Trailer Hitch Buying Guide

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Trailer Hitch Buying Guide

Adding a towing system to a vehicle is a versatile way to transport a trailer through Australia. A trailer can carry a caravan, boat, horse trailer, or even an aircraft with folding wings. A trailer hitch, which is mounted under the vehicle's rear bumper, connects to the trailer, and safety is a key factor when selecting a trailer hitch.

When purchasing a trailer hitch, one must make sure it is properly rated to match the towing vehicle as well as the trailer. The buyer should also be familiar with the towing system and know how to maintain it. An incorrectly mounted trailer hitch can release the trailer while underway, causing a safety hazard. One can can purchase a trailer hitch from auto supply stores and trailer speciality stores. They can also find them online at sources such as eBay.

Parts of a Trailer Coupling

The trailer coupling contains five main components that must be robust enough to tow the trailer safely. The coupling should be able to bear the weight of a trailer that is loaded to gross weight.

Towbar

The towbar is a metal structure that is mounted to the tow vehicle's rear. The towbar should be properly rated for the trailer being towed, and its load capacity should be at least equal to the mass of the fully-loaded trailer. Towbars made after 1 July 1988 have been required to display the maximum load rated capacity as well as the towing vehicle's make and model. The name of the manufacturer, part number, and trademark are also acceptable.

Tow Ball

Also known as a trailer ball, the tow ball is the metal spherical element that the trailer coupler is mounted and locked to. This is the connection point between the towing vehicle and the trailer. The tow ball provides the flexibility to allow the vehicle and trailer to drive around corners, back up, and handle bumpy roads. Lighter trailers call for a smaller tow ball than those utilised by heavy-duty trailers.

Ball Mount

Also referred to as the tongue, the ball mount is a curved metal segment of the towbar that connects to the tow ball. The ball mount may be curved or straight, and it is normally constructed of steel. The standard measurement of a ball mount is 75 mm wide, and the steel bar is normally 16 mm to 20 mm thick.

Coupling Body

The coupling body attaches to the A frame of the trailer, creating a pivot point that connects the two vehicles. The coupling body also provides the tow ball's socket. The coupling body must clearly identify its towing capacity, the size of the compatible tow ball, and the manufacturer. The capacity of a coupling body usually ranges from 750 kgs to 3,500 kgs.

Safety Chains

In Australia, all trailers must be secured to the towing vehicle with a safety chain that prevents the two vehicles from separating if the coupling body becomes disconnected. Australian regulations specify the minimum capacities of each size and gauge of safety chain. The chains should be connected to the towbar framework as opposed to the ball mount, which can become disconnected and cause a safety hazard.

Locking Hitch Pin and Clip

The hitch pin is a steel pin designed to keep the ball mount securely connected in the trailer hitch, which keeps the trailer connected to the towing vehicle. The hitch pin is kept in place by the hitch clip. It is highly recommended that the buyer select a locking hitch pin to deter theft of the trailer. Anti-rattle hitch pins are also available to provide a smooth ride.

Selecting the Ideal Trailer Hitch

The primary consideration when choosing a trailer hitch is integrating it with the rest of the towing system. The consumer should compose a list that includes the vehicle's towing capacity, the tow bar that fits the vehicle, and the coupling's maximum load capacity. In addition, the buyer should know what type of trailer is being towed and whether it complies with Australian regulations. Once the towing system is assembled, the driver should be aware of the safety requirements and the effect the extra length and weight as well as the effect the trailer has on the vehicle's driving characteristics and aerodynamics. Because the trailer hitch is critical to the towing operation, professionals recommend that an expert be hired to mount and install the system.

Avoid Rust or Corrosion

When looking for a trailer hitch, the buyer should ensure there is no rust or corrosion anywhere in the assembly, particularly in the points where the components connect. Stainless steel and powder-coated metal trailer hitches offer durability and reliability when used. The buyer should ensure all the weld points are solid to prevent structural failure and a safety hazard.

Verify Sufficient Tongue Weight

The buyer should ensure that the tongue weight of the trailer hitch is sufficient for both vehicles and the weight being towed. Tongue weight indicates the weight that the trailer imposes on the towing vehicle's hitch. If the tongue weight is too light, the trailer may yaw left and right while being towed. A too-heavy tongue weight can affect proper operation of the tow vehicle and possibly deform the towing hitch.

Trailer Hitch Classes

Selecting the correct hitch for the tow vehicle and the trailer is a crucial decision, as it prevents damage to either vehicle. Properly matched equipment also prevents runaway trailers and other safety hazards. It is important for the consumer to confirm the correct trailer hitch class for use before committing to a purchase.

Towbar Class

Towbar Name

Use

Class 2

Standard

Light towing, up to 1,600 kg

Class 3

Reese Light (RL)

Medium towing

Class 4

Heavy Duty

Caravan, boat, large trailer, horse float.

N/A

Fifth-Wheel and Gooseneck

RVs, fifth-wheel, industrial trailer, horse float

Because of the integral relationships between the size and weight of the tow vehicle, the trailer, and the components of the trailer hitch system, the consumer should consult with a professional to ensure the correct components are utilised with the proper vehicles. In 1998, Australia enacted updated laws with respect to speed limits, tyre inflation, gross combination mass (GCM), maximum trailer mass, and vehicle and trailer brakes. Anyone intending to tow a trailer in the country should become familiar with these laws and regulations.

How to Buy a Trailer Hitch on eBay

After you complete your research and locate the trailer hitch or components that you need for a trailer, your search can start on any eBay page. Simply enter a search term, such as "trailer hitch", in the search bar, and browse the results. You may wish to narrow your search by entering a specific part, such as "fifth wheel", that you are looking for. Other search options include the trailer type, condition, or items that are available from eBay's Top-rated sellers, eBay's Deals page, and more.

eBay provides detailed information about each seller, including selling policies, feedback, sales history, and customer comments. Because trailer hitch parts are bulky, you may wish to find a local seller, within a certain distance of your postcode, who might be amenable to a pickup in person.

Conclusion

Having the capability of towing a trailer is a great way to haul materials for home improvement or agriculture, a horse float, or a trailer full of household goods. Trailers are not restricted to utilitarian missions, and a good trailer hitch can also pull a trailer for boats, watercraft, motorbikes, and even a caravan or recreational vehicle.

While trailer hitches are available from brick-and-mortar trailer supply stores, eBay offers an extensive selection of hitches, accessories, and components. When searching for a trailer hitch, a buyer can browse the extensive variety of listings on eBay. By learning about the seller's feedback rating, buyer comments, and selling policies, consumers can find the right trailer hitch with ease and confidence. Buyers should also be familiar with the regulations regarding trailers and towing in Australia.

trailer hitch|towing|trailer ball|trailer|safety chain

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