A. Refer to this blog post, it provides all the information you need to consider such as weight capacity and features. 

 

HD TOWING - 5TH WHEEL HITCHES


Q: Do I Need a Fifth Wheel Slider for a Truck with a 6 Foot Long Bed?

A: A 6 foot bed (also known as short box) truck requires the use of a 5th Wheel Slider or a Sidewinder, or damage may occur during sharp turns.

 

Q: Do I Have To Drill My Frame When Installing A 5th Wheel Hitch?

A. If you are installing a Reese, Drawtite,Hidden Hitch, RBW Little Rocker, or Robin Industries cross bed 5th wheel then you can use custom install brackets. These vehicle specific, no drill, quick brackets can reduce labor time in half! Kit includes 2 brackets and hardware.

 

Q: How To Choose The Right Fifth Wheel?

A. With all the 5th wheel hitches and brands out there, it is hard to differentiate between them. Much of it has to do with the design, brand, and cost. Follow the link to look at the main features that distinguish one 5th wheel from another

 

RV - ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS


Q: What do you need for Towing Lights for Towing a vehicle Behind Motorhome?

A: There are a few different options:

The best and newest option is a Custom Towed-Connector.  These custom harnesses plug into the vehicle’s wiring, similarly to t-connectors.  Since they are a custom application, they are only available for a limited amount of vehicles.

A second option is Vehicle-mounted Tow Lights. This style mounts magnetically to the tow vehicle, and is easy to install since it does not require spicing into the electrical system on the tow vehicle.

Another option is a Tail Light Wiring Kit. This system uses bulbs that are permanently installed in the vehicles tail light assemblies. Although some alteration of the tail light assembly is required, the wiring would be completely independent of the vehicle wiring.

The last option would be to have the wiring fully integrated into the vehicles wiring system. This would involve using Universal Hy-Power Diode Wiring Kit. Installation of this system is a bit more involved, but is not difficult. Installation depends on how the motor home is wired.

 

TOWING ACCESSORIES


Q: Are Safety Chains Required When Towing a Trailer or is the Hitch Ball and Trailer Coupler secure Enough?

A: Safety chains or cables are required by law when towing.  The chains ensure that if the trailer becomes uncoupled from the ball, it is still connected to the tow vehicle by the safety chains or cables.

 

TOWING ACCESSORIES - FOR REAR HITCHES


Q: Should I be Using a Sway Control?

A: Sway controls are definitely not necessary for proper towing.  If your trailer is evenly loaded, with at least 10 to 15 percent of the total trailer weight at the ‘hitch’ end of the trailer, you should experience little or no sway during normal towing conditions.

If much of your towing will be done on windy or busy roadways and it has been properly loaded, a sway control system with weight distribution would be a good idea.

 

Q: What accessories should I purchase with my trailer hitch?

A: Refer to this blog post, it provides you with a list of the most popular accessories for your rear and front trailer hitch. 

 

Q: What are hitch adapters and extensions?

A: Hitchweb now carries a great selection of Yakima Hitch Mounted Bike Racks, but what happens when you find the bike rack you want but it just wont fit into your receiver size? Or what if you want to tow a small utitlity trailer behind you camper? Hitchweb carries Receiver Hitch Extensions and Receiver Hitch Adapters that can help! Follow the link to Refer to the blog post.

 

 

TOWING ACCESSORIES - SPECIALTY TOWING EQUIPMENT


Q: What’s the difference between ‘Round Bar’ and ‘Trunnion Bar’ style weight distribution systems?

A: The main reason to select one style over the other is ground clearance.  The Round bar style drops down slightly lower than the trunnion style.  Some other minor differences between the two bars are that the trunnion style is generally used in the higher capacity kits.  Note that the heads are different for these different bars, so they are not interchangeable.

 

Q: Will a Weight Distribution System Stop My tow vehicle From Sagging?

A: A weight distribution system is designed to help keep the tow vehicle from sagging by transferring the trailer weight from the tongue of the trailer to the vehicle and trailer axles.
Also always ensure that the trailer is evenly loaded (tongue weight should not be more than 10 to 15 percent of the gross trailer weight.)

