Trailer Terms

Understanding Towing

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Towing Glossary

To find a term, tap one of the numbers or letters below or press Ctrl+F on your keyboard and type the term into the search bar. If you are looking for a term that does not appear in this glossary, please let us know by emailing us at content@curtmfg.com.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | #

 

 

A

 

A-Coat

 

see Bonderite Coating

 


 

A-Frame Trailer

 

a trailer with a tongue that consists of two beams that extend from the main frame of the trailer and angle inward to meet at the coupler and form an A shape; also see Straight-Tongue Trailer

 

Shop A-frame trailer jacks

 

 

 


 

AA

 

see Concealed Hitch

 


 

Accelerometer

 

an electrical component that uses variable capacitors to measure changes in momentum and speed, to turn physical forces into electrical signals; used in CURT inertia-based brake controls to measure the tow vehicle’s momentum and apply the appropriate amount of pressure to the trailer brakes; may use two axes or three

 

Learn more | Shop brake controls

 

 


 

Access Cab

 

the name used specifically by Toyota for certain extended cab pickup trucks

 


 

Active Sway Control

 

see Integrated Sway Control

 


 

Adapter

 

see Electrical Adapter or Receiver Tube Adapter

 


 

Aftermarket

 

a term used to refer to automotive parts and accessories that fit a particular vehicle but are made by a manufacturer different than the original vehicle manufacturer or OEM

 


 

Air Brakes

 

a type of braking system that uses compressed air and pneumatic cylinders to apply pressure to a brake disc or drum to decelerate a vehicle; popular on semi trucks but very rare on non-commercial vehicles and trailers; also see Trailer Brakes

 


 

All-Purpose Vehicle (APV)

 

also called a ‘multi-purpose vehicle (MPV)’ or ‘multi-utility vehicle (MUV)’; a type of van that offers a higher load capacity and more room for passengers and cargo than a car while still appealing to personal use with its relatively small size (e.g. minivan)

 

Use the Quick Hitch Lookup to find a trailer hitch for your all-purpose vehicle.

 

 

 


 

All-Terrain Camper

 

a type of camper trailer designed to be set up in virtually any location; usually equipped with a fold-out tent and several storage compartments for camping gear

 

Shop ball mounts

 

 

 


 

All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV)

 

a relatively small off-road vehicle that is designed to travel over multiple types of terrain; distinguished from a side by side by its saddle-type seat; may seat one to three people, depending on the design; also see Quad Bike, 3 Wheeler, 4 Wheeler, Kids ATV, Sport ATV and Utility ATV

 

Learn more | Shop ATV towing

 

 


 

All-Wheel Drive (AWD)

 

a drivetrain system that powers all four wheels simultaneously, all of the time, providing more traction when needed; generally does not activate until the vehicle requires it; different from four-wheel drive which can be switched off by the driver

 


 

Application Guide

 

a complete index of current part numbers and associated vehicle applications for CURT trailer hitches, custom wiring and other vehicle-specific products; available online and in the CURT catalog

 

View the CURT application guide

 

 

 


 

APV

 

see All-Purpose Vehicle

 


 

Aquence Coating

 

see Bonderite Coating

 


 

ATV

 

see All-Terrain Vehicle

 


 

Auto Transport Trailer

 

see Car Hauler

 


 

Auxiliary Power

 

a secondary power source used to carry out an electrical function on a trailer other than exterior lighting and trailer brakes

 

Shop towing electrical

 


 

Available While Supplies Last (AWSL)

 

also called ‘continued while supplies last’ or ‘CWSL’; the status of a product indicating that it has limited inventory (i.e. manufacturing of the product has ceased and once the current inventory is gone, the product will no longer be available)

 


 

AWD

 

see All-Wheel Drive

 


 

AWSL

 

see Available While Supplies Last

 


 

Axle

 

the central shaft of a rotating wheel or gear; may be permanently fixed to the wheels, rotating with them, or fixed to the frame with the wheels rotating around the axle; one axle has two wheels

 

 

 

 

 


 

B

 

Ball

 

see Gooseneck Ball or Trailer Ball

 


 

Ball Capacity

 

the amount of weight a trailer ball can safely tow, referring specifically to gross trailer weight, as opposed to tongue weight

 

Learn more | Shop trailer balls

 


 

