Sunday, January 4, 2009

Tow Systems, Hitches & Wiring










So you have a customer looking for a trailer tow system?

The first question is always, what is the hitch going on and how much weight do you intend on towing?

There are several classes of hitches, Class 1 through Class 5. Each one has a weight rating. Class 1 is up to 1500 lbs and Class 5 is up to 15,000 lbs with trailer and vehicle equipped properly.

All hitches have a tow weight which is the maximum pull strength for the hitch and tongue weight which is the downward weight and the capacity can increase with weight distribution systems or, as they are commonly called, equalizer bars.

Not only is the hitch limited to certain weights, all the accessories are also limited to weight.

The three components that make up the towing system are the hitch, the ball mount and the ball. Each of these items has a weight limit. So, let’s say that your hitch has a 6,000 lb rating, your ball mount has a 5,000 lb rating and your ball is rated at 6,000 lbs. The weak point is the ball mount at 5,000 lbs. This is a common problem. It is always important to make sure you explain and choose the correct parts for towing trailers with all accessories having a compatible weight rating.

Wiring. There are numerous trailer wire plugs, such as the 4-way flat, 4-way round, 6-way and 7-way. The type of plug usually determines the trailer and what electrical items are on the trailer. Your standard trailer plug (4-way) operates all running lights, brake lights and turn signals. The 6 and 7-way usually operate trailer brake systems, battery charge lines and back up lights. Most new trucks and SUV’s come with factory harnesses in place so the installer just duplicates the system to best serve the customer needs.

There is a lot to know about trailer towing. I have 25 years experience at it and still learn new things all the time.

The bottom line is when looking for someone to install towing systems, choose a qualified shop that is familiar with all facets of hitches and wiring and is familiar with the ever-changing new models that are constantly being introduced. Call me at 707-447-9905 and I'll be happy to answer all your questions!