Tom's Trailer TalkQUICK TIP

BUMPER PULL HITCHES - Frame mounted hitches have weight ratings.Tow vehicles have towing capacities. They are not related. Not identifying hitch ratings may cause your hitch to fail. Here’s what you need to know:
  • Ball Mount and BallThere are two ratings on all frame mounted hitches: weight carrying and weight distribution.
  • Weight Carrying Ratings apply when using a ball and ball mount. It states the tow rating and tongue rating.
  • Weight Distribution ratings apply when using a Weight Distribution System (often mistakenly called sway bars). It states the tow rating and the tongue rating.
  • Attach the breakaway brake cord to the frame mounted hitch – never attach to the ball or safety chains.
  • The ratings are listed on a sticker located on the hitch.
  • A tow vehicle rated to tow 8000 lbs. May likely have a 5000 lb. Weight Carrying Hitch. Use a Weight Distribution System and the rating will most likely be 10000 lbs.
  • A loaded two horse dressing room bumper may weigh up to 6500 lbs. – 1500 lbs. over the Weight Carrying Rating. The hitch will eventually fail. Options: replace the hitch or use a Weight Distribution System.
  • Weight Distribution
  • A weight distribution system does not reduce sway. The primary purpose is to lighten/distribute the tongue weight to eliminate the front of the tow vehicle from raising. The longer and heavier the tow vehicle the less likely this will happen. Using a weight distribution system increases the hitch rating.
  • Never use a ball mounted on a bumper.
  • Always attach safety chains to frame mounted hitch. Cross them.
  • All hitches have break-away brake system operated by a battery. Keep battery charged. Attach break-away cord to hitch, not to ball mount.
  • Trailer Must Be Level
  • Raise jack and/or remove jack foot before towing.
  • Ensure ball mount and/or weight distribution system is secured by a pin inserted into the hitch.
  • Check ball mount nut that fastens ball to ball mount.
  • The trailer has to be level. If not, change Weight Carrying hitch or adjust Weight Distribution ball mount or adjust coupler, if adjustable.
Tom's Trailer Talk "Quick Tips" are provided by EquiSpirit Trailer Co.
Join Our Mailing List


Get The Complete Guide
The Complete Guide to Buying, Maintaining, and Servicing a Horse Trailer
Explore All Our Models
Trailer Models