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Is Towing With A Hitch Better Than Towing With A Ball Mounted To Bumper  


Whats better having a hitch to pull a trailer or just a ball on the the bumper to pull a trailer wanna know cuz dont want to mess up the truck an costing me a bumper


Expert Reply:

Normally a bumper is rated at about 3500 lbs towing capacity. It is usually stamped somewhere on the bumper or possibly on a sticker. A frame mounted hitch is going to have more capacity for towing due to how it is installed.

Also, most trailers will have a towing height of 17 to 19 inches, and a bumper on a truck will typically be around 20 inches. If the trailer is attached to the bumper and the nose of the trailer tongue is higher it can introduce sway when towing. It is better to have a hitch installed and use a ball mount that has the correct rise or drop to keep the trailer level when towing.

If you want to send me information about your truck and trailer I would be glad to recommend a system that would work for you. I need the year make and model of the truck and also the type trailer you have. It is always good to know what the tongue weight is on the trailer you are towing and if it has brakes.

I am attaching a couple of helpful articles about towing you can check out.

expert reply by:
Jeffrey L

Patrick F.


I wondered if the U-haul class 3 hitches impair the spare tire assembly in my 1991 Ford F-150 XLT LARIAT. I have a lighter sailboat about 2500 LBS and wonder if my stock rear step bumper and ball assembly will do the job without problems and damage?

Chris R.


I can't speak for the U-Haul branded hitches, but we do have a few available for your 1991 F-150 that won't interfere with the spare tire, such as the Draw-Tite # 37130. This would work really well to tow your boat trailer. Most likely the stock bumper and ball would be capable of pulling the trailer (check your owner's manual for the capacity to be sure) but a hitch just offers a much more versatile setup that will let you pull the trailer level and transport other accessories like a bike rack or cargo carrier.

Caleb R.


@ChrisR can I pull a 20 foot toy hauler with a regular heavy duty drop hitch? Some say I’m good some say I need the sway bars
Etrailer Expert

Jon G.


@CalebR We recommend using a weight distribution system (with sway control) for any trailer that weighs more than half the curb weight of the tow vehicle. Since toy haulers are on the heavier side of trailers I do recommend going with one. Here is a link to our helpful articles on weight distribution systems that you can check out.

Cody L.


What hitch would I need for a 2001 Chevy Silverado V8 long bed base model? Could you send me the hitch information

Etrailer Expert

Chris R.


We actually have a pretty large selection of hitches that are designed to fit the 2001 Silverado, which I have linked below. If you can tell me what model you have (1500/2500/3500) I would be happy to make specific recommendation.

Tyler S.


I have a 2019 frontier, im trying to decide if getting a hitch is right for me. It does have the bumper with the ball mount and i dont plan on hauling anything super heavy. I have 6 x 8 trailer and just looking for recommendations

Etrailer Expert

Chris R.


Assuming you'll fall under the bumper's weight capacity (and won't be towing too unlevel) the decision is ultimately up to you. I do think using a frame mounted hitch is a better option for a few reasons (versatility being one - with a hitch receiver you'll open up other potential options like bike racks, cargo carriers, etc), but of course plenty of people tow with their bumper and Nissan designed it specifically for this purpose, so it's not as if it's unsafe. If you decide to go with a hitch (which is a really easy install on your Frontier) I recommend the etrailer # e98869.

Devarr S.


2017 dodge durango gt which tow hitch is better the one under the bumper or in the bumper which is better

Etrailer Expert

Chris R.


A frame mounted hitch beneath the bumper will provide a higher capacity and easier leveling (since various rise/drop ball mounts can be used - you're pretty much limited to the bumper height when using the bumper). For your Durango the Curt # C13182 will work perfectly.

Daniel S.


can i tow a power king 5 inch wood chipper with a ball on a bumper it weighs 424 pounds and has a ball hitch connection its going to get hooked up to a 2001 Ford economize work van

Etrailer Expert

Chris R.


As long as the weight of that wood chipper doesn't exceed the bumper's capacity (check the owner's manual for your Ford van) and you're able to create a level setup you can certainly hook it up to the bumper hitch ball. If you find that the bumper isn't rated high enough I've linked our full selection of hitches for your van below that you can look through.

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