Gear Up Your Truck for Towing Season

Depending on your activity of choice, towing season can take place anytime between January and December these days. And whether you’re towing jet skis to the lake or snow mobiles to the slopes, you need a reliable trailer hitch that allows you to tow as much as humanly possible while providing the highest level of safety.

Trailer hitches come in two standard varieties: receiver hitch and fixed-drawbar trailer hitches. A receiver hitch is the more functional of the two, mounting directly onto the frame of your rig. It accepts removable ball mounts, trailers or other hitch-mounted accessories. Fixed-drawbar hitches usually feature one-piece construction, with a built-in hole for the trailer ball, and are usually not compatible with aftermarket accessories.

Trailer hitches are classified into five separate categories based on the amount of weight they’ll support. Classes 1 and 2 accommodate lighter loads of no more than 3,500 lbs. Classes 3, 4 and 5 contain heavy-duty trailer hitches and can muscle up to 10,000 lbs. They’re intended for towing larger items like boats and campers. And for even more towing capacity, a fifth wheel hitch or gooseneck hitch can be added for between16,000 and 30,000 lbs of towing strength.

The best trailer hitches are engineered to your specific make, model and year, ensuring a tight connection and safe reliability. They’re robotically-welded to provide strength and sealed against the elements with a powder-coated finish, keeping them looking factory-fresh and free of rust, corrosion and oxidation. Many trailer hitches, like those designed by CURT, are even crafted with an open back-end to allow for easy cleaning.

Now that you’ve got anywhere from 3,500 – 30,000 lbs barreling along behind you, how confident are you that you’ll be able to stop? Word to the wise: relying on just your vehicle’s braking system is a Clark Griswold-grade mistake. By adding a brake controller, you ensure safe stops, whether you’re on a deserted straightaway or sliding down a gut-wrenching decline of Magic Mountain proportions. A trailer brake controller works by sensing your brake pressure and simultaneously applying increasing brake force to your trailer as you slow to a halt.

The other option, when you’re looking to add some additional stoppage strength, is the inclusion of a Jake Brake. A Jake Brake is like cruise control for your brake system. It harnesses the mechanical strength of your drive train and exhaust to hold your speed steady without passing the extra stress onto your wheel brakes, saving them from the costly wear and tear that often results from heavy loads. Models like the Banks SpeedBrake also feature a straightforward plug-and-play installation, with no cutting, welding or wire-spicing. They connect through the optional dashboard PC, allowing you to monitor the essentials like transmission temperature, engine-coolant temperature and true speed.

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