If you’re in the market for an off-road hitch or have just begun your search, you may have noticed there’s a lot more to purchasing a hitch than you may have recently thought. Finding out what types of hitches and rated weight classes of Tampa hitches are suitable for what you plan on towing is invaluable information to be armed with before you begin your search.
Not all hitches are created equally and when you’re hauling a few thousand pounds behind your 4×4 you want to make sure that you have a hitch that can get the job done and done well. That’s why LINE-X of South Tampa proudly sells brands like Reese and B&W hitches. Whether you need a hitch on of your vehicle for work or play, you’ll be able to use this comprehensive guide as an essential sidekick in your search for the perfect Tampa Bay hitch.
Understanding The Different Hitch Classes
Choosing which class hitch you need for your vehicle and towing needs primarily depends upon what type of vehicle you own and it’s towing capacity. Before purchasing a hitch, it’s essential that you look at your owner’s manual to get the correct vehicle rating. Typically smaller vehicles can only handle smaller weight loads and will most likely need to use a Class I hitch. On the other end of the spectrum, large vehicles such as lifted trucks, off-road vehicles, and large vans can use hitches rated Class II or higher. Let’s break each class down, to better understand the features that each class provides:
- Class I – Class I hitches are designed to carry lighter loads on smaller vehicles such as a car towing a bike rack or a sedan towing an ATV or jet ski. These hitches are rated up to 2000 lbs for gross trailer weight (GTW) with a 200 lb maximum trailer tongue weight (TW). Most Class I hitches attach to the vehicle frame, bumper or truck pan.
- Class II – A step above a Class I rated hitch, Class II hitches are able to handle up to 3500 lbs gross trailer weight with a 300 lbs. Maximum TW. These hitches are usually attached to the bumper or vehicle frame and can be used to tow smaller boats and campers on the back of smaller vehicles and even minivans.
- Class III – Class III hitches attach only to the vehicle frame and are rated to carry up to 6000 lbs GTW with a 600 maximum trailer tongue weight capacity. Additionally, when Class III hitches are used for weight distributing (WD) they are rated up to 10,000 gross trailer weight with a 1000 lbs TW. Check with your hitch retailer in Tampa to find out if your hitch is rated to be both weight distributing and weight carrying (WC).
- Class IV – Just like Class III hitches, Class IV hitches can be both weight carrying and weight distributing hitches, but not all are rated for both. Class IV hitches are rated to carry up to 10,000 lbs GTW with a maximum trailer tongue weight at 1000 lbs. For weight distribution, Class IV hitches are rated up to 14,000 lbs GTW and 1400 lbs maximum trailer tongue weight.
- Class V – Built for horse trailers, utility trailers and larger accessories in general, Class V hitches are used to carry up to 12,000 lbs and more gross trailer weight and used for weight distributing up to 17,000 lbs with a maximum trailer tongue weight of 1200 to 1700 lbs, respectively. Using Class V hitches for weight distribution requires a weight distribution system.
Now that we’ve given a basic overview of the weight classes for hitches, let’s take a look at the most common types of hitches which are distributed from top brand leaders like Reese and B&W. If you have any other questions or aren’t sure what class hitch is the right Tampa hitch for you and your needs, call LINE-X of South Tampa today.
Types of Tampa Hitches
Receiver hitches are some of the most common types of Tampa hitches and can be purchased in any of the five classes as mentioned above. Receiver hitches are directly mounted to the vehicle’s frame and are classically designed as a simple square receiver tube. Receiver hitches can be simple for light hauling or designed for more heavy duty hauling up to 16,000 lbs, like this sturdy receiver Tampa hitch from B&W. Along with the various classes, the size of the receiver tube can go up or down depending on the class of the hitch. Usually, a higher class rating calls for a larger tube.
If you use your off-road vehicle to haul a variety of things, a bumper-mounted hitch may be the best choice for you as they allow for more flexibility than other types of hitches. However, bumper-mounted hitches are not recommended for hauling large loads and can only handle as much weight as your bumper can handle. Be sure to consult your owners manual and a trusted Tampa hitch dealer before purchasing a bumper-mounted hitch to ensure that your bumper can handle the weight.
Fifth Wheel Hitch
Rather than being mounted to the frame of your vehicle or the bumper, fifth wheel hitches are mounted into the bed of truck either above the rear axle or slightly forward. Fifth wheel hitches can only be used with pickup trucks and are constructed to pull large, heavy loads such as car haulers, trailers, campers, etc. Fifth wheel hitches are Class V hitches and can handle cargo from 16,000 lbs and higher like this heavy-duty fifth wheel hitch from Reese that can haul up to 30,000 lbs.
Gooseneck hitches are useful to have, as they are similar to fifth wheel hitches but allow the user to still have full access to the bed of their truck, where with a fifth wheel hitch you would not be able to use the full bed without first removing the hitch. Gooseneck hitches are usually rated class V and can hold upwards of 20,000 lbs. However, check with your truck’s weight capabilities before deciding on the right hitch for you. LINE-X of South Tampa can also help you choose the correct hitch for all your towing needs.
Front Mounted Hitches
Front mounted hitches are similar to receiver hitches, except that they are mounted to the front of the vehicle directly to the frame. Front mounted hitches can be used for various applications such as a snow plow, tire mounting, or even to insert a winch into the hitch. Again, like all other hitches be sure to check the class rating of the hitch and your vehicle to ensure everything goes smoothly when you’re hauling your precious cargo.