Travel trailers are regarded as one of the most practical and versatile living spaces that can be pulled across by any automobile if it has enough towing capacity to do so.
The perfect hitch height for your trailer depends on your model, the towing vehicle, and the overall situation. Be sure to get it right because there are dangers if set wrong.
For the uninitiated, the hitch of the travel trailer can be altered if required but, the towing capacity of the receiver vehicle cannot be. This implies that you will have to adjust the trailer in such a way that it corresponds with the height of your vehicle. To make the process of deciphering the proper hitch height of your trailer a little easier, in the following segment, we will be laying down a few essentials of doing the same.
- Evaluate and compare the heights of the hitch and receiver
First things first, take a measuring tape and find out the distance from the top edge of the hitch receiver to the ground. Next, measure the distance between the ground and the bottom edge of the trailer, and follow up by subtracting the height of the receiver from that of the trailer. If the result has a positive value, you will have to increase the hitch height and in case it is negative, you must decrease the hitch height.
For example, if the height of the trailer is 12 inches and the height of the coupler is 10 inches, (difference of 2 inches) the ball mount should drop by 2 inches. Likewise, if the height of the coupler is 12 inches and the trailer is 10 inches, the ball mount will have to be raised by 2 inches.
For those of you who might not know, “drop” refers to the distance from the top of the ball platform to the top of the shank when the ball mount is positioned to lower the coupler height. On the other hand, “rise” is the distance between the top of the ball platform to the top of the shank when the ball mount is positioned to increase the coupler height.
Easier said than done, to be precise with the calculations, there are a few things that should be taken into account prior to carrying out these measurements. More than anything else, you must make sure that both the trailer and vehicle are parked on flat surfaces because even if there is a slight tilt, the true value of the calculations could be distorted. If needed, you can round up the measurements to the nearest whole numbers once you have the differential heights at your disposal because undoubtedly, they are easier to work with and wouldn’t create much of a disparity during application.
- Fill in the deficiencies of ball mounts
If you are stuck in a scenario where the height difference between the vehicle and travel trailer is considerably large, the preinstalled coupler might fail to compensate for the variation in height. Even if there is a small difference, get your hands on an adjustable towing hitch that would safely balance the height between the trailer and the vehicle pulling it. Sometimes, you might have an accurate height difference but, still notice that the trailer is misaligned just because it wasn’t leveled properly. Therefore, just to be on the more reliable side of the spectrum, also fill in the difference of the ball mount of the tow hitch.
How to choose an adjustable ball mount?
To pick the most appropriate adjustable ball mount for your towing vehicles, you will have to record the tongue weight of the heaviest trailer you will ever tow. Needless to say, the adjustable ball mount should be able to pull the trailer even when it is fully loaded. Apart from this, the ball mount should have the correct size shank to be in sync with the dimensions of the receiver. Additionally, determine which ball mount diameter would suit your requisites the best and ensure that it is capable of operating between the range of the highest rise and lowest drop.
- Connect the hitch and the receiver
Now that you have matched the heights of the hitch and the receiver, it is now time to move on to connecting them. After lining up the travel trailer and the vehicle on an aligned ground, use the trailer tongue to tally it with the height of the ball hitch. Bear in mind that after you have made the arrangements, there should be enough space for the ball to fit under the tongue of the trailer without touching it. Bring the vehicle closer to the trailer and attend the tow hitch. Pull open the latch of the coupler and capitalize on the crank of the trailer to lower the vehicle on the ball hitch for them to fit just fine with each other.
Close the latch and put back the hitch pin into its former spot so that the latch doesn’t out on its own while you are on the road. Nonetheless, before you start the journey, take a quick test drive to make certain that everything is in place and properly coordinated.
Risks of securing a hitch too high or too low
If you are wondering why is it so important to be careful about the height difference between your travel trailer and vehicle, we will familiarize you with the risks of the otherwise.
- If the hitch is set too high
If you set the hitch too high, the trailer will tilt backward thereby, disturbing its weight distribution and the overall towing profile. Not only will the contents of the trailer slide in the wrong way, controlling it too can pose a series of difficulties when towing through a rough patch of the road. Moreover, trailers that are hitched higher than their ideal height can catch winds faster begin swaying. When you already have such heavyweights affixed at the back of your vehicle, the winds will only worsen the situation further and open doors to innumerable vulnerabilities.
- If the hitch is set too low
If the hitch is set too low, it will incline forward and consequently, put pressure on the back bumper of the vehicle towing it. Besides making both the vehicles vulnerable to damage, the front wheels can be subjected to lesser traction and hence, make way for control and steering glitches.
The vehicle that would be pulling the trailer doesn’t necessarily have to be a humungous one. The only two factors that you will have to be careful about to ensure a smooth ride are the distinct weights and heights of the receiver and hitch. Because the travel trailers are meant to be towed with different cars and trucks there cannot be just one set of specifications about how to use them together.