How do I pick a Tow Hitch?

Now that you’ve decided you want to get a tow hitch, it’s time to choose one. At first it can be quite daunting, considering the selection. But with some help, you’ll quickly realise the decision is fairly straight forward. The biggest factor that will affect the class of hitch you get is actually going to be your car. Smaller cars tend to only support class 1 and 2 hitches, whereas small SUVs and larger sedans as well as pickups will all support Class 3 hitches (like below), with larger vehicles required for higher class hitches.
Curt 13526 Trailer Hitch – Class 3
The next factor to consider is what you want to do with your hitch. Hitches all come with two specifications. One value relates to the gross mass of the trailer you want to tow (Gross Trailer Weight – GTW), and the other to how much weight the hitch can directly support (Tongue Weight – TW). If you’re not going to be towing much, and rather using your hitch for transporting bikes, or loading a cargo carrier, you’ll only be concerned about the TW rating. If you’ll be towing a vehicle, you’ll obviously be concerned about the GTW.
Curt 18145 Basket-Style Cargo Carrier
Take note, although you may purchase a hitch that can handle a GTW of 3,500 lbs, this may exceed your vehicle’s own towing capacity. You should always refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual to determine the highest GTW you can tow with your vehicle. The last thing to look consider is the size of the receiver opening. They come in three alternatives, either a 1.25″, 2″ or 2.5″ opening. When considering accessories, make sure they are compatible with the opening you get. Many products, such as bike racks, will come with adaptors, allowing them to be used on either 1.25″ or 2″ receivers. Finally on to the different classes. The list below lists typical values for each class, but these are not fixed, and may vary based on manufacturer.
  • Class I
    • Receiver Opening: 1.25″
    • GTW: 2,000 lbs
    • TW: 200 lbs
  • Class II
    • Receiver Opening: 1.25″
    • GTW: 3,500 lbs
    • TW: 350 lbs
  • Class III
    • Receiver Opening: 2.00″
    • GTW: 8,000 lbs
    • TW: 800 lbs
  • Class IV
    • Receiver Opening: 2.00″
    • GTW: 10,000 lbs
    • TW: 1,000 lbs
  • Class V
    • Receiver Opening: 2.00″ / 2.50″
    • GTW: 17,000 lbs / 20,000 lbs
    • TW: 2,550 lbs / 2,700 lbs
After you’ve figured out what you need, all you really need to do is pick a manufacturer. Amazon will give you a list of products specifically for your vehicle. Alternatively you can get the exact product from a manufacturer’s website.
Curt 45036 Loaded Ball Mount
Curt Manufacturing is our favorite choice when it comes to tow hitches. With 25 years of experience in the automotive industry, they offer every product you can think of. If it has to do with towing, they’ve got it. Made in America, and ISO certified, they offer quality products at a competitive price.

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