FAQ’s Answered About Trailer HitchesSeptember 8, 2022 by Kyle McFarlane
Quality trailer service and repair start with knowing the right questions to ask. McFarlane Trailer Sales receives questions about trailer hitches often, so let us help you with some answers to common questions about them.
What Size Ballmount Do I Need for My Trailer Hitch?
This will depend on the overall weight rating of your trailer. Trailer hitches are tested and rated for specific ball mount sizes. The receiver size will be anywhere from 1 1/4″ to 3″ within the five classes of weight ratings. The heavier the weight rating, the larger the ball mount. The weights are then broken down into the following categories:
- Class I: 2,000 lbs
- Class II: 3,500 lbs
- Class III: 6,000 lbs
- Class IV: 12,000 lbs
- Class V: 14,000 lbs
What Is a Brake Control?
Electric brake control takes power from the tow vehicle and supplies it to the trailer’s brakes. A small control box is installed underneath the driver’s side dashboard. When the driver depresses the brake pedal for the tow vehicle, the electronic box sends an electrical current to the trailer brakes.
Proportional Brake Controls
Proportional or inertia brake controls get a read on how quickly the tow vehicle is stopping and send the same amount of force to the trailer brakes. A brake pedal switch is activated by a pendulum circuit that applies the correct amount of voltage to each brake.
Time-based Brake Controls
This method requires the user to set a predetermined amount of power in the brake box. When the driver hits the brake pedal, there is a time delay before the trailer brakes are engaged. You can be traveling at any speed, and the trailer brakes will engage in the same way every time.
Are Safety Chains Required When Towing?
Yes. Laws require you to use chains or cables when towing. In the rare event that the trailer becomes disconnected from the ball (on a bumpy road), the chains will keep the trailer connected to your truck. Otherwise, your trailer will be loose on the road, creating an extreme safety hazard. Avoid costly trailer service and repair by using safety chains.
What Is Trailer Sway?
Trailer sway happens when the tongue is not heavy enough to create a downward force on the hitch ball. If the weight in your trailer is distributed unevenly, you may experience the trailer bobbing and weaving behind your tow vehicle.
Test this by loading a trailer and gradually increasing your speed on the open road. Watch the behaviour of your trailer closely. If it rocks from side to side or has trouble staying in the lane, park and adjust the cargo so its heaviest part is closer to the tongue. If this doesn’t work, consider buying a weight distribution system for your trailer.
How Do I Measure My Trailer Ball?
Four important measurements include ball diameter, shank length, shank diameter, and the trailer hitch ball load rating. Start with the diameter of the ball, using a tape measure or ruler. Then measure the ball shank size from the bottom of the base to the end of the threads. Finally, measure the thickness of the base. Make sure this all matches up with the weight rating.
Comprehensive Trailer Service and Repair at McFarlane
When you book a service appointment with us, you avail yourself of our many areas of expertise which include:
- Axle repair and replacement
- Brake drums and backing plates
- Trailer lighting and wiring
- Tires and rims
- Wheel hitch installations
We will fully inspect your trailer for any areas for improvement, and recommend the highest-need repairs. If you come for a specific service, we will give you a quote that clarifies exactly how we will get the job done. Contact our team to get started.