Ball Height

 

the distance from the ground to the top of the inside of the receiver tube subtracted from the distance from the ground to the top of the coupler; used to determine which Euro Mount is required to make sure the trailer rides parallel to the ground (does not apply to standard ball mounts)

 

Learn more | Shop Euro Mounts

 

 

 


 

Ball Hole Cover

 

also called a ‘hole cover’; a temporary cap placed over a gooseneck hitch’s ball hole to protect the hitch from dirt, rust and other buildup; also used to provide a finished look for the truck bed when the gooseneck hitch is not in use; typcially installs with a friction fit; also see Hitch Tube Cover

 

Learn more | Shop gooseneck replacement parts

 

 

 


 

Ball Mount

 

also known as a ‘drawbar’, ‘hitch bar’ or ‘tow bar’; a removable trailer ball platform that inserts into the receiver tube opening of a receiver hitch and fastens with a pin & clip; can be used to raise or lower the height of a trailer ball to allow for level towing

 

Learn more | Shop ball mounts

 

 

 


 

Ball Mount Shank

 

the square shaft of a ball mount that inserts into a trailer hitch receiver tube and is held secure using a hitch pin & clip; different from a trailer ball shank

 

Learn more | Shop ball mounts

 

 

 


 

Ball Platform

 

see Trailer Ball Platform

 


 

Ball Shank

 

see Trailer Ball Shank

 


 

BB

 

see Exposed Hitch

 


 

Bed

 

see Truck Bed

 


 

Boat Winch

 

see Hand Winch

 


 

Body

 

the external structure of a vehicle that gives it its recognizable shape; may be bolted to the chassis or combined as a single molded piece with it as a unibody; also see Old Body and New Body

 


 

Body Style

 

the unique physical characteristics of the body of a vehicle that give it its recognizable shape compared to other years of the same model; typically changed by the manufacturer every few years; may be deemed a new body style or old body style, depending on its relationship to other years within the same model

 


 

Bonderite Coating

 

formerly called ‘Aquence Coating’ or ‘A-coat’; a liquid base primer that CURT applies to trailer hitches and other products to co-cure with the final powder coat and increase overall corrosion resistance

 

Learn more

 

 

 

 


 

Bow Wave

 

a wave of wind generated on either side of a vehicle as it moves forward; increases in size in proportion to the vehicle; can cause trailer sway during a passing situation if not properly counteracted

 

Shop sway control units

 


 

Box

 

see Truck Bed

 


 

Brake Control

 

also known as a ‘brake controller’ or ‘brake control unit’; an electrical device that serves as an interface between a tow vehicle and the electric trailer brakes; can be inertia-based or time-based; typically mounted near the tow vehicle’s steering wheel with an electrical line running to the trailer wiring connector; usually requires the user to adjust brake gain to compensate for varying trailer loads; necessary for the operation of electric trailer brakes

 

Learn more | Shop brake controls

 


 

Brake Control Unit

 

see Brake Control

 


 

Brake Controller

 

see Brake Control

 


 

Brake Lights

 

a set of red lights, located on the rear of a vehicle or trailer, that illuminate when the vehicle’s brakes are engaged to alert other drivers that the vehicle is slowing down or stopping; similar but not the same as taillights; required on both the tow vehicle and trailer

 

Learn more | Shop trailer lights

 

 

 


 

Break Force

 

see Break Strength

 


 

Break Strength

 

also called ‘break force’ and ‘breaking load’; the amount of force needed to break a rope, chain, cable or strap; also see Working Load Limit

 

Learn more | Shop cargo straps

 

 

 

 


 

Breakaway

 

also called a ‘disconnect’; an instance of a trailer becoming separated from its tow vehicle while moving; a breakaway system can be used to help control the trailer by activating the trailer brakes

 

Shop breakaway systems

 


 

Breakaway Kit

 

see Breakaway System

 


 

Breakaway Switch

 

a component within a breakaway system that attaches to both the tow vehicle and trailer and signals the electric trailer brakes to activate when the tow vehicle and trailer become separated during a breakaway

 

Shop breakaway components

 

 

 


 

Breakaway System

 

also called a ‘breakaway kit’; a safety system, consisting of a breakaway switch, battery and other components, that activates the trailer brakes in the event that a trailer becomes disconnected from its tow vehicle while moving