 

Q: Will using a Weight Distribution increase my vehicle’s towing capacity?

A: No, it does not increase your vehicle’s towing capacity.  It simply better distributes the trailer weight over the vehicle’s axles and the trailer’s axles.  Although some hitches have an increased capacity when using a weight distribution system, this capacity NEVER overrides your vehicle’s maximum towing capacity.

 

Q: What is tongue weight? OR What is trailer sway?

A. Refer to this blog post, it explains how to make sure you do not exceed your gross towing weight and how to determine tongue weight before towing your trailer with a WD SYSTEM.

 

Q: What are the components in a weight distribution system?

A: Refer to the blog post: It explains what a WD SYSTEM is and how to correctly determine the matching components in each system. 

 

 

TRAILER BALLS


Q: What is the largest ball size available for Class II hitches?

A: The largest ball for Class II hitch is 2”. There are not any bigger sizes because the Class II hitch would not be able to handle the weight even if the ball is rated to handle more weight.

 

Q: How do I measure my trailer ball?

A: Refer to the link that will take you to the blog post, it provides an illustration of all measurements

 

Q: How to choose the correct trailer ball?

A: A trailer hitch ball is the towing accessory that attaches to the ball mount and provides the connection from the trailer hitch to the trailer. The trailer ball is gripped by the coupler and held into place on the trailer's frame. Trailer hitch balls are sold in different ball sizes, shank lengths, diameters and capacities. Follow the link to see the blog post that answers this question.

 

TRAILER HITCHES AND FRONT RECEIVERS


Q: What does ‘line pull capacity’ refer to on a front receiver?

A: That is the gross load capacity when used as a straight line pull.  Straight line pull means that the winch cable must not exceed 15 degree angle up or down from horizontal or 45 degree angle left or right from straight ahead.

 

Q: What is dry hitch weight?

A. The dry hitch weight is the amount of weight that will be transferred onto the towing vehicle before water, personal articles and supplies are installed in the trailer.

 

Q: What is the hitch rating on my truck/car?

A: Best place to look is your owner's manual, it should provide your vehicle's towing capacity. Also refer to the link as a guideline for which hitch class you should be shopping for.

 

Q: How Do I Determine What Class Hitch I Need?

A. To determine what class you need, you first need to know what your vehicle is capable of towing, you can find this information in your owners manual or ask your dealership. You need to know how much the item you are towing weighs, and also what size receiver it will fit into (1-1/4"or 2"). Follow the link to our blog post to read more.

 

Q: When searching for a hitch, how do I determine what my vehicles sub-model is?

A. Trying to find a hitch for your vehicle and not sure what your vehicle's sub-model is? Pickup trucks especially have the most diverse selection of sub-model's; Regular Cab, Extended Cab, Crew Cab, Flat Deck, with a variety of bumpers such as deep drop, roll pan, step bumper, tube, and regular. Follow the link to see the answer on our Blog Post. 

 

Q: What accessories should I purchase with my trailer hitch?

A: Refer to this blog post, it provides you with a list of the most popular accessories for your rear and front trailer hitch. 

 

Q: When searching for a trailer hitch for my vehicle, how do I know what bumper I have?

A: This blog post can help, it shows every bumper style available for all pickup types.

 

Q: I received my trailer hitch and am missing the trailer hardware, where is it?

A: Check inside the receiver tube and your hardware will be in a plastic bag inside the receiver. Call the team if your hardware bag is missing and we'll replace it for you!

 

Q: I received my trailer hitch and the bolts in my hardware bag are too big, what do I do?

A: It might be possible that you have build up of dirt and grime on your vehicles frame. Clean out the corrosion in the weld nuts of your frame by spraying a lubricant, allowing it to penetrate and soften the grime and corrosion. Scrub the lubricant with a wire brush to loosen the grime and corrosion.

 

Q: Can I weld a trailer hitch to my frame?

