What Is a Trailer Ball?
The Trailer Ball is an essential towing accessory that provides a connection between the hitch on your vehicle and your trailer. The proper size of the trailer ball must match your truck’s coupler head.
To make this happen, you need to know the trailer ball’s four key measurements: diameter, shank length/diameter, rise and weight capacity.
The trailer ball is one of the key components in a hitch system. It connects the coupler of a trailer to the receiver tube of the tow vehicle and allows the coupler to pivot freely while traveling. It’s important to choose the correct size trailer ball so that both the coupler and the ball have a solid connection before you tow your trailer.
There are several important details to keep in mind when choosing the right trailer ball, including its diameter, shank length and shank rise. These factors will determine how well your trailer ball can grip the mounting platform.
A trailer hitch ball can be made from a variety of different materials, but it must be manufactured to high tolerances. For example, forged steel balls are the most robust and provide long-lasting performance. They also offer superior lubrication and are more corrosion-resistant than non-forged steel balls.
Hitch balls come in a wide range of sizes and weight ratings. The 1 7/8-inch and 2-inch hitch balls are commonly used for light-duty towing, while the 2 5/16-inch and 3-inch ball are mainly used for gooseneck towing in commercial trucks.
While these are the most common hitch ball sizes, it is still important to choose a hitch ball that fits your coupler and ball mount and the trailer’s maximum towing capacity. Most manufacturers label or stamp the appropriate size of hitch ball on the coupler for easy identification.
Once you have matched the correct trailer ball size to the coupler, it’s time to take a closer look at the shank of the hitch ball. The shank length is the length of the shaft that extends from the base of the ball to the end of the threaded stem.
It’s also important to check the diameter of the trailer ball hole since this is where the ball mount bolts into the tow vehicle. If the shank is too small, it will shift during towing and may come loose.
The correct trailer ball will match your towing needs, and it can be a challenge to find a hitch ball that meets all of your criteria. However, Trailer Ball with a little bit of research and the right information, you can make sure you have a strong, reliable and safe hitch ball to tow your trailer safely.
A trailer ball is an attachment that provides a connection between a tow vehicle and a trailer. Its specifications include a ball diameter, shank diameter and shank length, which can vary depending on the type of trailer you are towing.
The ball diameter should match the coupler size and should also be within the gross trailer weight capacity (GTWR) for safe towing. In general, lighter trailers use smaller hitch balls and heavier ones use larger ones.
Many manufacturers stamp or label the appropriate trailer ball size on the coupler handle, frame or tongue of their trailers. This is a helpful way to determine the right ball for your tow vehicle, but it is not enough.
In addition to the ball diameter and the shank diameter, the shank length and the rise are other important measurements when choosing a trailer ball. The shank length measures from the base of the ball to the end of the threads on the shank, and the rise is how much height the shank adds to the hitch connection.
Using these three key measurements, you can easily determine the proper trailer ball for your vehicle and trailer. Some of the most common sizes of trailer balls include 1-7/8, 2 and 2-1/2 inches.
The 1-7/8-inch ball is typically used on light-duty trailers, such as utility and teardrop campers, as well as fishing boat trailers. It has a ball capacity of up to 2,000 pounds.
Another common ball size is the 2-inch ball, which is rated to tow up to 12,000 pounds. It is a great choice for most towing applications.
Finally, the 3-inch ball is often used to tow gooseneck trailers. It is a heavy-duty ball that is rated to tow up to 30,000 pounds.
This trailer hitch ball fits directly into your trailer coupler and helps create a secure connection between your tow vehicle and your trailer when you are towing valuable cargo. It offers universally designed wrench flats that can be used with any standard ball mount, and fits into the X-Mount lockrail system, which functions as a built-in wrench to prevent hitch ball rotation during installation or removal. It includes a locking washer, mounting nut and wrench flats to ensure your tow vehicle and trailer are properly connected for safe towing.
A Trailer Ball is a crucial component of any towing set up. It allows the tow vehicle and the trailer to connect securely and levelly. This Trailer Ball is critical to safe towing and the longevity of the tire and brake systems.
To choose the right ball mount for your needs, consider three things: drop / rise, shank size and weight capacity. A ball mount should have the proper amount of ‘rise’ and ‘drop’, the correct shank size and be rated to support your gross trailer weight and tongue weight.
The rise of a trailer ball is the distance from the top of the shank to the top of the ball mount platform when the ball mount is oriented for higher coupler height. The rise of a ball mount is primarily used to compensate for the difference between your hitch height and your trailer coupler height.
Step 1 – Measurement A: With your tow vehicle and trailer parked on level ground, measure from the ground to the inside top of the hitch receiver opening. The measurement should be equal to or less than your trailer coupler height.
Often, the trailer coupler is stamped with its size somewhere on it. If not, you can use a tape measure or ruler to measure the inside of the opening.
Next, subtract the coupler height from your hitch height to determine the amount of ‘drop’ in your ball mount. For example, if your trailer coupler height is 15 inches and your hitch height is 12 inches, then your ball mount will need a 4-inch drop.
Now that you know the measurements of your trailer ball, you can begin looking for a reputable brand. Some of the best brands are Reese, Hidden Hitch, Tow Ready and Draw-tite.
Many ball mounts come ‘flipped’ to allow for the needed ‘rise’. These are a great option for those who need to tow multiple types of trailers. A ‘flip’ ball mount may have two or more different ball sizes on one shank, so that you can change between them without having to purchase an entirely new ball mount.
The weight of your Trailer Ball (hitch ball or hitch receiver tube) and the coupler is critical to safety and proper towing. Using a trailer ball that’s too light can lead to “fishtailing,” or swaying as the trailer moves down the highway, increasing gas consumption and possibly causing an accident.
Towing experts recommend a trailer ball weight that equals 7 to 12 percent of the weight of the loaded trailer, as well as the coupler. This means that a trailer with a gross weight of 2500 pounds should have a ball weight between 150 and 375 pounds.
Hitch balls come in a variety of sizes, weight ratings and shank diameters to meet the needs of different vehicles and trailers. Whether you’re pulling a small travel trailer or a large camper van, selecting a trailer ball that fits your coupler and ball mount is critical to a safe tow.
In general, the correct trailer ball size matches the coupler opening, which is typically stamped on the tongue of a trailer or measured with a tape measure or ruler. If the ball is too small, the coupler may not fit properly, causing the hitch shank to slip out of place.
Another important factor is the trailer’s tow rating, which is usually a number found on the VIN label of the trailer. This number is a manufacturer’s limit on how much weight the trailer can safely carry without putting the tow vehicle at risk of damage.
If your trailer is over the tow rating, you should check with the vehicle manufacturer before you hit the road. If your trailer is below the tow rating, you can still haul it but should use a lighter tow bar or hitch.
Measuring trailer tongue weight can be tricky, so it’s best to hire a professional. A reputable auto shop should have dedicated tow ball weight scales that are used to accurately determine your trailer’s tongue weight.
If you’re unable to get a hold of a professional, you can measure your trailer’s tongue weight with a few household scales and a block of wood. This method can be done in a few ways, but the basic process is to lay one piece of pipe long way on the bathroom scale and another piece of pipe long way on the brick/paver. Then rest the tongue of your trailer on the block of wood, and make sure that both pieces are centered over the same line.