Choosing the right tow bar might seem easy until you get to the towing accessories section at the store and see so many different kinds. Do you have a rise? A drop? What’s your hitch ball size? What’s the size of its shaft? How about your receiver tube? How heavy is the trailer you’ll be towing? You’ll need the answers to all these questions to find the right tow bar for your hitch and trailer. Luckily, they’re all easy to find. All you’ll need is a tape measure, a pen, and a notepad.
All you need to do to find your rise or drop is to measure the height of your receiver tube and your coupler. With your vehicle and trailer on a flat, level surface, take some measurements with your measuring tape Measure from the top of your receiver tube to the ground to get your hitch height. Measure from the bottom of your coupler to the ground to get your coupler height. Write both numbers down.
If your hitch height is lower than your coupler height, you’ll need a tow bar with a rise. To find your rise, use this simple equation:
[Coupler height] – [Hitch height] = [Tow bar rise]
If your hitch height is higher than your coupler height, you’ll need a tow bar with a drop. To find your drop, use this simple equation:
[Hitch height] – [Coupler height] = [Tow bar drop]
Finding your hitch ball size
You will only need to know one of these two numbers to find the right tow bar, depending on whether your getting a standard tow bar or a ball mount assembly (a tow bar that comes with a ball already attached).
This is the width of the actual ball part of the hitch ball. You should be able to find this number pressed into the top or side of your trailer’s coupler. If not, you can measure the width of the socket on the coupler. Write this number down. You will only need this if you are looking to get a ball mount assembly.
Ball shaft size
This is the width of the threaded shaft that goes through the end of the tow bar. Your hitch ball should have this number pressed into it. If not, measure the width of the shaft and write the number down. You’ll only need thisi f you are buying the tow bar by itself.
Finding you receiver tube size
The easiest way to get this is to measure the width of your receiver. Do this by measuring the tube from inside edge to inside edge.
Finding your trailer weight
Your trailer’s weight should be marked on its identification plate. The number you want is the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). This is the most the trailer will way when it is safely loaded.
Finding the right tow bar
Once you’ve measured all of this, take your notebook with you to the store and use it to find the tow bar you need. If you have multiple trailers, you will likely need more than one tow bar unless your trailers have the same coupler height.