Towing With Your Offroader? Part 1 – Choose The Right Hitch!


Being able to tow with your off-road truck is immensely useful, whether you’re towing another vehicle to the off-road site or pulling a boat or horse trailer in between.

In order to do this, you do need to install a trailer hitch under your truck and attach the trailer to your rear truck bumper as it is extremely unsafe to use the bumper alone because it is not strong enough to pull heavy loads.

No matter what you want to tow, the key to safe and successful towing is having the right hitch setup for the need since not every receiver is the same.

Before you run out and buy just any hitch to bolt up under your rear truck bumper, read up on how to select the right hitch and the trailer you will tow with it.

What is Your Truck’s Weight Limitation?

Start your search for the right trailer hitch by confirming its towing weight limitation and carrying weight limitation.

Towing weight is how much weight your truck can safely pull behind it.

Carrying, distribution or tongue weight is how much weight your truck can carry on the rear end where the trailer connects to the hitch under your 2019 GMC HD premium rear bumper.

Every truck comes with a rating in these two categories; trailer hitches come in different classes to accommodate them.

Depending on their size, build, and other design factors, different trucks have different Gross Trailer Weights ranging anywhere from 3,500 lbs. all the way up to 20,000 lbs. or more.

Choose a trailer hitch built strong enough for the weight and size of the trailer you can pull with it.

What Do You Want to Tow?

The next thing you need to know when choosing a trailer hitch is what you are going to tow with your truck.

If you only plan to tow a couple of wave runners, a lower-class hitch may be sufficient according to the gross weight of the trailer and its contents.

If you choose a lower-class hitch than what your truck is capable of towing, it’s critical that you keep this limitation in mind because towing something bigger and heavier on a smaller hitch could be dangerous.

Class 4 trailer hitches are recommended for many standard pickup trucks from ½ ton to 1-ton sizes as they handle the widest variation in GTW.

If you’re towing something exceptionally heavy or unstable like a large horse or car trailer, you may also consider getting a 5th-wheel hitch that mounts in your truck bed rather than one under your 2019 GMC HD Vengeance rear bumper.

5th wheel hitches add additional stability as they disperse the weight on the back of the truck more evenly.

What Size Trailer Ball Do You Need?

Every frame-mounted trailer hitch has a removable receiver that slides into the hitch on the truck side, pins in place, and holds the trailer ball on the trailer side.

Yet not every trailer uses the same size trailer ball; like GTW for trucks, there are different balls to fit a variety of trailer couplers.

The balls themselves are rated for different GTW as well as different ball widths, shank lengths, and shank widths.

All of these factors must be taken into consideration when choosing a trailer ball.

Begin by finding the correct ball size for the trailer coupler; this is usually stamped somewhere on the coupler for easy reference.

Then find a ball that has a shank that's long enough to bolt in securely and thick enough to prevent shifting in the receiver hole.

What About Receiver Drop and Rise?

Safe towing demands that your truck and trailer be level on the ground.

If your setup experiences drop which is visible by how the connected coupler points toward the ground, the rear of your truck will be weighed down and vehicle weight will be lifted off the front of the truck, affecting steering and braking.

On the other hand, rise happens when the trailer receiver is higher than the trailer, angling trailer weight down toward the rear axles which can make the trailer unstable on the road.

Ensure your trailer setup is level by first measuring from the ground to the bottom of the trailer receiver, then measure the height of the coupler with the uncoupled trailer leveled using a hand level and subtract the receiver height from the coupler height.

If the resulting number is negative, you need a receiver with a drop of that amount; conversely, if the number is positive, you need one with a rise of that amount.

The goal is to have a trailer coupler and receiver that keep the trailer completely level with the truck.

Tow Safely with the Right Trailer Hitch

Unless it’s done correctly, towing with your off-road truck can turn plans of a fun day into a dangerous accident waiting to happen.

You can avoid precarious towing situations by making sure you are using the right trailer hitch, ball, and receiver.

Mounted up under your Fab Fours rear truck bumper, a suitable trailer hitch gives you the towing strength and stability you need for safe, easy towing!

Now that you know how to choose the right trailer hitch, check out: Towing With Your Offroader? Part 2 - Do It Safely of this 2-part series and learn about safe towing with your off-road truck!

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