Drop hitch for lifted trucks

What has to be considered with trailer hitches


Just bring the tree pruning away quickly, transport bulky furniture from A to B or get wood for the fireplace: with the right trailer and a trailer hitch, that’s no problem.

Just bring the tree pruning away quickly, transport bulky furniture from A to B or get wood for the fireplace: with the right trailer and a trailer hitch, that’s no problem.

This basically equips almost every car, says Dietmar Clysters from the German Automobile Industry Association (ZDK). “Technically, that’s no problem, and with many new cars, this is even possible from the factory. Otherwise, a trailer hitch can always be added later. “

If you need to order the same when buying new cars, has advantages: “This is usually the cheaper and more elegant option.” For manufacturers usually calculated only the pure material costs. In addition, the installation is also easier. And it is equal to the matching bumper mounted with appropriate recess.

E-cars and hybrid vehicles are usually the exception: “This is related to the already limited ranges of these vehicles,” explains Niemann of the company Westfalia Automotive. “In order to avoid putting additional load on rear-wheel drive systems or even trailers on the drives, most manufacturers do not release their electric and hybrid vehicles for the attachment of towing devices.”

When retrofitting a trailer hitch, the rear bumper must always be removed. “A steel hanger with the towbar in the middle will be attached to the floor assembly, which will disperse the load to be pulled,” says Clysters. In addition, usually an additional cable harness must be pulled into the interior or trunk to connect the 7- or 13-pin power plug and the electrical system to the electrical system. Basically, the cost of retrofitting a removable trailer hitch, according to Clysters between 800 and 1000 euros. Slightly cheaper is the permanently installed trailer hitch.

It is certainly the cheaper option and also the better choice for very frequent or commercial use, says Niemann. “There are no differences in terms of mounting or technical requirements.” Those who only occasionally drive with trailers and want to preserve the appearance of their vehicle, should opt for the version with detachable ball rod.

“Basically you should always dismantle the ball rod when not in use, because then it is not exposed to the weather,” recommends Niemann. He advises to insert a sealing plug into the receiving tube, so that no dirt deposits here.

If a detachable trailer hitch covers the license plate, motorists must disassemble it when not in use. “Then paragraph 27 of the Vehicle Registration Regulation, according to which the license plate may not be hidden,” says Tobias Goldkamp, ​​specialist in traffic law. Whether detachable models otherwise must be dismantled when not in use, is controversial.

“According to Section 30c of the Road Traffic Licensing Regulations, no parts may protrude so as to jeopardize traffic more than inevitably,” he explains, advising disassembly. “If a trailer hitch increases accidental damage because it was unnecessarily left on the vehicle, this can be taken into account in the liability.”

After a rear-end collision, drivers should have the trailer hitch checked in the workshop. “Even if the trailer hitch has not gotten anything optically and looks completely intact, can result in a collision from behind hairline cracks,” warns Clysters.

The trailer hitch can also be damaged in case of misuse. “For example, they are not designed for the recovery of other vehicles or the extraction of tree roots,” says Niemann.

How the vertical load affects the stability of your trailer

There are many reasons to hang a trailer on your vehicle . Either you want to make a nice holiday by the sea with a caravan, or you have to transport equipment that is so big that your trunk can not hold it anymore.

If your vehicle has a trailer hitch and you have already checked that the trailer does not exceed the permissible trailer load for your vehicle and that you are allowed to control the entire trailer with your license , nothing stands in the way of the long-awaited vacation.

But was not there something else to look out for? Right, also the permissible vertical load of the whole team is important. After all, this load plays a central role in the entire transport. In this guide, we explain what the vertical load is and how you can determine the permissible load for your case.

What exactly is the actual vertical load?

The actual vertical load is defined as the weight which rests on the trailer hitch of the towing vehicle . However, it is not always true that a certain part of the actual total mass is loaded on the hitch. This weight depends essentially on how the trailer is constructed . A vertical load only ever occurs in the following types of trailers:

  • Trailer with only one axle
  • Trailer with two axles, but less than a meter apart
  • Trailers where the axles are only in the middle of the vehicle
  • Trailers where there are no axles on the side of the suspension fork

In these vehicles, the actual total mass is not fully loaded on the axles of the vehicle , but partly also on the trailer hitch of the towing vehicle.

With what load a simple single-axle trailer or a large caravan supports, after you have fully loaded it, you can measure with a so-called support load scale. Alternatively, it is also possible for trailers for cars, the Kupplungskopfkuhle with a piece of wood on a normal personal scale.

How can you determine the permissible vertical load of your vehicle?

What support load specific to your team is allowed to occur without you commit an offense depends on the following factors:

  • maximum vertical load of the motor vehicle
  • maximum vertical load of the trailer hitch
  • maximum vertical load of the trailer
  • minimum vertical load for stable trailer control

After calculating or measuring the actual vertical load of your car trailer, you must verify that it is within these three limits . You do not have to extra calculate the maximum vertical load of your trailer, but you can find out as follows:

  • In the new registration certificate , the vertical load in Part I is indicated under: “(13) Support load in kg”.
  • If you still have an old license for your vehicle, you will not find there any information about the vertical load, but you will need to search for a corresponding plate on the vehicle .

This number indicates the load that your vehicle can “handle” before its construction is loaded too heavily. In addition, if the actual vertical load is too great, the rear of the towing vehicle may be depressed so that the front wheels have less grip on the road. This way, cars can no longer be controlled safely. The Drop hitch for lifted trucks, however, there is a risk that its suspension fork is too heavily loaded.

What does the vertical load indicated on the towbar mean?

However, the maximum permissible vertical load does not only depend on the loads that the tractor and trailer cope with. It is possible that the hitch can carry less load than trailer and motor vehicle is allowed. The permissible load for your trailer hitch can be found on your nameplate .

If these three maximum values ​​are not identical , then you must aim for the lowest maximum value so as not to overload your two vehicles or your hitch.

Which vertical load does the trailer have to have at least?

The actual vertical load should not be lower than a certain value . If it is too low, then there is a risk that the rear part of the trailer will lower and possibly touch the road

How can you increase the vertical load of your trailer?

If the trailer support load is too low to ensure a stable and safe ride, you must first try to shift the cargo to the area between the center of gravity and the suspension fork.

According to the principle of leverage, you can increase the load the closer it is to the fork .

If this does not help because you have too little overall load on the trailer, you can achieve the required vertical load by loading additional weights on the front of the trailer.

However, it is not possible , from your trailer hitch to increase support load . If you want to tow a car trailer with a higher load, you will need a new clutch.

What is the permissible vertical load for special trailers?

Even with a bike carrier , the vertical load is important. Finally, this stands with its full weight as a vertical load on the trailer hitch . So you can attach such bike carriers only to your car, if they have ensured that your trailer hitch can cope with the vertical load of your bike rack.

You do not have to calculate the vertical load of your bike carrier , but you can easily measure it with a scale . Otherwise, the same rules apply to all trailers , regardless of whether it is the support load of a caravan or the vertical load of a horse trailer.

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