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Selecting a Tow Hitch

Updated: Nov. 27, 2018

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

tow hitchFamily Handyman
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.

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How to choose a tow hitch ball mount

How to measure hitch drop or rise

On level ground measure the height of the receiver top and the height of the ball skirt. The difference is your ball mount drop or rise.

Ball mount options

You can choose from a wide range of ball mount drops and rises.

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 how to measure hitch drop 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. We’ve got the hook up on how you should get your tow hitch set up to pull a trailer.

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