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Trailer Hitch Classes

Trailer Hitch Classes"Last time we talked about the many different types of hitches. This week we will cover the various ratings for hitches and what they mean."

 

There are five classes of Hitches for towing trailers. Each class is designed for a specific trailer weight range. The information below is a meant to be a guide to point you in the right direction when choosing a new hitch. You should always consult your vehicles manual and talk to a professional when deciding which hitch is right for you.

When selecting the appropriate hitch make sure the weight rating of the hitch is greater than the loaded weight of the trailer that will be towed. The tow vehicle capacity for weight carrying and hitch attachment will vary and will sometimes dictate the class of hitch that can be used.

 

Class 1 Hitches

Add cargo space to your car with a class 1 hitch. They're perfect for attaching a hitch-mounted bike rack or cargo carrier for that next big weekend getaway. A class 1 trailer hitch may also be used to tow certain lightweight trailers, depending on the vehicle.

  • Class 1 hitches are weight carrying (WC) hitches rated up to 2000 lbs. gross trailer weight (GTW) with a maximum trailer tongue weight (TW) of 200 lbs.
  • A Class 1 hitch usually has a 1-1/4" square receiver opening.
  • A higher-class drawbar does not increase the towing capacity of the hitch.
  • Class 1 hitches usually attach to the bumper, truck pan or vehicle frame.

 

Class 2 Hitches

A class 2 hitch allows you to add cargo space to your vehicle, using a hitch cargo carrier or hitch bike rack. For many cars, minivans and crossovers, a class 2 trailer hitch is also excellent for towing small, lightweight trailers, depending on the vehicle.

  • Class 2 hitches are weight carrying (WC) hitches rated up to 3500 lbs. gross trailer weight (GTW) with a maximum trailer tongue weight (TW) of 300 lbs.
  • A Class 2 hitch usually has a 1-1/4" square receiver opening.
  • A higher class drawbar does not increase the towing capacity of the hitch.
  • Class 2 hitches usually attach to the bumper or vehicle frame.

 

Class 3 Hitches

Reliable, versatile and made for a custom fit, a class 3 hitch is capable of towing many types of trailers. Class 3 hitches are available for a wide variety of vehicles, including trucks, Jeeps, SUVs and more.

  • Class 3 hitches are weight carrying (WC) and also are weight distributing (WD) depending on the vehicle and hitch specifications.
  • Not all Class 3 hitches are rated to be both. See the specific hitch for that information.
  • Class 3 hitches used as weight carrying are rated up to 6000 lbs. gross trailer weight (GTW) with a maximum trailer tongue weight (TW) of 600 lbs.
  • Class 3 hitches used for weight distributing are rated up to 10,000 lbs. gross trailer weight (GTW) with a maximum trailer tongue weight (TW) of 1000 lbs.
  • A Class 3 hitch usually has a 2" square receiver opening.
  • A higher class drawbar does not increase the towing capacity of the hitch. To use this class of hitch for weight distribution requires a weight distribution system.
  • Class 3 hitches attach to the vehicle frame only.

 

Class 4 Hitches

Built for serious towing, a class 4 trailer hitch can handle almost any non-commercial job, including large boat trailers, utility trailers and full-size campers. A class 4 hitch can also be used with a weight distribution system for added stability and strength.

  • Class 4 hitches are weight carrying (WC) and weight distributing (WD) hitches depending on the vehicle and hitch specifications.
  • Not all Class 4 hitches are rated to be both. See the specific hitch for that information.
  • Class 4 hitches used as weight carrying are rated up to 10,000 lbs. gross trailer weight (GTW) with a maximum trailer tongue weight (TW) of 1000 lbs.
  • Class 4 hitches used for weight distributing are rated up to 14,000 lbs. gross trailer weight (GTW) with a maximum trailer tongue weight (TW) of 1400 lbs.
  • A Class 4 hitch usually has a 2" square receiver opening.
  • A higher class drawbar does not increase the towing capacity of the hitch. To use this class of hitch for weight distribution requires a weight distribution system.
  • Class 4 hitches attach to the vehicle frame only.

 

Class 5 Hitches

Xtra Duty hitches are manufactured and tested for big jobs and big adventures. Each class 5 trailer hitch is made for a vehicle-specific fit and can typically be used for towing full-size campers, large boat trailers, flatbed utility trailers, livestock trailers and more.

  • Class 5 hitches are weight carrying (WC) and weight distributing (WD) hitches depending on the vehicle and hitch specifications.
  • Class 5 hitches used as weight carrying are rated up to 12,000 lbs. gross trailer weight (GTW) with a maximum trailer tongue weight (TW) of 1200 lbs.
  • Class 5 hitches used for weight distributing are rated up to 17,000 lbs. gross trailer weight (GTW) with a maximum trailer tongue weight (TW) of 1700 lbs.
  • Your ball mount and hitch ball need to both be rated for Class 5 to safely tow these weight loads. To use this class of hitch for weight distribution requires a weight distribution system.
  • A Class 5 hitch has a 2-1/2" square receiver opening.
  • Class 5 hitches attach to the vehicle frame only.

 

Experts You can Trust

The experts at USA Trailer Sales carry a huge selection of hitches, trailers and accessories. We are always here to help you negotiate the many options and possible customizations available when buying your trailer. Please contact us with any questions you may have or stop by one of our six Michigan locations to speak with a local trailer expert today.