If you’ve ever faced the challenges of towing a trailer, you’re likely familiar with the importance of a good hitch setup. Whether hauling a boat to the lake or taking a camper out for the weekend, ensuring your trailer and tow vehicle are level is crucial for safety and efficiency. This is where adjustable ball mounts come into play. Especially for small trailers, having the flexibility of an adjustable ball mount can make all the difference. In this guide, we’ll explore why and how to use them.
What is an Adjustable Ball Mount?
An adjustable ball mount is a specialized towing accessory designed to connect a tow vehicle to a trailer. What sets it apart from traditional fixed ball mounts is its ability to change the height of the hitch ball. This feature is crucial for ensuring a level tow. A level tow is crucial because it ensures that the trailer and the tow vehicle are balanced, regardless of their individual heights or the weight of the load they carry. This balance is a critical safety measure. When a trailer is not level, it can lead to issues like trailer sway, uneven tire wear, as well as reduced control of the tow vehicle.
The mechanics of an adjustable ball mount are relatively straightforward. The mount typically consists of a vertical channel or shank, to which the tongue is attached. Depending on the towing requirements, the tongue can be moved up or down along this channel. This adaptability ensures that whether you’re towing a high-riding boat trailer or a utility trailer that sits closer to the ground, you can adjust the ball mount to ensure the trailer rides level. The ease of adjustment, often facilitated by removable hitch pins, means that height changes can be made quickly and efficiently, accommodating different trailers or vehicles without the need for multiple ball mounts.
The versatility of adjustable ball mounts extends beyond just height adjustments. Many models come with features like dual balls of different diameters, allowing them to connect to various trailer couplers. Others might offer additional attachments like pintle hooks, catering to different towing needs. In essence, an adjustable ball mount is a one-size-fits-most solution, eliminating the need for multiple fixed mounts and providing flexibility and safety in towing operations.
Why Use Adjustable Ball Mounts for Small Trailers?
Ideal For Multiple Vehicles And Trailers
If you have more than one vehicle or tow different trailers, adjustable ball mounts are a must-have. They eliminate the need to switch out the ball mount or buy a new one for each vehicle or trailer. By simply adjusting the drop height, you can match the height of your trailer, ensuring a level tow every time. Blue Ox adjustable ball mounts are perfect for those with multiple towing needs.
With varying heights and models of vehicles and trailers, it’s not always one-size-fits-all. Adjustable ball mounts provide versatility to match your towing needs. Adjustable ball mounts come with various design features to suit different needs. Some models have dual balls to accommodate different size trailer couplers, while others come with a pintle hook or a standard ball mount tongue. There are also options with integrated anti-rattle features, different shank sizes, and shock-absorbing technology. This versatility ensures that you can find a ball mount that perfectly fits your towing requirements.
Quality adjustable ball mounts are constructed with durability in mind. Blue Ox, for instance, offers ball mounts with all-steel construction, ensuring longevity and reliability. When investing in a ball mount, it’s essential to opt for rust-resistant and robust materials, such as aluminum and powder-coated steel.
One of the primary benefits of adjustable ball mounts is the ease of making height adjustments. With removable hitch pins, you can quickly change the tow height by moving the tongue up or down. This feature is particularly beneficial for those who frequently switch between different trailers or tow vehicles.
A level trailer distributes weight evenly across all tires, reducing the blowout risk. It also reduces unnecessary strain on the tow vehicle and maintains predictable steering and braking. Some adjustable ball mounts come with added safety features. For instance, a one-piece ball platform provides added safety, ensuring a secure connection between the vehicle and the trailer. Additionally, the rear gusset design in some models adds extra strength, ensuring the mount can handle the weight and stress of towing.
While the initial investment in an adjustable ball mount might be higher than a fixed one, it can save you money in the long run. Instead of buying multiple fixed ball mounts for different trailers or vehicles, you can invest in one adjustable mount that caters to all your towing needs.
Improved Fuel Efficiency
An unlevel trailer creates additional wind resistance and can negatively impact fuel efficiency. Keeping your trailer level can save you at the pump. Adjustable ball mounts both help with reducing trailer sway and leveling your trailer which impacts your gas consumption. This is a great way to save a little extra cash when traveling long distances with your trailer. It may not see like much, but it adds up over the lifetime of using your mount and trailer.
Less Wear and Tear
Level towing reduces unnecessary stress on the tow vehicle’s and trailer’s suspension and brakes. The last thing you want to do is damage your vehicle from improper towing heights and more trailer sway.
Optimal Weight Distribution
Proper alignment ensures the weight is evenly distributed, preventing fishtailing or swaying of the trailer. This is part of the other benefits listed but it’s worth noting that weight distribution is a big part of how well your trailer will perform. Adjustable mounts allow various vehicles to fit properly with various trailers. If you own a boat, off road vehicles, and a camper for example, you may need different heights for those trailers to be balanced instead and have the weight distributed evenly or else you are taking unnecessary risks with your trailer.
Choosing the Right Adjustable Ball Mount
Always take these factors into consideration when choosing the right adjustable ball mount for your towing needs.
- Weight Capacity: Always check the weight rating of the adjustable ball mount. It should exceed the combined weight of your trailer and its load.
- Adjustment Increments: Depending on the model, some mounts offer finer adjustments than others. Choose one that suits the range of trailers you’ll be towing.
- Material and Construction: Opt for rust-resistant and durable materials. Aluminum and powder-coated steel are common choices.
- Hitch Ball Compatibility: Ensure the mount fits the size of the hitch ball you intend to use.
Tips for Using Adjustable Ball Mounts
- Regularly Check the Fastenings: Secure all the fastenings of the load before every trip due to the regular movement and adjustments from travel.
- Stay Within Weight Limits: Never exceed the weight capacity of your ball mount, hitch, or tow vehicle.
- Regular Maintenance: Lubricate moving parts periodically to ensure smooth adjustments and to prevent wear.
- Store Properly: When not in use, store your ball mount in a dry place to prevent corrosion.
- Check Alignment: Before starting your journey, ensure your trailer is level. Recheck the alignment if you notice uneven tire wear or erratic trailer behavior.
Use Blue Ox Adjustable Ball Mounts for Safe, Easy Towing
When towing small trailers, the importance of a level and secure connection to your vehicle can’t be overstated. Adjustable ball mounts provide the flexibility to ensure a safe and efficient towing experience. You can confidently hit the road with your trailer in tow by selecting the suitable ball mount and following best practices.
Adjustable ball mounts are an invaluable tool for anyone who tows regularly. Their versatility, durability, and ease of use make them a preferred choice for both casual and frequent towers. Whether you’re towing a boat, camper, or utility trailer, an adjustable ball mount ensures a safe and efficient towing experience. Always remember to choose a ball mount that exceeds the combined weight of your trailer and its load, and regularly check and maintain your equipment to ensure longevity and safety on the road.
Visit the Blue Ox website see our lineup of Adjustable Ball Mounts and find the one that fits your needs. If you’re unsure, give our Customer Care Department a ring or a live chat on blueox.com. At Blue Ox, we aim to ensure “Towing Doesn’t Have to be a Drag.”