We’ve all seen vehicles with a ball-shaped hitch on the back that is mounted on the bumper. They are used for towing. Most trucks have them. They are handy and do a great job of pulling small trailers that contain fairly light loads. But there are limits to what you can tow with this type of hitch.
These limits are due to a couple of factors. Structural considerations of the trailer are one reason. Every trailer has a weight limit that must be followed to pull it safely. The next reason is that when you are pulling a trailer behind a truck with the ball-shaped hitch it changes the center of gravity on your assembly. It will shift it farther back. Possibly even behind the rear axle of your vehicle.
For a bigger and heavier load, you’ll need to have a different type of hitch on your vehicle. There are a couple of options that may work for you. As with anything else, they have some different pros and cons so you’ll want to do a little bit of research before choosing the best choice for you. In the majority of cases, people will use either a fifth-wheel or gooseneck attachment to handle a bigger and heavier load — instead of the ball-shaped hitch.
In addition, you can use a gooseneck adapter to set up a vehicle with a fifth-wheel mount to tow something different. And you can do it without having to sacrifice the benefits that you have compared to using a ball-style hitch.
The Right Hitch For The Right Load
If you have a hitch mounted on your bumper, there is a lot you can do with it. And it is pretty easy to use. If you don’t have one yet, the good news is that they are also not going to cost you an arm and a leg. That is why they are very popular for truck owners.
On the other side of the coin, however, is the fact that you do face some limitations. The things that you’ll have to be careful with involve the weight and size of the trailer you want to tow.
This is where a gooseneck adapter comes into play. With one of these adapters, you can add a little versatility to your vehicle when it comes to towing. This happens in two main areas.
When you need to pull a load of a couple of tons, your bumper-mounted hitch is probably well-equipped for it. But if you need something to handle a bigger and heavier load then a fifth-wheel or gooseneck hitch is what you need. And a gooseneck adapter will allow you to convert your towing setup from fifth-wheel to gooseneck with the ability to tow 20,000 pounds!
Stability is a big deal when you’ve got something attached to the back of your vehicle. This is where the convenience of a bumper-mounted hitch pales in comparison to the safety that comes with a more stable towing setup. Here’s the big difference. When you hook your trailer to the bumper of your vehicle, the weight of that load pushes down on the back of the vehicle. This can essentially lever the vehicle up from the rear axle forward. You don’t want that. Especially if there is a lot of weight in the load.
With a hitch that will mount in front of that axle, your towing becomes much more stable and the weight is distributed much more evenly. Not only is this safer, but it works more efficiently too.
The Best Way To Tow
Using a gooseneck trailer is feasible for nearly any truck. And you don’t have to make any major changes or upgrades. What you do need is a gooseneck adapter that will allow for the adjustments to be made. Take a look at the adapters that T Built offers. Pick the best one to fit your needs. And start towing!
Now that you’ve got the info you need about your the right hitch and adapter to use, what else should you know about towing? This article offers several tips that will make your towing time much easier. Here’s a quick sample of some of these tips.
- Anticipation — Driving errors are the top cause of accidents while towing. The causes are the same that you would expect — driving too fast, following too closely, and just not paying attention as you should. Remember, it takes longer to slow down or speed up so you’ll have to be looking ahead even farther than you normally would.
- Plan your parking — Parking is an underrated part of the towing process. It can be a challenge. If possible, make a plan of where you are going to part your trailer before you leave. This can prevent some major frustrations when you arrive. If you don’t have a parking spot in mind, it can take more time than you want to spend to find a suitable space that you can get to safely.
- Practice — You may be confident in your driving skills. And that’s a good thing. But if you are a little too confident, that’s when you can get into trouble. Before heading into areas with a lot of traffic, don’t be too proud to sharpen your skills with a little practice session on some back roads.
- Turning — With a trailer in tow, be sure to take wider turns. You are driving something that is about two times its normal length. Take a normal turn and you will be all over the curbs, sidewalks, and whatever else is on the side of the road.
- Distance — When you have so much additional weight behind you, it will take longer to slow down. So you need to keep a bigger distance between yourself and other vehicles on the road than you normally would. This can be difficult to remember if you aren’t giving the road your fullest attention at all times.