 

Shop breakaway systems

 

 

 


 

Breaking Load

 

see Break Strength

 


 

Bumper

 

a horizontal buffer that runs the width of a vehicle and helps blunt the force of impact in the event of an accident; typcially mounted to both the front and rear of the vehicle; some rear bumpers may be used to mount a bumper hitch or trailer ball; also see Standard Bumper, Step Bumper, Tube Bumper, Cowboy Bumper or Roll Pan Bumper

 

Shop bumper hitches

 

 


 

Bumper Hitch

 

a light-duty receiver hitch that attaches to a vehicle’s bumper, rather than to its frame; typcially only compatible with larger vehicles

 

Shop bumper hitches

 

 

 


 

Bumper Pull Trailer

 

also called a ‘tag-along trailer’ or ‘drag trailer’; a type of trailer that is towed behind a vehicle with a rear-mounted receiver hitch (not necessarily a bumper hitch) as opposed to a 5th wheel hitch or gooseneck hitch

 

Shop rear mount trailer hitches

 

 

 


 

Bungee Cord

 

an elastic cord composed of rubber or several elastic strands, covered with nylon or cloth and equipped with hooks on each end; sometimes used in place of a cargo strap to secure very lightweight cargo

 

Shop straps and tie-down anchors

 

 

 


 

C

 

Cab and Chassis

 

see Chassis Cab

 


 

Cabin

 

see Truck Cab

 


 

Cam Buckle

 

a type of light-duty buckle that allows for more direct control over the tension on a cargo strap; operates by threading the open end of the strap in through the back side of the buckle and pulling to tighten; especially useful when securing lighter loads and fragile cargo; also see Cambuckle Strap

 

Shop cargo straps

 


 

Cambuckle Straps

 

a type of light-duty cargo strap that uses a cam buckle to control tension on the load; ideal for lightweight or fragile cargo; also see Ratchet Strap

 

Learn more | Shop cargo straps

 

 

 


 

Car Dolly

 

see Tow Dolly

 


 

Car Hauler

 

see Car Trailer

 


 

Car Trailer

 

also known as a ‘car hauler’ or ‘auto transport trailer’; a type of flatbed trailer designed for transporting automobiles; usually equipped with a ramp or set of ramps on the back end to allow an automobile to be driven onto the trailer; also see Toy Hauler

 

Shop transport binder safety chains

 

 

 


 

Caravan Trailer

 

see Travel Trailer

 


 

Cargo Carrier

 

a hitch-mounted platform that provides extra storage area for cargo outside a vehicle; may also be roof-mounted or mounted on an ATV; commonly used to haul items that are inconvenient to store inside a vehicle, such as firewood; usually equipped with a short 2″ wall or a higher wall and may include a tilt-up feature, allowing the cargo carrier to fold up when not in use

 

Learn more | Shop cargo carriers

 

 

 


 

Carriage Bolt

 

a type of bolt with a rounded head and a square neck to fit into a square hole and allow for one-wrench tightening; used in most CURT trailer hitch installations to attach the hitch to the vehicle’s frame

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

CD

 

see Commercial Duty Trailer Hitch

 


 

Chassis

 

the main framework of a vehicle, consisting only of the frame and essential parts needed for operation (excludes the body); can be a unibody design, with the chassis and body as a single piece, or with a C-frame construction

 


 

Chassis Cab

 

also called a ‘cab and chassis’; a type of heavy-duty truck comprised only of the truck cab and the chassis, without a truck bed; typically used for heavy towing and commercial purposes

 

Shop Commercial Duty trailer hitches

 

 

 


 

Chopper Box

 

see Forage Harvester

 


 

Circuit-Protected

 

a term applied to electrical circuits that are built with an intentional “weak spot”, known as a fuse or circuit breaker, that breaks the flow of electricity in the event of an overload or short circuit, preventing damage to the circuitry; applies to many CURT taillight converters

 

Shop taillight converters

 


 

Class 1 Trailer Hitch

 

also called a ‘class I trailer hitch’; a trailer hitch with a 1 1/4″ x 1 1/4″ receiver tube opening, a gross trailer weight capacity typically up to 2,000 lbs. and a tongue weight capacity typically up to 200 lbs.; commonly mounted on small and full-size cars; sometimes equipped with a fixed tongue instead of a receiver tube

