How to Adjust a Trailer Hitch

How to Adjust a Trailer Hitch
A tow vehicle is used to pull a trailer, and a hitching system connects the two. You may need to adjust the hitch so the height of the two vehicles is equal. Before you tow a trailer, learn the weight capacity for the tow vehicle and the hitching system.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Lubricating oil/cleaning solution
  • Wire brush
  • Paint (optional)
  • Tape measure
Step 1
Remove road debris and muck from the bolt holes using a lubricating oil/cleaning solution and a wire brush. Clean the hitching system before making adjustments. If necessary, paint rust spots on the hitch to add a protective coat.
Step 2
Measure the distance from the tow vehicle to the ground. Start at the back, then move to the front of the vehicle. Do the same for the trailer. Make note of each vehicle's height.
Step 3
Position the hitching system so it has metal-to-metal contact with the tow vehicle's attachment points. Hitch the trailer and adjust the tension on the spring bars so the tow vehicle and trailer are of equal height. The spring bars are alongside the A Frame, which is the front frame of the trailer where the coupler is located.
Step 4
Raise or lower the hitch ball height so you can seat it inside the receiver part of the hitch (the coupler). The hitch ball is a removable steel component that fits inside the receiver.
Step 5
Tighten the spring bars by hand if you see sagging. Add the reinforcing plates that were supplied with the hitch if you need to adjust the distribution of the load to the frame edges.
Step 6
Reload heavy items close to the front and readjust the hitch if the tow vehicle or trailer has dropped after you redistribute the load.

Tips & Warnings

A receiver is the hitch platform, which is mounted to the tow vehicle. The ball mount fits into the receiver and the coupler receives the hitch ball. Spring bars are located on the hitch.

Article Written By Charlie Gaston

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.

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