Choose the Right Hitch

Choosing the right type of hitch is important -- depending on how much weight you're towing, the wrong kind can cause the trailer to separate from the towing vehicle.

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Some tow vehicles come with factory-mounted hitches, but for all the others that give the driver the option to choose, finding the right hitch is a very important step to take.

There are basically two types of hitches: Weight-carrying hitches and weight-distributing hitches. Weight-carrying hitches are recommended for trips when the combined weight of the trailer and cargo is 3,500 pounds (1,588 kilograms) or less. Weight-distributing hitches, on the other hand, are recommended for heavier loads. When there's too much weight in a trailer, the tongue weight -- the downward pressure that the tongue exerts on the hitch ball -- can get too high. This causes the tow vehicle and trailer to sag, which can make the whole setup look like a very wide V. A weight-distributing hitch redistributes the tongue weight to the axles of the tow vehicle and trailer, which keeps both vehicles level, or parallel to the ground.

Everything on the outside of your tow vehicle is important, but the insides are equally so. To learn about staying cool while towing, read the next page.