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7 Different Types of RV Hitches

A truck pulling RV using hitches.

On today’s roads, trailers are an exceedingly frequent sight, and the vast majority of the time, a trailer hitch is what’s used to drag them.

Towing may be the most popular use for trailer hitches, but this does not mean that there aren’t a variety of other uses for them, such as in the installation of bike racks, stairs, and baggage management systems.

Even while the back of the vast majority of heavy-duty vehicles already has a basic receiver hitch as standard equipment, there are still a great many additional kinds of hitches that may be fitted to a truck. 

There are several kinds of RV hitches that you can choose from to accommodate the majority of towing demands. Medium-duty trucks up to heavy-duty pickups (and even certain sport utility vehicles) are typically factory-built with a standard receiver hitch mounted on the back end of the vehicle.

The following is a list of the different types of RV hitches that are available:

1. Bumper Hitch

TOPTOW 63803 RV Bumper Hitch Receiver 2 inch Adapter Receiver Openning 3500 LBS Capacity Fits for 4 inch X 4 inch Square RV Rear Bumpers

This is the most commonly used RV hitch. It has a tow ball mount that connects itself directly to the receiver hitch at the back of the car, which is already attached to the vehicle.

This particular kind of ball mount is compatible with almost every truck, as well as bigger SUVs and occasionally even compact cars, which are often designed with a receiver hitch. This particular kind of ball mount is available in a wide variety of sizes and design options.

The receiver insert diameters may be anywhere from 1-1/4 inches up to 3 inches, which typically vary anywhere from 2,000 to 21, 000 pounds for their maximum towing capacity.

There is a wide variety of drop lengths available for bumper tow ball installations as well. There are several options available that you can choose from.

You may get a bumper tow ball mount that has no drop length, one with a little amount of drop length (2 inches drop), one with a significant amount of drop length or you can choose one that provides you some rise length.

Bumper tow ball mounts also come in different styles and have several unique features. For example, you can choose a ball mount RV hitch that can measure weight and provides you with a drop of 2 inches. You may also find other hitches that have height adjustment capabilities while others do not have such features.

2. Fifth Wheel Hitch

T Built 12"-17" Adjustable 5th Wheel RV to Gooseneck Adapter Hitch

This is an RV hitch that makes use of a kingpin mechanism to attach the towing load. It accomplishes this target by mounting in the truck bed either over the axles or somewhat in front of the axles.

The 5th wheel hitch is extremely different from other types of hitches since the connection mechanism is built into the hitch itself, rather than being a component of the trailer itself.

This RV hitch is often used to haul automobiles and pull huge travel trailers and car haulers. This kind of hitch is also used by semi-trucks. The fifth Wheel Hitch is constructed to pivot and absorb abrupt shocks that may occur when you are driving. 

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Additionally, it may extend the turning radius of your vehicle. Because the weight of the trailer is carried between the cab and the back axle, a regular ball hitch cannot compare to the carrying capacity of a 5th wheel hitch when it comes to carrying much larger loads.

Lubrication is necessary for this sort of hitch because the horseshoe-shaped plate that is attached to the hitch itself as well as the plate that is attached to the trailer are in continual touch with one another.

The only vehicles that can be equipped with fifth-wheel hitches are pickup trucks. Fifth-wheel hitches often have a pivot functionality, which gives them the capacity to absorb bumps as well as move along with the curves of the road.

This is the last advantageous quality of fifth wheel hitches. Even though these hitches can often support up to 24,000 pounds, you should still verify their capacity before using them.

3. Weight Distribution Hitch

ANDERSEN HITCHES | No-Sway Weight Distribution Hitch | 8" Drop, 2-5/16" Ball, 2" Shank (3,4,5,6" Bracket) | Universal Frame Brackets | 3380

This particular RV hitch operates in a manner that is strikingly similar to that of a wheelbarrow. Employing the spring arms (which function similarly to the handles of a wheelbarrow) to raise and leverage the back side of the vehicle being towed, and as a result, shifting the weight of the elevated load onto the other axles.

