Although we specialize in truck toppers and tonneau covers, we also carry truck hitches for when you need to pull a trailer. Knowing the type of truck hitch for your needs is very important. You need to have the proper equipment for the job, whether you are pulling an RV, backhoe or trailer with livestock. This is critical for your safety and for other drivers on the road. We will cover some basic things you need to know for towing. Then, when you are looking for truck hitches in St Paul, you can visit us and already have an idea of what you need.
Before looking at truck hitches or towing anything, you need to know your truck’s towing capacity. If you exceed the manufacturer’s rated capacity for your truck, you are creating an unsafe driving situation and you are likely to damage your vehicle. The best way to determine your truck’s towing capacity is to read your owner’s manual and compare that information with the certification plate on your driver’s door sill.
Also, listed on a sticker in the driver’s door will be several acronyms that are helpful to understand. Here is a brief breakdown of each.
- Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) – This is an approximation of your truck’s weight making an allowance for a standard amount of luggage, gas and passengers.
- Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) – This is the maximum safe actual weight of your vehicle. If you exceed this, you will be stressing the engine, transmission and brakes.
- Gross Combination Weight (GCW) – This is the actual weight of your vehicle (GVW) plus the actual total weight of your trailer (excluding the tongue weight).
- Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) – The maximum safe weight of your combined truck and trailer. This includes all people, luggage and materials. If your combined towing setupexceeds this weight, you are again stressing your truck.
- Gross Axle Weight (GAW) – These numbers represent the expected weight to be placed on your truck’s front and rear wheels. These two numbers will most likely be different to account for engine weight and other factors.
- Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) – The maximum safe weight that can be placed on your front or rear wheels. Again, exceeding this can cause harm to your truck and a dangerous driving situation.
The other important factor when choosing truck hitches is to know your trailer’s weight. Your trailer should have a plate on it that includes the serial number as well as the unloaded GVW and maximum GVWR for the trailer. It will also include the GAWR for each axle.
Once you know your truck’s towing capacity and your total trailer weight, you can begin selecting truck hitches. When choosing a hitch, it’s usually a good idea to have excess capacity in case your towing needs increase at some point. That way, you don’t have to purchase another heavier hitch later. You can always tow a lighter trailer with a heavier hitch, with the exception of a weight distribution hitch.
When you know what hitch class you need, we can visit with you about the different designs of truck hitches available and what works best with certain trucks. We carry several brands and styles, so can definitely help you find the best hitch for your needs.
If you would like more information on finding truck hitches in the St Paul area, give Toppers & More a call at 451-651-1808 or Contact Us. If you’re in the area, visit our showroom in South St Paul on 9th Avenue South.