Selecting a Tow Hitch

How to find the correct drop or rise height before choosing your new tow hitch ball mount

Choose the correct drop or rise for a tow hitch ball mount by leveling the trailer tongue and measuring the difference in heights of the tow hitch receiver and the ball. Choosing the proper height makes towing safer.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

How to choose a towing hitch ball mount

Buying the right ball mount for receiver hitches is critical to the safe operation of your trailer. If you install the wrong mount, the weight imbalance may break either the ball mount or the trailer coupling, causing a huge accident that could easily kill people. Follow the measuring instructions below to find the right “drop” or “rise” height.

Park the vehicle and the trailer on level ground. Drop the trailer jack and level the tongue with a bubble level. Then lock the proper-size trailer ball into the trailer coupling. Measure from the ground to the skirt of the ball. Then measure from the ground to the top of the vehicle hitch receiver. The difference between the two measurements is the “drop,” or “rise.” Find the ball mount that’s closest.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Level
  • Tape measure