Once the weight has been spread over both axles, driving efficiency is boosted, stress on your truck is minimized, and you can get a smooth as well as level ride while also being able to utilize the capacity of your hitch.

Weight distribution RV hitches disperse and balance your load, but they do not enhance the overall weight your tow truck can take. This is crucial to know. The maximum amount of weight your tow vehicle and trailer can safely carry should never exceed the capacity of your vehicle’s lowest-rated component.

There are some similarities between a bumper tow ball mount and a weight-distribution hitch; nonetheless, the two have distinct advantages and functions. Because it may assist in leveling your trailer, restoring balance, as well as reducing trailer sway, this RV hitch is most often used on travel trailers.

When a trailer is being towed, a greater amount of weight is distributed over the back end of the vehicle that is doing the pulling.

When a weight-distribution hitch is attached to a load, it shifts the load’s tongue weight away from the back axle and redistributes it evenly over the other axles to restore the vehicle’s equilibrium.

4. Gooseneck Hitch

It is quite akin to a fifth-wheel RV hitch in that it installs in the bed of the vehicle right above or somewhat at the front of the rear axles. This is where a gooseneck hitch is located.

Towing cattle, vehicle haulers, huge flatbeds, and several other types of commercial and industrial trailers often require the use of this sort of RV hitch.

If you are towing a trailer with a gooseneck hitch, you will be able to turn considerably more tightly than you would be able to with a standard bumper hitch and trailer. This type of hitch also comes in two different types referred to as above-bed and under-bed hitches. 

Above-bed gooseneck hitch

CURT 61052 Over-Bed Folding Ball Gooseneck Hitch, 30,000 lbs, 2-5/16-Inch Ball , Black

This RV gooseneck hitch connects to the regular rails of your vehicle in the same way that a fifth-wheel hitch does. This makes it simple to put on or remove from your vehicle, which is a significant benefit if you exchange hitches often.

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Under-bed RV gooseneck hitch

Reese Elite 30137 Under-Bed Gooseneck Kit, Silver

This is perhaps the most common type of gooseneck hitch. This hitch is typically tailored to perfectly suit the bed of your vehicle and comes with rails that can be attached from the underside of the bed.

Some common types of under-bed gooseneck RV hitches that you may want to look at are the B&W gooseneck hitch and the OEM hitch.

Because it was developed and manufactured exclusively for your vehicle, the factory’s original equipment (OEM) gooseneck hitch may be installed without the need for any extra installation brackets. Plus it does not require any special tools. 

The B&W tow package is often marketed and fitted as an aftermarket under-bed gooseneck option; however, certain companies will sell a vehicle that has already been pre-set up with the tow package already installed.

5. Front Mount Hitch

CURT 31073 2-Inch Front Receiver Hitch, Select Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe, GMC Yukon

The front mount hitch is an accessory that, if added to the front of your car, has the potential to be of great utility. As it mounts directly to the frame, this sort of hitch is quite similar to a rear hitch. The only difference is that it is used in the front.

You will then have a receiver at the front of the vehicle, which the hitch will provide for you. This receiver may be used for a broad range of purposes. 

You may attach a spare tire on it, add a snow plow, mount a freight carrier on it, put a winch on it, use it as a mount for a snow plow, and then use it to place your trailer in a tight spot. These hitches, much the same as the rear hitch, have a wide range of applications.

It is important to keep in mind that the rating scale for the front is not anything like the rating scale for the back; thus, before using the hitch, you should always verify its rating.

