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Class 1 Hitch

Class 1 Hitch

Class 2 Hitch

Class 2 Hitch

Class 3 Hitch

Class 3 Hitch

Weight Distribution Hitch

Weight Distribution Hitch

Towing Starter Kit

Towing Starter Kit

Hitch Locks

Hitch Locks

Hitch Balls

Hitch Balls

Hitch Step

Hitch Step

Trailer Hitch Houston

What does class 1, 2 and 3 hitch mean and more importantly what does it mean for my truck or vehicle.  With the information about to be presented below we will go through them all and explain the differences.  Some are subtle while others may seem more apparent. Either way we will explain it to you.

The two main items that determine what type of hitch you need are:

  1. Capacity of the hitch
  2. Trailer weight

To help you determine what you need, we’ve written some information below on each class of hitches. If you’d rather not do the reading, you can always give us a call and we can match up the perfect hitch combination for your truck or vehicle and towing needs.

Class 1 Hitches

Class 1 hitches specifications can normally be found on the sticker that is placed by the manufacturer on the hitch to determine it’s rating.  

  • Max gross trailer weight – 2,000lbs
  • Max gross tongue weight – 200lbs

Typically, Class 1 hitches are good for trailers up to 2,000lbs.  That means if your trailer weights 500lbs by itself you have 1,500lbs of capacity you can put in it and still remain safe for towing.

They also have a max gross tongue of 200lbs which is the actual weight of the force pushing down on the ball itself vertically.  If you take notice, 200lbs is about 10% of the total trailer weight or 2,000lbs.

Let’s now go over some important details about the receiver tube on a Class 1 receiver hitch.  You may not know this but there are some things that make them special

  1. The first one is aesthetics.  All the major hitch manufactures will build the receivers all in the same way.  Just plain steel with nothing around it.  It actually looks pretty bare and you can tell straight away by just glancing at it.
  2. The second is for safety reasons.  If you look to the side of the receiver tube past the hole of the pin, you will see an indention or punch.  This area forces the steel to go inside the receiver tube to prevent you from using a ball mount from class 2 receiver hitch on your class 1 hitch.  You never want to install a higher capacity draw bar on a lower capacity hitch.  So the indention or punch prevents this from happening.  If you actually test this, you will find that the hole of the pin will not line up, thus preventing you from securing the draw bar.

Class 1 hitch are more commonly use for smaller vehicles or compact ones where not much trailer weight or capacity is needed.

Class 2 Hitches

Class 2 hitches specifications can also normally be found on the sticker that is placed by the manufacturer on the hitch to determine it’s rating.  

  • Max gross trailer weight – 3,500lbs
  • Max gross tongue weight – 300lbs

Typically, Class 2 hitches are good for trailers up to 3,500lbs.  That means if your trailer weights 500lbs by itself you have 3,000lbs of capacity you can put in it and still remain safe for towing.

They also have a max gross tongue of 300lbs which is the actual weight of the force pushing down on the ball itself vertically.  If you take notice, 300lbs is little under 10% of the total trailer weight or 3,500lbs.

You may also find a section on the hitch manufacturer sticker stating weight distributing.  For Class 2 hitches this really doesn’t apply. We will cover that in the next section of Class 3 hitches.

Let’s now go over some details about the receiver tube on a Class 2 receiver hitch.  

  1. The first one is the ring.  At first glance you may not see much difference but all Class 2 hitch have a ring around the receiver hitch.
  2. The second is the steel.  The steel for a Class 2 hitch will be a little thicker, but the dimensions will be the same as a Class 1 or 1 1/4″ for the receiver tube.

The over design of the Class 2 hitches are different in that they are often designed to fit specific vehicles.  The are made for a variety of full size and mid size cars or sedans.  And also mid sizes SUVs.  You will not have find them on full size SUVs and full size trucks.  For the full size SUVs and truck they will be fitted with a Class 3 hitch.

Now some mid size SUVs may have a 2″ receiver; however, they will not be rated above Class 2 specifications.  This is done to allow them to use a lot of the various hitch accessories available in the market today to help in towing.

Class 3 Hitches

Class 3 hitches specifications can be found on the sticker that is placed by the manufacturer on the hitch to determine it’s rating.  

  • Max gross trailer weight – 5,000lbs
  • Max gross tongue weight – 500lbs

Typically, Class 3 hitches are good for trailers up to 5,000lbs.  That means if your trailer weights 500lbs by itself you have 4,500lbs of capacity you can put in it and still remain safe for towing.

They also have a max gross tongue of 500lbs which is the actual weight of the force pushing down on the ball itself vertically.  If you take notice, 500lbs is again 10% of the total trailer weight or 5,000lbs.

One thing different with Class 3 hitches is weight distribution now comes into play. The ratings can be found on the sticker.

  • Weight Distribution max gross trailer weight – 6,000lbs
  • Weight Distribution max gross tongue weight – 600lbs

Using a weight distribution device will help distribute the weight between the truck and trailer by increasing the tongue weight.  Which increased the weight the hitch can handle.  

The weight distribution figures above will change depending on the truck or vehicle.  It can be 7,000lbs on up to 10,000lbs. 

Let’s now go over the details about the receiver tube on a Class 3 receiver hitch.  

  1. All Class 3 hitches have a traditional 2″ receiver tube and will be made of thicker steel.
  2. The second is you will see differences in the cross section.  Some will be round tube or square tube.  Up to a certain capacity, the round tube may be slightly weaker in structure over the square tube but in depends on the towing application.  Most hitch manufacturers will go up to 10,000lbs for round tube hitches, anything over that you will find the square tube cross section.

Once you get into the Class 3 hitch, you will find them available for the majority of all full size trucks and SUVs.  Class 3 hitches will suit all your towing needs until you need to step up into Gooseneck or Fifth Wheel hitch applications provided you have the vehicle.

How Much Can Your Vehicle Tow?

No matter what hitch you decide to get, you will want to check the capacity of your vehicle for towing. The engines and transmission combination will determine how much capacity you can safely tow.

You may also want to consult your owners manual to find towing limitations.  If you don’t have your owners manual you can also visit your dealer, provide them with your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and they can look up the information.

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