By bigben /

There are usually different types of towing hitches. Each class has a specifically designed trailer weight. Carrying capacity for towed vehicles may vary hence, dictating the type of hitch to use. To select a more appropriate hitch the loaded weight of the towed trailer must be less than the weight rating hitch. The receiver hitch is the most common. The design allows it to be mounted on to the tow vehicle’s frame and allow a tube opening that accepts the shank of a ball mount or any other inserts.

Each receiver hitch is designed uniquely for different vehicle models, and the hitches are vehicle-specific. Generally, receiver hitches are grouped as per weight capacity and tube size and are grouped into five classes;

Class 1 Towing Hitches

Generally, they are designed for small crossovers and passenger cars. They have a “1 ¼ by 1 ¼” receiver tube opening, or a tongue fixed to mount a ball trailer instead of a ball mount directly. Class 1 hitches are capable of towing trailers up to 2,000 lbs. However, not all hitches are of the same capacity, and they don’t increase the maximum weight that a vehicle can tow. They are attached to the vehicle frame, bumper or the truck pan

Class 2 Towing Hitches

They have the same size tube opening as the class 1 receiver hitches and are for towing light-weight applications. The difference between the two is that class 2 trailers can tow 3,500 lbs gross trailer weight. A higher class drawbar cannot increase the hitches towing capacity. They are found on minivans, small sedans, crossovers, pickup trucks, and small SUVs. The hitches can be found attached to the vehicle frame or the bumper.

Class 3

They have 8,000 lbs.  Weight capacity. It has a “2 by 2” receiver tube opening. Hitches in this class are attached to the frame of the vehicle only.  It’s one of the most common and installed on SUVs and full-size pickup trucks. Unlike in the first two classes, class 3 hitches are used together with the system weight distribution, offering a weight capacity of 12,000 lbs.

Class 4

These are usually installed on SUVs and full-size pickup trucks. They have a two by two receiver tube opening and 10,000 lbs carrying weight capacity. They can also utilize a 14,000 lbs. gross weight trailer, this is used for weight distribution and a weight distribution system is required. The hitches are only attached to the vehicle’s frame.

Class 5

They have the highest ratings when it comes to weight. They are built on handling immense weights. However, a weight distributing hitch can tow a vehicle and also help level the trailer. They can also be used on commercial trucks and full-size pickups. They carry a weight capacity of 12,000 lbs. with a trailer tongue weight of a maximum 1200 lbs. Their hitches are only attached to the vehicle’s frame.

Heres another site that has additional information on trailer hitches. It’s a great, complimentary read.