Trailer Hitch Classes
June 19th, 2014
  By Bert Camp
  Customer Service Representative at ReeseHitches.com

Next up in our series we’re going to talk about Trailer Hitch Classes. We get a lot of calls about what the various class sizes are and what each size means in terms of load capacity. The chart below is a good place to start. This is just a general guide, so before you decide to buy a trailer hitch you should check your specific vehicle specs for towing capacity or easier yet, consult our hitch guide. If for any reason you’re still not sure you can always give our guys a call at 877-509-0719. They can answer any question you may have about Trailer Hitch Classes or anything hitch related.




TRAILER HITCH RATINGS

Class I Hitch:
Class I hitches are rated up to 2,000 lbs gross trailer weight with a maximum tongue weight of 200 lbs.  A Class I usually comes with a 1 ¼” square receiver opening and will usually attach to the frame, trunk pan or vehicle bumper.  This hitch class is most commonly used for smaller utility trailers, cargo attachments, jet ski or motorcycle trailers.
 
Class II Hitch:
This hitch can carry up to 3,500 lbs of gross trailer weight with a maximum tongue weight of 300 lbs.  The Class II most commonly has a 1 ¼” square receiver opening and attaches to the bumper or the frame of the vehicle.
 
Class III Hitch:
Depending on the vehicle hitch specs a Class III can be weight carrying and weight distributing. Not all are rated to do both so check our hitch search tool above or call to talk with one of our guys. If you are going to use this hitch for weight distribution you will need a weight distribution system. This hitch is rated up to 6,000 lbs of gross trailer weight with a maximum tongue weight of 600 lbs. and usually has a 2” square receiver opening.  If you are using a weight distribution system your gross trailer weight is 10,000 lbs with a maximum tongue weight of 1,000 lbs. Class III Hitches mount only to the vehicle frame.
 
Class IV Hitch:
Like the Class III, the Class IV hitch is weight carrying and weight distributing depending on the vehicle and hitch specs.  Consult your vehicle specs, check out our hitch search tool above or call one of our guys. The Class IV is rated up to 10,000 lbs gross trailer weight / 1,000 lbs maximum tongue weight or if you are using a weight distributing system the rating increases to 14,000 lbs GTW and 1,400 lbs TW. This hitch generally has a 2” square receiver opening and attaches to the vehicle frame.
 
Class V Hitch:
Like the two previous hitch classes, the Class V hitch is weight carrying and weight distributing depending on the vehicle hitch specs. A Class V is rated up to 1,700 lbs GTW/1,700 lbs TW or if you are using a weight distribution system the rating increases to 17,000 lbs GTW/1,700 lbs TW. This hitch comes with a 2 ½” square receiver opening and attaches to the vehicle frame.
 
It is usually recommended to mount the highest rated hitch your vehicle can handle to give you maximum usage but remember that regardless of your trailer hitch class size rating, you can only pull as much weight as the lowest rated hitch component part you are using such as the hitch ball or ball mount for example.  Still have some questions about the right Trailer Hitch Class for your vehicle?  Consult our trailer hitch search tool or call our pros at 877-509-0719.
 
Happy Trailering!