Lately we’ve been taking a look at the terminology of towing, and that spurred some questions about the different hitch classes available. Last week we started to explain the different towing hitch classes, so make sure you read that article before you read this one!
Now, for those of you who won’t go back and read the previous article (I know you’re out there!), here is a brief review of the classes:
- Class I Hitch
Trailer hitch with a capacity up to 2,000 pounds gross trailer weight, with up to 200 pounds of tongue weight.
- Class II Hitch
Trailer hitch with a capacity up to 3,500 pounds gross trailer weight, with 300 to 350 pounds of tongue weight.
- Class III Hitch
Trailer hitch with a capacity up to 5,000 pounds gross trailer weight with 500 pounds of tongue weight.
- Class IV Hitch
Trailer hitch with a capacity up to 10,000 pounds gross trailer weight, with 1,000 to 1,200 pounds tongue weight.
And here are the terms you’ll need to know:
- Gross trailer weight (GTW) is the weight of a fully loaded trailer.
- Tongue weight (TW) is the downward force on the hitch ball created by the tongue.
- Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is the maximum weight of a vehicle when fully loaded.
- Gross combination weight rating (GCWR) is the weight of the loaded tow vehicle and trailer.
Everyone brushed up on their homework and ready to proceed? Good, let’s get started. Last week we discussed Class 1 and 2 hitches, so this week we’re finishing with 3 and 4.
Class 3 Towing Hitches
When you start to talk about Class 3 hitches, you can officially start using the term “heavy-duty.” Class 3 hitches are designed mostly for SUVs and pickup trucks. Smaller cars with smaller engines just don’t have the horse power needed to tow what Class 3 hitches are designed to tow. This includes items like medium-sized trailers and campers, fishing boats and animal carriers such as horse and cow carriers.
Class 4 Towing Hitches
Class 4 trailer hitches are not for the faint of heart. These hitches are almost exclusively used on large trucks, and they’re designed to tow the biggest things on the road. When a large RV breaks down, it’s a Class 4 hitch that tows it back to the mechanic. Small planes at airports are towed around the runway from hanger to hanger on Class 4 hitches. Unless you’re a professional tower, this is probably the biggest trailer hitch you’ll ever need. Frankly, if you find yourself needing a Class 5 hitch, it’s time to call a professional.
Starting out with the right equipment is always the way to go. With these articles, you have all the information you need to determine which equipment is right for the job you’re trying to accomplish. Make sure to check back next week for even more information!
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