Trailer hitch for different automobiles
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Maximize usefulness with the trailer coupling
The trailer coupling lends a car a tremendous amount of flexibility. This small and inconspicuous feature helps a vehicle maximize its commercial value. This also applies to small cars with weak engines. Thus, a trailer coupling is a sensible complement to any vehicle
Trailer coupling variants
Four types of trailer couplings have established themselves in the field of vehicle construction. These are:
- Bolt coupling
- Jaw coupling
- Fifth-wheel coupling
- Spherical head coupling
The bolt coupling is used in agriculture and forestry. The jaw and fifth-wheel coupling are used in trucks. Only the spherical head couplings are used in cars.
Trailer coupling components
A trailer coupling consists of a cross beam, the spherical head and the electronics. Particularly sturdy bolts are required for the installation of a trailer coupling, which can absorb high tensile and shear forces. These bolts are usually included with a mounting set. It is recommended to renew these screws when installing a used trailer hitch.
Retrofitting a trailer coupling
If a trailer coupling is not already provided by the factory, it can be retrofitted on almost any car. Here we distinguish between two construction types: Rigid and detachable towbars.
A rigid trailer coupling is firmly welded to its supporting structure. It offers a maximum in reliable stability and tensile strength. However, it is often not visually pleasing. Especially in sporty vehicles, such as coupes or convertibles, the rigid trailer coupling is not fitting. Thus detachable trailer couplings were developed. With these, the spherical head is detachable. Modern detachable trailer couplings compare to the rigid ones in terms of tensile strength, stability and safety. However, their design is far more complex, which generally makes them quite a bit more expensive.
The challenge of installing a trailer coupling does not lie in the assembly of the mechanical components. In most cases, this merely requires the removal and in some cases slight adjustment of the bumper. The connection of the electronics, however, typically makes for a true challenge. With a little luck, the towing vehicle has been provided with a connector. Usually, however, complex soldering work is required, which presupposes extensive knowledge regarding the vehicle electrical system.
Newly purchased retrofit couplings usually include a detailed assembly description. It is recommended to carefully read this and subsequently assess whether the project can be completely realized without professional assistance. If in doubt, independent installation of the trailer coupling and professional installation of the electronics makes for a sensible alternative.
Concerns pertaining to impairment of a rear drive sensor as a result of installing a trailer coupling are unfounded. Most systems, including the aftermarket solutions, are insensitive to trailer hitches. The maneuvering system usually switches itself off when a trailer is connected to the electronics.
Trailer coupling defects
Trailer couplings are very robust components, which usually last longer than the car itself. However, they can not be repaired upon a collision. Setting or welding this component is not permitted. If the accommodations on the car's chassis still allow for it, the trailer coupling can merely be replaced after collision damage.
Trailer coupling add-ons
When a large trailer, i.e. a caravan, is towed with a trailer coupling, larger exterior mirrors are a useful extra. They greatly expand the field of vision and are thus an inexpensive and quickly installed contribution to driving safety. Depending on the size of the trailer, the installation of additional mirrors may be mandatory. Modern additional mirror are mounted using suction cups. As one may not travel at a speed higher than 80 km/h when towing a trailer, the worsened aerodynamics play hardly any role.
A trailer coupling protrudes far from the rear of the vehicle. When maneuvering and reversing, one may easily bump into an obstacle with the coupling. This may particularly easily cause dents and scratches to the hit object. Thus, attaching a protective cap is advisable when the trailer coupling is unused. These caps that are available for as low as 1 euro can effectively avoid very annoying and expensive damage.