Best Trailer Hitch Extender
It does not always occur to many drivers that towing more than a thousand kilograms of weight can be extremely dangerous. How dangerous? In the United States alone, the average odds of fatality directly related to hauling cargo can be one person per day. This rough figure already includes, among many varieties, the occasional frequency of transporting wagons and vacation trailers.
Merely knowing how to drive a vehicle is not enough. In fact, anyone attempting to add extra weight to their automobile should have sufficient training and pertinent mechanical awareness. A basic knowledge of a trailer hitch extender (or extension), to this effect, is vital towards enhancing awareness and judgment in relation to the ideal choice of a towing accessory.
Tips for Selecting Hitch Extenders
As an important hauling accessory, it is important to understand that a tow hitch extender is only intended to fit a receiver (also known as ‘box’ or ‘tube’) hitch. Hence, it cannot be applied as an accessory for gooseneck, fifth wheel, fixed drawbar and pintle-hook varieties.
Experts often include reduced maneuverability as one of the main causes of fatal road accidents associated with towing wheeled cargo. As the namesake implies, hitch extenders are designed to provide the needed reach in terms of connecting both the towing vehicle and the trailer. In effect, this accessory allows sufficient room between the trailer and the towing vehicle to swerve safely.
There are a number of key considerations to take note when it comes to further understanding the principle mentioned earlier. Hence, it also allows you to make an informed choice regarding your ideal receiver hitch extension. Check out the following deciding factors worth knowing:
Length & Height
In order to determine the extra length required to connect your trailer, you have to know the rear overhang of your vehicle. This term describes the distance between the backside and the rear wheels of your automobile, oftentimes identified by using ‘meter/s’ as a unit of measurement. In principle, a vehicle with a short rear overhang (e.g. compact SUV, hatchback, and minivan) technically has no need for hitch extensions.
However, there is more to limited rear overhang than maximizing the vehicle’s ability to turn. Even with a short rear overhang, there are outdoors enthusiasts who would install a ‘double extender’ in order to link another load-bearing device/platform in between the towing vehicle and the trailer. In other cases, it could serve the purpose of connecting two cargo racks.
However, length alone does not impart a crucial deciding factor in terms of accurate measurement. Knowing the exact ground clearance also helps you decide whether or not you require a hitch extender with a rise or drop. This vertical design adjustment enables precise height equity for the uneven coupling between the towing vehicle and the trailer. You have to know exactly how high or low the vehicle’s box receiver is at the other end.
In terms of measurement, another crucial factor to watch out is the hitch receiver’s gross trailer weight (GTW) and tongue weight (TW) capacity. It is important to know that apart from the traditional hitch receiver rigged onto the vehicle’s frame, the hitch extension is also applicable to a bumper hitch receiver. Nonetheless, the weight capacity is an inescapable factor for both types.
By setting up the hitch extension, you are effectively reducing the overall towing power of the earlier shorthanded hitch receiver by up to 50 percent. Therefore, a Class 3 receiver hitch with a natural 6,000 lbs GTW (or 600 to 650 lbs TW) can only handle half of its original performance scale. It is important to remember never to exceed your gross trailer weight beyond the reduced capacity. The lesser the trailer weight you’re towing based on the reduced default capacity, the safer you are on the road.
Top 5 Highly Recommended Hitch Extenders
As mentioned in the earlier part of the article, your choice for a hitch extension largely depends on three basic calculable aspects. But apart from these fundamental deciding factors, many buyers are also motivated by the advantage of diverse load-bearing performance.
Considering how extensions cut down the pulling strength of the tow hitch to half, your newly extensive receiver practically went downgraded to an entirely lower class. Therefore, it is often understood that the altered capacity of Class 3 hitches is no longer capable of hauling boat wagons and average 3-berth recreational vans. Only a few in the market are recommended for heavy-duty towing given the tendency to take a significant step backward in the hitch classes.
Strulo Bumper Hitch Extender
- Item weight: 75 lbs
- TW capacity: 500 lbs
This model provides additional 8 inches of reach for surpassing a certain rear overhang.
Although it is not recommended for major towing, this particular caution seems to be a bit open-ended. In other words, there’s a slim chance you can haul trailer as long as it does not exceed the tongue weight capacity.
Constructed from premium carbon steel, this model is both hardworking and good-looking.
Compared to the rest of the brands featured in this article, this high-quality merchandise is the most budget-friendly. The only real drawback is that
Reese 80306 Class 3 Hitch Extension
- Item weight: 3 lbs
- TW capacity: 500 lbs
With over 18 inches worth of overhang allowance, you can never go wrong with this hitch extension if range is your top consideration. But as certain laws of physics often dictate, this over-abundant distance between the vehicle and the trailer can compromise the overall driving stability. In other words, drive carefully and decelerate before turning if you have an extra wheeled cargo behind your automobile.
The Reese 80306 Class 3 Hitch Extension is especially suited for a heavy-duty pickup truck with a bulky camper rigged firmly on its cargo bed. As an alternative for a wheeled mobile shelter, the long-armed extension is best reserved for bearing auxiliary baggage (e.g. bike rack or generator platform). But even in its enhanced load-bearing usage, it still tends to sway during gentle turns.
Meyer FHK45054 Hitch Extension
- Item weight: 9 lbs
- TW capacity: 1,400 lbs
Given the three holes bored on either side of the shaft, you are able to adjust the reach if this extender respectively from 5 to 7 to 8.5 inches. Yet what makes this product special is that it is highly recommended for vehicles with an imposing ground clearance. This extender drops (rises) up to 4 inches below the elevated (or above the stunted) hitch receiver.
Apart from the unique lateral and vertical adjustments, the Meyer FHK45054 Hitch Extension is one of the rarest models that sport an incredible tongue weight. You can even enjoy a one-year guarantee in case the quality and/or performance backslides from the standard specs. All of these great features, however, require an upscale retail cost.
Curt 45792 Dual Receiver Extender
- Item weight: 25 lbs
- TW capacity: 350 lbs
The additional 8 inches of overhang allowance does not seem particularly impressive by premium standards. But like most products manufactured by Curt, this item maintains the brand’s reputation in terms of sophisticated craftsmanship. It boasts an impressive resistance against corrosion, abrasion, and weathering.
While this item is prized for its durability and aesthetics, it is not recommended for towing trailers. Unlike the Strulo Bumper Hitch Extender, the restriction against cumbersome wagons is absolute. You only need to look at the relatively poor tongue weight to understand why.
Buyers Products 1804005 Extension
- Item weight: 20 lbs
- TW capacity: 2,000 lbs
The Buyers Products 1804005 Extension provides an additional 12 inches of lateral space from the default hitch receiver. While a number of models claim to be a heavy duty hitch extender, this item is one of the fewest apex representatives. It does not come as a surprise given its too-good-to-be-true vertical load capacity.
Despite its decent reach, this item is better known for its material strength and towing power. Ironically, this prized characteristic does not put a heavy burden on the budget. But speaking of burden, a 20-lb steel tube may not always fit the usual definition of a wieldy item. Imagine accidentally dropping it on your toes during a DIY installation. It might be best to wear steel boots to avoid painful injuries.