Most utility trailers come with a coupler, but wear and tear can force you to replace a bad one for a brand new one. Rest easy, though. It can be a simple process selecting the right coupler as long as you keep a few things in mind.
At Camco Wheel & Axle, our experienced service technicians have the knowledge and expertise you need when picking out the right parts for your utility trailer. To get you into the right mindset before you come visit us, consider these three factors when purchasing a coupler.
But first, let’s clarify the important role your coupler does for your towing experience.
What exactly is a coupler?
As anyone that has—or works with—a trailer may know, the coupler is the part of the tongue that fits securely over the hitch ball on the tow vehicle. The coupler is normally bolted or welded on to the trailer tongue, then it connects to the hitch ball on your towing vehicle. Not only does the coupler latch on to the hitch ball, it will pivot from it as well.
It is important to recognize that couplers are not a “one size fits all” accessory. There are many, many different types of couplers that all have different ranges or weight limits and functionality. Failure to adhere to weight limits, or trying to put a coupler that is incompatible with your trailer or towing vehicle can ruin the part, the trailer, the towing vehicle, and can cause a serious car accident.
Factor #1: What type of trailer tongue do you have?
The first factor that will help you determine which coupler is the best fit for your trailer depends on the type of tongue your trailer has. Got a gooseneck horse trailer that you are just itching to take out to the next rodeo? You’re going to need a gooseneck coupler.
Got a fifth wheel trailer, but your towing vehicle has a gooseneck hitch? You’ll need a Fifth Wheel to Gooseneck Coupler Adapter.
Does your trailer have a straight tongue? You’ll need a straight tongue coupler.
This is the first factor that you’ll want to consider in order to make the right choice.
Factor #2: What is the hitch ball size for your coupler?
While some ball mounts don’t include the hitch ball, others do, and in either scenario, you must determine if it can fit onto the coupler of your trailer.
To do so, you’ve got to measure the hitch ball:
- Measure the diameter of the ball.
- Measure the shank length.
- Measure the shank diameter.
- Measure the rise.
Then you have to compare it to the label on your coupler. The label should dictate how wide and tall a hitch ball can be in order to be secured within the coupler.
Factor #3: What is the gross trailer weight?
In short, the coupler’s weight capacity must match that—or be greater— than the gross trailer weight. Coupler capacities all range between 2,000 and 30,000 pounds.
The gross trailer weight (GTW) encompasses the actual weight of a fully loaded trailer, meaning the weight of its cargo, fuel, and equipment meant to keep the cargo secure—like straps, wheel chocks, or cargo nets.
The hitch ball also matters in this equation. If you have a coupler that can handle 20,000 pounds but a hitch ball that can only handle 4,000 pounds, that’s the maximum that you will be able to tow. Refer to your hitch ball manufacturers for any questions concerning their weight capacity.
When you’re in need of a coupler or other utility trailer part, Camco Wheel & Axle has just what you need. And we install them too!
These three factors definitely make the decision process of selecting a new coupler a little easier, but when all else fails, you can always call the experts at Camco Wheel & Axle.
Contact us today at (956) 781-4800 for more information on the couplers that we have in stock.