It is not recommended to weld a trailer hitch to your frame. Welding a trailer hitch to a frame can cause the hitch and vehicle frame to weaken.

 

VEHICLE WIRING 


Q: How can I tell If My vehicle came Equipped With Tow Package?

A: Your owners manual will indicate if the vehicle came equipped with a factory tow package. You can also look under your vehicle to see if there is a connector on the driver side frame rail behind the rear tire, or contact the manufacturer and provide them with your VIN (vehicle identification number.)

 

Q: Is there a Plug-In 5-Way Flat Wiring Harness Available?

A: There are no custom-fit wiring harnesses with a 5-Way flat plug already installed, but you can use an adapter to convert an existing 4-Way plug to a 5-Way. Plug the adapter into the 4-Way vehicle plug, and then connect the additional, blue wire to the vehicle’s reverse light wire, behind the tail light assembly.

 

Q: How do I know if I Need A Converter To Install Trailer Wiring on My vehicle?

A: The way to determine whether you need to use a converter is to check whether the vehicle has separate turn signals from the brake lights --- if they are separate, this requires a converter to convert the cars 3 wire system down to the trailers 2 wire system. The converter is also circuit protected and protects the vehicle’s electrical system from damage if there is a short or mis-wire on the trailer end. Simply splicing a normal 4-way connector to the vehicles lighting circuits will not work and can damage the vehicles electronics.

 

Q: What is the center blade on a 7 blade trailer harness or plug?

A: The center blade is for auxiliary (fridge or other). Click on this blog post for explanation and image. 

 

Q: What's a taillight converter for?

A: It's used to convert a 3 wire system from a vehicle (separate bulbs for brake & turn signals) to a 2 wire system on a trailer (trailer brake lights & turn signals operate off the same bulb.)

 

Q: How Do I Choose The Right Converter?

A. A tailight converter is required when the towing vehicle has seperate wires for brake lights and turn signals. Follow the link to learn how to choose the right converter.

 

Q: How do I adapt a 7 prong plug to a 5 prong? Or, how to convert 6 pin trailer harness to 4 pin flat? OR, how to convert a 4 prong to a 7 flat?

A: This can be accomplished with the use of electrical adapters or connectors. Here are a couple examples:

For a 7 blade to 5 prong: part number: 75703

For 6 pin to 4 flat: part number: 600-064

For 4 prong to 7 flat: part number: 75321

 

Q: What Is A 5-Way?

A. 5-Way connectors allow the basic hookup of the three lighting functions (running lights, turn signals, and brake lights) a pin for Ground, and also one additional pin is available to provide support for surge brakes or hydraulic brakes. The additional wire is tapped into the backup lights to disengage the hydraulic trailer coupler (actuator) when the vehicle is reversing, turning off the trailer's brakes. Click here to see a 5-way wiring diagram.

 

Q: What Is A 6-Way?

A. 6-Way connectors allow the basic hookup of the three lighting functions (running lights, turn signals, and brake lights) The ground and two extra pins provide two additional functions, typically for electric brakes and 12 volt "hot" lead. Follow the link to see our 6-way diagram.

 

Q: What Are The Most Common Trailer Plugs?

A. The most common trail plugs are 4 way, 5 way, 6 way, and 7 way. Follow the link to see the common plug wiring information chart on our blog

 

Q: If the trailer light has a license light is it a left or right?

A: The license light goes on the left side of the trailer, licence lights are not commonly on the right side.

 

TRAILER PARTS

Q: What is a Trailer Spindle?

A. A spindle provides the mounting areas for the tires, wheels, and other 'spinning' components that make contact with the road. Follow the link to read the rest of the answer on our blog post.

 

Q: What is a Leaf Spring?

A. A leaf spring is used for vehicle & trailer suspension. It consists of a stack of slightly curved narrow steel strips which are called "leaves". The curve in the steel allows it to absorb the energy transmitted through the tires by the bumps on the road.

 

Did any of these help you? If you have any questions you'd like us to answer and post on this page, please email us your questions and we'll be happy to share our knowledge.

- hitchweb Team -