6. Rear Receiver Hitch

Nilight - JK-61A 2" inch Rear Bumper Tow Trailer Hitch Receiver Kit, Compatible for 2007-2018 Jeep Wrangler JK 4 Door & 2 Door Unlimited, w/4-Pin Wiring Harness (Exclude JL Models)

By a wide margin, the most typical kind of truck hitch is known as the rear receiver hitch. You can use this kind of trailer hitch to pull a trailer behind your vehicle. The traditional rear receiver hitch consists of a square receiver tube into which a wide range of attachments and accessories may be placed.

The receiver is a straightforward square tube, which means the possibilities for applications are virtually limitless. When it comes to installation, these hitches attach to the frame of the car in the back, which is where they are located. 

The weight rating for these types of hitches is generally determined using a scale with five classes, with one being the lightest-duty and five representing the heaviest duty. The size of the receiver tube is another factor that changes the ratings of the different hitches.

There are three major dimensions for the receiver tubes, and are 1 1/4 inches x 1 1/4 inches, 2 inches x 2 inches, or 2 1/2 inches x 2 1/2 inches. In most cases, the size of the receiver tube matches the rating of the hitch that is being used.

Having said that, there are a few hitches that do not follow that completely, so it is never a bad idea to check it again.

7. Pintle Hitch

Heavy Duty Adjustable Pintle Mount for 2-Inch Hitch Receiver 15,000 lbs 3-Position Pintle Hook Mount, Black

Towing big loads, particularly through difficult terrain, is the primary application for a pintle hitch’s use. It is composed of the system for hooking up, which is referred to as the pintle, and it is fastened to the vehicle.

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The lunette, also known as the ring that the pintle attaches into, is affixed to the trailer in some fashion. In the fields of industry, agriculture, as well as the army, such hitches are often utilized when larger weight capabilities are necessary.

Pintle hitches, in comparison to the standard bumper tow ball mount, are capable of supporting a wider range of motion. Because of its range of motion, this type of RV hitch is an excellent choice for the unbalanced or extreme angles presented by difficult off-road terrain.

Towing might be a more jarring and noisy experience if you utilize this tow hitch since it allows for such a wide range of motion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Use an RV Hitch?

You have a wide variety of options to choose from when it comes to trailer hitches, and the one that is most suitable for your needs will be determined by the reasons why you need it.

Although a trailer hitch may be used for a variety of purposes, including the attachment of a bike rack, a mount for a spare tire, or a freight carrier, its primary function is to facilitate the process of towing.

If you want to choose the right sort of trailer hitch for your needs, you need to have a solid understanding of the many kinds of hitches that are on the market and the characteristics of each one.

How Can I Choose the Best RV Hitch?

When it comes to trailer hitches, there are numerous options available to choose from, and selecting the one that is most suitable for you will rely on the vehicle you will be towing with as well as the requirements you have for doing so.

You have the option of installing a hitch on the front bumper, the rear bumper, or the front frame of your vehicle if you do not intend to pull heavy-duty cargo.

You will need either a gooseneck hitch, a fifth-wheel hitch, or a pintle hitch if you want to use your pickup truck to pull a big travel trailer or a fifth-wheel trailer behind it.

If you have an RV and would like to pull a large object behind it, like your vehicle, you will have to go for the weight-distribution hitch. This will ensure that the total gross weight does not concentrate on a single spot, which might lead to issues when you are driving.

When Can I Use Bumper Trailer Hitch?

The bumper hitch is used mostly for less significant forms of towing. It can be quickly put on the back bumper of the car, and it includes a square receiver tube that may be used for anything else in the future.

This hitch may be fitted on a wide variety of vehicles, including various sedans, SUVs, and even some of the largest heavy-duty pickup trucks. Approximately 2,000 and 21,000 pounds of weight may be towed with the bumper hitch depending on how much weight you attach to it.

What is a Class I Trailer Hitch?

Because it is the lightest of the five different classes of trailer hitches, the Class I option is the one that is recommended for use with lighter weights, such as cargo carriers or kayaks. These kinds of hitches may be seen on passenger vehicles and smaller SUVs the majority of the time.