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Will Ball Hitch Size Affect My Towing Capabilities?

Your tow vehicle’s ball hitch size isn’t important. Right?

You’ve spent a month researching trucks to tow your new trailer. You know the trailer’s GVWR and length, plus the towing capacity and the features your new truck needs to tow safely. You’d think you’re ready to buy.

But if you don’t also pay attention to choosing the correct ball hitch size, you’ve probably wasted a month.

The right ball hitch size is just as essential as selecting the right tow vehicle.

Let’s look at why this is so important!

What Is A Ball Hitch? 

A ball hitch is sometimes called a ball mount. It’s a receiver hitch accessory that you attach to a vehicle to tow a trailer. A ball hitch is necessary if pulling anything from a 35-foot travel trailer to a flatbed utility trailer.

A trailer hitch is bolted to the underneath of the tow vehicle. The hitch has a square-shaped opening where the shank of the ball hitch is inserted. This provides a sturdy and safe mounting point for the trailer ball.

What Is Standard Ball Hitch Size? 

A trailer ball is measured by its diameter. The standard ball hitch sizes in inches are 1-7/8, 2, 2-5/16, and 3. But the most common size is the 2-inch ball hitch.

A few things you need to choose the correct size ball hitch include your coupler size, trailer ball hole diameter, and your towing capacity.

The ball diameter has to correspond with your coupler size. Most manufacturers will stamp the correct size on the coupler. The trailer ball will screw into the mount on the shank. So match the trailer ball with the proper shank diameter.

Finally, the towing load you’re pulling will also determine which ball hitch size you need because they’re rated for light towing up to gooseneck towing. This will be listed as the ball capacity. Make sure it’s greater than the gross weight of the trailer.

Why the Right Ball Hitch Size is Essential When Towing? 

Ensuring that the ball hitch fits the coupler and shank diameter is extremely important for safe towing. There will be movement when pulling if the ball hitch doesn’t fit solidly into the coupler. Clearly, this is unsafe. The connection should be tight and firm.

Second, if the trailer ball shank is too small, it will shift while towing. This means it could potentially come loose, which could be disastrous when towing.

Finally, if you don’t choose the right ball hitch size and try to tow something over the ball capacity, the hitch could break. This is serious. The ball hitch must be rated to tow over the trailer’s weight to ensure safe travel.

How Much Weight Can A 2 Inch Ball Pull?

The 2-inch trailer ball is the most common size because it fits most class 3 hitches, which are the most common. When towing a travel trailer, the 2 or 2-5/16 trailer ball size is the most common because of the average weight of most travel trailers.

A 2-inch trailer ball has a weight capacity range of 3,000-12,000 pounds. While a 2-5/16-inch trailer ball is rated to pull between 6,000-30,000 pounds. This is the gross trailer weight (GTW) and not the tongue weight.

Weight capacities vary by part number, so make sure to verify specifications before purchasing a trailer ball. For example, a class 3 TowSmart 2-inch trailer hitch ball can tow up to 5,000 pounds. However, the same brand’s class 4 2-inch trailer hitch ball is rated to tow 10,000 pounds.

Make sure to look at the shank length and shank diameter, plus the GTW, when choosing the correct ball hitch.

How Do I Know What Size Ball I Need For My Trailer? 

As already mentioned, the coupler should have the ball hitch size stamped on it. This lets you know what size ball hitch will fit. Then once you know which size will fit your coupler, you need to check the gross weight of your trailer.

If you’re towing a 10,000-pound travel trailer, then your ball capacity should be 10,000 pounds or more. The shank length and diameter will affect the ball capacity. So when you go shopping for a ball hitch, you know to look for a particular size and then find the correct ball capacity capable of towing your trailer safely.

How Do You Measure A Ball Hitch?

There are four measurements when determining trailer ball size. One is the diameter of the sphere itself. The 1-7/8, 2, 2-5/16, and 3-inch sizes mentioned earlier reflect this measurement. Then the shank length and shank diameter refer to the threaded stem that screws into the mount. The higher the shank length and diameter, the higher the ball capacity, even with the same ball size.

Is Having The Right Ball Hitch Size Essential?

Having the correct ball hitch size is essential to safe towing. When deciding which truck is best to tow your 10,000-pound travel trailer, you pay attention to towing capacity, torque, engine, and other factors. You want to choose a truck that will have the power to transport your RV safely in all weather conditions and all road conditions.

You should be just as careful when selecting the right ball hitch size. It’s just one more part of your towing setup that affects your toad and trailer’s overall performance and safety. If you pick the best and safest truck option but choose just any ball hitch, you wasted your time and money. You need to have both to tow a trailer safely.

So do your homework. Don’t just grab a ball hitch off the shelf. Know what you need, then go enjoy your adventures. You’re ready for the road!

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