 

Learn more | Shop class 1 trailer hitches

 

 


 

Class 2 Trailer Hitch

 

also called a ‘class II trailer hitch’; a trailer hitch with a 1 1/4″ x 1 1/4″ receiver tube opening, a gross trailer weight capacity typically up to 3,500 lbs. and a tongue weight capacity typically up to 350 lbs.; commonly mounted on minivans and crossovers

 

Learn more | Shop class 2 trailer hitches

 

 

 


 

Class 3 Trailer Hitch

 

also called a ‘class III trailer hitch’; a trailer hitch with a 2″ x 2″ receiver tube opening, a weight carrying capacity typically up to 8,000 lbs. GTW and a tongue weight capacity typically up to 800 lbs.; can usually be used in combination with a weight distribution hitch to maximize towing capacity; commonly mounted on mid-size and full-size trucks and SUVs

 

Learn more | Shop class 3 trailer hitches

 

 


 

Class 4 Trailer Hitch

 

also called a ‘class IV trailer hitch’; a trailer hitch with a 2″ x 2″ receiver tube opening, a weight carrying capacity typically up to 10,000 lbs. GTW and a tongue weight capacity typically up to 1,000 lbs. (often refers to any trailer hitch with a weight carrying capacity greater than 6,000 lbs.); can usually be used in combination with a weight distribution hitch to maximize towing capacity; commonly mounted on 1/2-ton and 3/4-ton trucks and SUVs

 

Learn more | Shop class 4 trailer hitches

 

 


 

Class 5 Trailer Hitch

 

also called a ‘class V trailer hitch’; any trailer hitch with a weight carrying capacity greater than 10,000 lbs. GTW and a tongue weight capacity greater than 1,000 lbs.; equipped with a 2″ x 2″ or 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ receiver tube opening; can be used with a weight distribution hitch but generally not to increase towing capacities; commonly mounted on 1/2-ton, 3/4-ton and 1-ton trucks; also see Xtra Duty Trailer Hitch and Commercial Duty Trailer Hitch

 

Learn more | Shop class 5 Xtra Duty | Shop class 5 Commercial Duty

 

 


 

Classic Body

 

see Old Body

 


 

Clip

 

see Hitch Clip

 


 

Club Cab

 

the name used specifically by Dodge for certain extended cab pickup trucks

 


 

CNC Forming

 

a manufacturing process involving the mechanical shaping of metal using computer-automated machinery; also see Computer Numerical Control

 

Learn more | Shop fabrication components

 

 

 

 

 


 

Co-cured Finish

 

a type of metal coating that consists of two finishes that bond together through a heating process, producing a final coat that is more durable than a powder coat finish alone; used to protect CURT trailer hitches by combining a liquid Bonderite coating and powder coat finish

 

Learn more

 

 

 


 

Commercial Duty Trailer Hitch (CD)

 

a type of class 5 trailer hitch with a 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ receiver tube opening, a weight carrying capacity typically up to 18,000 lbs. GTW or more and a tongue weight capacity typically up to 2,700 lbs.; can be used with a weight distribution hitch but generally not to increase towing capacity; commonly mounted on 1/2-ton, 3/4-ton and 1-ton trucks; also see Xtra Duty Trailer Hitch

 

Learn more | Shop Commercial Duty Trailer Hitches

 

 


 

Compact Car

 

a relatively small car typically with an interior area of 100 to 109 cu. ft.; characterized by its economical gas mileage; larger than a subcompact car

 

Learn more | Shop class 1 trailer hitches

 

 

 


 

Compliance Certification Label

 

similar to a VIN tag; a sticker or metal plate affixed to a vehicle, usually in the door sill of the driver’s door, that provides a condensed version of vital safety information such weight ratings, tire pressure as well as the make, model, year and VIN of the vehicle

 

Learn more

 


 

Computer Numerical Control (CNC)

 

a manufacturing process that uses the automated control of workpiece motions or tool motions to fabricate parts; typically uses input parameters, specified by the user, such as feed, speed, depth of cut, etc.; also see CNC Forming

 

Learn more | Shop fabrication components

 

 

 

 


 

Concealed Hitch

 

a type of receiver hitch that is mounted in such a way that the main body is largely hidden from view underneath the vehicle; denoted by an AA in the footnotes of the CURT Application Guide; also see Exposed Hitch

