There are basically 3 kinds of hitch which are available, the ball hitch, the 5th wheel hitch and the pintle hook. Each of these depend on the terrain and the load requirements and are utilized in different applications. Let’s take a look at them for their uses.
The most common hitch is the kind used to pull boat, RV, and utility trailers, that require a ball of a particular diameter to securely make the connection. These balls come in different sizes measured in inches that range from 1 1/4″ to 2 5/16″, with shank sizes of 3/4″ to 1 1/4″. The right size is usually stamped into the metal tongue of the trailer to be towed.
The 5th wheel hitch has been made a lot more popular by RVs which are fashioned after horse and livestock trailers. The front of these trailers hangs over into the back of a pickup truck bed, where the king pin plate is installed. Eighteen wheelers use the kingpin connection, but most RV trailers make use of the same type of ball as the utility trailers. The purpose for a 5th wheel is the ‘goose necked’ placement of the load over the drive train offers greater stability when traveling.
Pintle hook hitches can be found in use on trailers which are small enough for a pickup truck to pull, but the most used application of this hitch is in agriculture and heavy road construction. Because of the uneven terrain, any other type of hitch causes binding that could result in turning the towed trailer over. A pintle hook has a single spring clamp that secures inside a hook that is installed to the trailer tongue and offers quick connect and release.
Choosing the correct hitch for your towing needs depends on the type of trailer, the type of towing vehicle and the load rating of each. There may even be state, local and federal requirements which apply to each kind and what the intent of destination may be. Commercial haulers will require a license and possibly a special permit to use some types of trailer hitch.