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Towing a Trailer with a Jeep Wrangler

Custom Fit Trailer Hitch

A Jeep Wrangler can take you over rough terrain and up steep inclines, but it can be tricky to tow with it safely. Whether you are towing a boat trailer, small utility trailer or camper, your Jeep Wrangler requires four components for safe towing:


Jeep Wrangler towing a teardrop-style camper
  • Trailer Hitch Receiver
  • Ball Mount and Pin and Clip
  • Trailer Hitch Ball
  • Wiring Harness








Trailer Hitch Receiver

Two types of hitches can be mounted on the rear of a Jeep Wrangler for towing:


receiver hitch

Receiver Hitch

  • Mounts to the frame (on older Jeeps through model year 2006) or on the rear-most crossbar (on JK models)
  • Sits under the bumper and has either 1-1/4" or 2" hitch opening
  • Bolts in place using existing holes
  • Use our Hitch Hunter Fitguide to find the correct hitch for your application


High Rock Rear Bumper Hitch

Bumper Hitch

  • Replaces factory bumper and features a 2" hitch opening
  • Bestop offers the High Rock 4 x 4 series, which has attachment points for D-rings, departure rollers and recovery equipment
  • The bumper hitch can also allow a few inches more for clearance beneath the Jeep as compared to a receiver hitch

See our Trailer Hitch Installation Tips for more information on installing your hitch.







pin and clipballmount

Ball Mount and Pin and Clip

A ball mount (also called a "drawbar") fits into the hitch opening and provides a platform for mounting the ball. Find the correct ball mount for your Jeep by measuring from the top of the receiver hitch opening to the ground. Then, after leveling the trailer, measure from the bottom of the trailer coupler to the ground. The difference in these two measurements will tell you whether you need a ball mount with a rise or drop. In most cases you will need a "drop."


A pin and clip holds the ball mount securely in the trailer hitch receiver. Choose your pin and clip according to the size of your trailer hitch receiver.


A hitch lock and coupler lock deter theft of your trailer and add a layer of protection to keep your components secure while you are towing.


For more information, see our Choosing the Correct Ball Mount page.







hitch ball

Trailer Hitch Ball

A hitch ball sits on the ball mount and provides an attachment point for the trailer. Hitch balls are available in three different sizes, 1-7/8", 2" and 2-5/16", which are a measurement of the ball's diameter and should be the same as the coupler of the trailer you plan to tow. The trailer coupler will be stamped with the size ball it requires.


For more information, see our Trailer Hitch Balls information page.







Wiring Harness

To power the lights on a trailer, you will need a wiring harness that runs from your Jeep to the trailer connector. The chart below shows the correct wiring harness for the Wrangler by year and model. You can also use our Wiring Fitguide to find the custom-fit wiring harness for your model Jeep.



vehicle wiring harness
Jeep Wrangler Wiring Harnesses
YearModelWiring Harness
1986-1995YJ118356
1997TJ118356
1998-2006TJ118409
2007-2014JK118416


Note: 1987-1990 YJ Canada models must be hardwired. See our Wiring Fitguide for our selection of wiring accessories. Wiring harnesses above provide basic wiring functions (turn, tail and stop).






Special Concerns

Capacity

The towing capacity of the Jeep Wrangler can vary by model year and equipment; consult your owners manual for more information. Jeep Wranglers tend to have a towing capacity of 3,500 to 4,000 lbs. This means that the loaded weight of your trailer (weight of trailer plus all gear) should not exceed this weight range. Also be aware that you are limited by the lowest-capacity product in your towing system, whether it is the hitch, ball mount or ball. Make sure that these components have the same capacity as your hitch.



friction sway controlweight distribution system

Weight Distribution and Sway Control

Adding weight distribution to your trailer helps to keep your Jeep and trailer level and distributes the load you are carrying more evenly. Adding sway control can help your trailer withstand gusts created by sharing the road with large trucks or towing in strong winds. Sway control is particularly helpful with enclosed trailers that have a large surface area.


See our Common Weight Distribution and Sway Control Questions page for more details.



transmission cooler

Transmission Cooler

For those Wranglers with automatic transmissions, towing a trailer can make your transmission work harder, thereby heating the transmission fluid to high levels. A transmission cooler keeps your transmission fluid cool and reduces the chance of overheating or excess wear on your transmission.


Check out our Transmission Cooler Fitguide for more information.



brake controller

Brake Controller

If you have electric brakes on your trailer, you will need a brake controller to operate them. The brake controller sends a signal back to the trailer brakes that coincides with your Jeep's brakes. You will also need a Brake Controller 7- and 4-Way Installation Kit or ETBC7 (or for a 6-way connector, an ETBC6) that includes all the wiring you need to upgrade from a 4-way plug.


For more information on brake controllers, see our Trailer Brake Controller information page.






















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