 

Learn more | Shop rear mount trailer hitches

 

 

 

 


 

Connector

 

an electrical component used to join two or more wires together in a vehicle-trailer electrical connection; may refer to the plug (trailer side) or socket (vehicle side) or both

 

Learn more | Shop plugs & sockets

 

 

 


 

Continued While Supplies Last (CWSL)

 

see Available While Supplies Last

 


 

Conventional Trailer

 

any trailer that connects to a trailer hitch using a coupler and ball mount, as opposed to a 5th wheel or gooseneck connection; may also refer to a travel trailer

 


 

Converter

 

see Taillight Converter

 


 

Coupler

 

also called a ‘trailer coupler’; the foremost part of a trailer tongue that latches onto the trailer ball of a tow vehicle; available in different styles, including straight-tongue, A-frame and channel-mount

 

Learn more | Shop couplers

 

 

 


 

Coupler Height

 

the distance from the ground to the bottom of a trailer coupler with the trailer tongue leveled; used together with hitch height to determine the drop or rise needed when selecting a ball mount

 

Learn more | Shop ball mounts

 

 

 


 

Coupler Latch

 

a mechanism, usually on the top of a trailer coupler, that secures the coupler to a trailer ball, using a metal catch or a set of jaws; also see Easy-Lock Latch, Posi-Lock Latch and Sleeve-Lock Latch

 

Learn more | Shop couplers

 

 

 

 


 

Coupler Lock

 

also called a ‘trailer coupler lock’; a pin-style lock designed to fit through a coupler latch, disabling the coupler from latching onto or being removed from a trailer ball to prevent unwanted use or removal of the trailer

 

Shop coupler locks

 

 

 

 


 

Coupler Span

 

the width of a coupler latch, specifically at the point where a safety pin or coupler lock pin is inserted

 


 

Cowboy Bumper

 

also called a ‘deep drop bumper’; a bumper with a particularly low center section that typically provides a trailer ball mounting platform, maintaining a level trailer by compensating for a truck’s especially large tires; common in farming applications

 

Shop trailer balls

 

 

 


 

Crew Cab

 

also known as a ‘quad cab’, ‘double cab’ or ‘dual cab’; a truck cab with four full-size, front-hinging doors and seating for five or six people; larger than regular cabs and extended cabs

 

 

 

 

 


 

Crossover

 

see Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV)

 


 

Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV)

 

also known simply as a ‘crossover’; a vehicle that is built on a car platform using features and styling common on a sport utility vehicle (SUV)

 

Use the Quick Hitch Lookup to find a trailer hitch for your crossover utility vehicle.

 

 

 

 


 

Curb Weight

 

the total weight of a vehicle with OEM equipment, a full tank of gas and all necessary fluids (water, coolant, oil, etc.), but without any passengers or cargo

 


 

Custom Hitch

 

a trailer hitch that is designed for a particular year, make, model and style of vehicle to achieve the best possible fit, function and appearance

 

Learn more | Shop trailer hitches

 

 

 

 

 


 

Custom Original Equipment Vehicle-to-Trailer Connector

 

also called a ‘T-connector’; a vehicle-specific electrical device that provides a standard trailer wiring socket on a vehicle by plugging into a special original equipment socket on the vehicle (not included on all vehicles); different from a taillight converter, which must be spliced into the vehicle’s wiring; also different from a custom vehicle-to-trailer wiring harness, which plugs into the vehicle’s taillight assembly using multiple plugs

 

Learn more | Shop custom original equipment vehicle-to-trailer connectors

 

 


 

Custom Vehicle-to-Trailer Wiring Harness

 

also called a ‘T-connector’; a vehicle-specific electrical device that provides a standard trailer wiring socket on a vehicle by plugging into the vehicle’s existing wiring at the taillight assembly; may not be compatible with all vehicles; different from a taillight converter, which must be spliced into the vehicle’s wiring; also different from a custom original equipment vehicle-to-trailer connector, which uses a single OEM plug to plug into a special socket provided by the vehicle manufacturer

 

Learn more | Shop custom vehicle-to-trailer wiring harnesses

 

 


 

