What is a Tow Hitch?

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Tow Hitch:

A tow hitch (or tow bar) is a device attached to the chassis of a vehicle for towing or a towbar to an aircraft nose gear. It can take the shape of a tow ball to permit swiveling and articulation of a trailer, or a tow pin, or a tow hook with a trailer loop, often used for big or agricultural vehicles where slack within the pivot pin allows similar movements. Another category is the towing pintle used on military vehicles worldwide.

A car is equipped with a trailer tow hitch with a removable tow ball.

 

Weight-distributing hitch:

A weight-distributing hitch is a “load leveling” hitch. It’s a hitch setup mounted on the tow vehicle that uses spring bars and chains under tension to distribute a part of the trailer’s hitch weight from the towing vehicle’s rear axle to the towing vehicle’s front axle and the trailer’s axle(s). It can help reduce trailer sway and hop. Trailer hop can jerk the tow vehicle.

Trailer sway is additionally called fishtailing. At high speeds, trailer sway can become dangerous. Most vehicle manufacturers will only allow a maximum trailer capacity of 5,000 pounds (2,300 kg) and 500 pounds (230 kg) of tongue weight without employing a weight-distributing hitch. Tow vehicles often have square receiver sockets to just accept weight distributing hitches.

 

A pintle hook and lunette ring:

A lunette ring is a sort of trailer hitch that works together with a pintle embrace of the tow vehicle. A pintle hook and lunette ring make a safer coupling, desirable on rough terrain, compared to ball-type trailer hitches. It’s commonly seen in towing applications in agriculture, industry, and the military.

The clearance between the lunette and pintle allows for more relative motion between the trailer and tow vehicle than a ball coupling does. An obstacle to that’s the “slam” transmitted into the towing vehicle with each push/pull load reversal. This becomes a tradeoff between a safer coupling and a lighter towing experience.

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