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  • Difference between Trailer Hitch and Trailer Ball

    Q : Trailer Hitch and Trailer Ball

    A : Many different terms are used to describe a trailer hitch: hitch, ball, tie rod, receiver, coupling bracket.  Actually a trailer hitch is the part attached permanently under the vehicle in which the receiver tube is inserted.

    A hitch ball commonly known as "ball or trailer ball" is the component attaches to the receiver tube and provides a point of anchorage for the trailer.

    The hitch ball first of all allows the trailer to connect with the vehicle and also lets the trailer pivot providing safe and smooth turns while towing.

    The standard ball size on most utility trailers is a 2" diameter.  There is three diameter ball sizes: 1-7/8", 2" and 2-5/16". Hitch balls are sold with different shaft lengths, diameters and capacities to meet your towing needs.

    In general a 1-7/8'' diameter trailer ball is primarily used on small trailers and has a weight capacity of 2,000 lbs.  A 2'' diameter trailer ball is used on medium size trailers and has a weight capacity up to 8,000 lbs.  Finally 2-5/16'' trailer ball is used for Heavy Duty type trailers with a weight capacity up to 30,000 lbs.

  • Payload Capacity

    Q : What is a trailer Payload Capacity ?

    A : A trailer payload is the maximum amount of weight that you can load in or on a trailer without exceeding the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). The payload is calculated by subtracting the curb weight of the trailer from the GVWR.

    For example, for a trailer with a GVWR of 6000 lbs and a curb weight of 1460 lbs when subtracted, you get a payload of 4540 lbs.

    Your payload weight should NEVER exceed the payload capacity of the trailer. Don't forget that the payload capacity lowers as you add any additional equipment; the more weight you add to the trailer, the lower will be the payload capacity.

    Another way of assessing whether a trailer can carry the load you need, is to look at the total weight of the trailer with everything in or on it; this is called the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) and should not exceed the GVW Rating (GVWR).


    If the GVW is greater than GVWR, then your trailer is OVERLOAD !
    Overloading can seriously damage your trailer and vehicle and is dangerous for the driver and passengers.

  • GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating)

    Q : What does a trailer GVWR stand for ?

    A : The GVWR is the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. This is the maximum allowable weight of the trailer and Cargo combined as specified in the road safety act.  It includes the maximum load of goods (towing capacity) and the maximum weight of any optional equipment on the trailer.

    This maximum allowed weight is determined by the manufacturer, among other characteristics presented in the registration of the trailer to the competent authorities.  It is needed to obtain authorization for the trailer to travel on the roads of the considered country.

    The road safety act generally provides special regulation for the different categories of GVWR, in particular the type of license required for the drivers of such vehicles.

  • Safe Hauling – Trailer tongue weight

    Q : Safe Hauling – The importance of trailer tongue weight

    A : Towing a trailer is not a small responsibility and should be undertaken with great care and an eye toward safety.  An accident with a trailer can have great consequences.  Whether you are towing, a light boat or camping trailer behind your vehicle or a cargo trailer to haul a race car or move personal belongings, balancing the load and preparing the trailer are critical to safe handling.

    That said, the tongue weight of a trailer is the downward force exerted on the hitch ball by the trailer coupler.  The tow vehicle and hitch must be capable of safely handling at least 15% of the Gross Weight of the trailer (GVW) for a single axle trailer (total weight of trailer plus contents).

    Type of Trailer % of weight of tongue
    Single Axle 10% minimum / 15% maximum
    Tandem Axle 9% to 15%
    5th Wheel 15% to 25%


    One of the most critical aspects of safely hauling a trailer is to know the weights involved and where they are placed. The first thing to determine is how much weight will be towed, and confirm that it is within the capacities the trailer can carry. Determining WHERE that load is placed is critical to the way your trailer will handle on the road.

    To tow safely, the tongue weight must be balanced correctly when the trailer is empty or when fully loaded. Check the height of the tow vehicle's bumper before and after loading. If the loaded trailer doesn't drop the height of the bumper by at least another inch (2,5 cm), then reposition your load with more weight in the front of the trailer.

    If your load is NOT placed correctly, when you will hit the brakes, the trailer will dive lifting the front end even more, and you will lose most of your braking and steering at the same time. Several types of weight redistribution hitches are available that can dramatically help your handling by spreading the forces to both axles, but they cannot compensate for inadequate towing capacity or overloading.

    No matter how you end up determining your weight and balance, we hope however, this makes you aware of its importance and influence when you are hauling a trailer.