Custom Wiring

 

a wiring harness that is designed to be used with a specific vehicle or set of vehicles, having components, such as a taillight converter, that are uniquely compatible with the vehicle’s wiring system; also see Custom Vehicle-to-Trailer Wiring Harness and Custom Original Equipment Vehicle-to-Trailer Connector

 

Learn more | Shop custom wiring | Shop taillight converters

 

 

 

 


 

CUV

 

see Crossover Utility Vehicle

 


 

CWSL

 

see Available While Supplies Last

 


 

D

 

Deep Drop Bumper

 

see Cowboy Bumper

 


 

Dinghy

 

an automotive vehicle that is towed behind another, larger vehicle, using a tow dolly or tow bar; also see Dinghy Towing

 

Shop tow bars

 

 

 

 

 


 

Dinghy Towing

 

also called ‘flat towing’; the act of towing a vehicle, typically a car or small SUV, behind a motorhome or larger vehicle; can be done with two of the vehicle’s wheels on the ground and two on a tow dolly, or with all four wheels on the ground using a tow bar; the towed vehicle itself is referred to as the ‘dinghy

 

Shop tow bars

 

 

 


 

Disc Brakes

 

a type of braking system that uses a pair of brake pads or shoes to squeeze together and apply friction to a metal disc within the wheel in order to decelerate the vehicle; the most common type of brakes on non-commercial vehicles; may be used as part of an electric trailer brake system; different from drum brakes, which use a pair of brake pads to press outwardly, against the inner surface of a drum

 

Shop brake controls

 


 

Disconnect

 

see Breakaway

 


 

Double-Axle Trailer

 

see Tandem-Axle Trailer

 


 

Double Cab

 

see Crew Cab

 


 

Drag Trailer

 

see Bumper-Pull Trailer

 


 

Drawbar

 

sometimes used to refer to a ball mount; a removable trailer ball platform that slides into a hitch receiver tube and fastens with a pin & clip; also refers to the tongue portion of a fixed-tongue hitch; sometimes used to distinguish a coupling configuration different from a standard ball mount and trailer ball, such as a lunette eye

 

Shop lunette eye drawbar

 

 

 


 

Drivetrain

 

the set of parts in an automobile that allows the engine to channel its power to the axles; typically includes the driveshaft, CV joints, differential, axle shafts and U-joints; also see Two-Wheel Drive, Front-Wheel Drive, Rear-Wheel Drive, Four-Wheel Drive and All-Wheel Drive

 


 

Drop

 

the amount of distance the trailer ball platform of a ball mount is set below the shank, as measured from the top of the shank to the base of the ball; the opposite of rise; intended to compensate for a particularly low-riding trailer, relative to the tow vehicle; also see Coupler Height and Hitch Height

 

Learn more | Shop ball mounts

 

 

 


 

Drum Brakes

 

a type of braking system that uses a pair of curved brake pads or shoes to apply outward pressure to the inner surface of a metal drum within the wheel, in order to decelerate the vehicle; fairly common on larger trailers and in the rear set of wheels on some vehicles; sometimes used as part of an electric trailer brake system; different from disc brakes, which use a pair of brake pads to squeeze a metal disc

 

Shop brake controls

 


 

Dry Rot

 

a decaying of rubber tires caused by prolonged exposure to sunlight, particularly when the tires go unused for an extended period of time; preventable by regular usage and/or tire covers

 


 

Dry Weight

 

the weight of a vehicle or trailer without any passengers, cargo or fluids (water, coolant, oil, gasoline, etc.)

 


 

Dual Cab

 

see Crew Cab

 


 

Dual Output Adapter

 

also called a ‘duplex adapter’; an electrical adapter that adapts a single socket into two socket types, usually retaining the original socket format and adding an extra output format

 

Learn more | Shop dual output electrical adapters

 

 

 


 

Dually

 

a type of pickup truck with four tires on its rear axle, two on each side; usually able to carry heavier loads compared to a regular pickup truck, making it a preferred choice for gooseneck and 5th wheel towing

 

Shop gooseneck towing | Shop 5th wheel towing

 

 

 


 

Dune Buggy

 

a type of recreational off-road vehicle specially designed with a lightweight frame, large tires, a roll cage and a low center of gravity to be able to easily travel over sand and other difficult terrain; also see ATV and Side by Side

 

Learn more | Shop ATV towing products

 

 

 

 


 

Duplex Adapter

 

see Dual Output Adapter

 


 

E

 

Easy-Lock Latch

 

a basic, lever-type coupler latch that secures the coupler to a trailer ball using a metal catch; designed for specific trailer ball sizes and unable to be adjusted like a posi lock latch; also see Sleeve Lock Latch

 

Shop couplers

 

 

 

 


 

Electric Trailer Brakes

 

a type of trailer brakes that uses electrical signals and electromagnets to accentuate a brake drums or discs and assist the tow vehicle in decelerating the trailer; a connection to the tow vehicle’s wiring system and a brake control are required for operation

 

Learn more | Shop brake controls

 


 

Electrical Adapter

 

also called a ‘trailer electrical adapter’ or ‘adapter’; an electrical device that adapts the vehicle-side socket to a compatible mate for the trailer-side plug (e.g. 4-way flat connector to 6-way round connector); always classified by its connection from the vehicle to the trailer, never the trailer to the vehicle; typically designed to be plug-and-play, though some do require splicing; also see Dual Output Adapter

 

Learn more | Shop electrical adapters

 


 

Electrical Converter

 

see Taillight Converter

 


 

Enclosed Car Trailer

 

a type of enclosed trailer designed for transporting automobiles; provides better protection compared to the open design of a regular car trailer; similar to a toy hauler

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Enclosed Trailer

 

a type of trailer that has walls and a roof to completely enclose the cargo and keep it protected from the elements during travel; different from an open trailer

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Euro Mount Ball Mount

 

a type of ball mount offered exclusively by CURT Manufacturing that features a European-style design with a solid, round shank and a permanently attached trailer ball; requires no tools or torque specifications for installation, unlike a standard ball mount; available with a 1 1/4″ x 1 1/4″ shank only and with a 1 7/8″ or 2″ trailer ball

 

Learn more | Shop Euro Mount ball mounts

 

 

 


 

Exposed Hitch

 

a type of receiver hitch that is mounted in such a way that the main body is visible underneath the vehicle because of certain design characteristics or obstructions on the vehicle; denoted by a BB in the footnotes of the CURT Application Guide; also see Concealed Hitch

 

Learn more | Shop trailer hitches

 

 

 


 

Extended Cab

 

also known as a ‘king cab’, ‘super cab’, ‘club cab’ or ‘access cab’; a truck cab with extra seating behind the front seats, accessed by tilting the main seats forward or using suicide doors

 

 

 

 

 


 

Extender

 

see Receiver Tube Extender

 


 

F

 

Factory Bumper

 

see Stock Bumper

 


 

Factory-Equipped Hitch

 

see Factory Hitch

 


 

Factory Hitch

 

also called a ‘factory-equipped hitch’, ‘factory-installed hitch’ or ‘factory receiver’; a trailer hitch, usually a receiver hitch, that is provided and pre-installed by the vehicle manufacturer with the purchase of a new vehicle, usually as part of a towing prep package; may interfere with the installation of an aftermarket hitch

 


 

Factory-Installed Hitch

 

see Factory Hitch

 


 

Factory Receiver

 

a trailer hitch, particularly a receiver-style hitch as opposed to a gooseneck or 5th wheel hitch, that is equipped by the vehicle manufacturer, and that is included with the vehicle as part of a towing prep package; also see Factory Hitch

 


 

Factory Replacement Hitch

 

similar to an OEM-compatible hitch; a trailer hitch, particularly an aftermarket receiver-style hitch, that is designed to be a virtually identical replacement for a particular factory hitch

 


 

Factory Style

 

see OEM Compatible

 


 

Factory Tow Hook

 

a hook or ring that is included by the vehicle manufacturer and is intended for recovery towing or similar applications; usually mounted on the front end of a vehicle and typically mounted in pairs near the bumper, one on each side; also see Tow Hook

 

Shop tow hooks and straps

 

 

 

 


 

Factory Tow Package

 

see Towing Prep Package

 


 

Fairlead

 

see Winch Fairlead

 


 

Fascia

 

a type of plastic trim paneling that covers the bottom edges of some vehicles, particularly in the front and rear, adding aesthetic value and deterring rust damage to the body; may require trimming on some vehicles in order to install a receiver hitch

 

Learn more

 

 

 

 


 

FGAWR

 

see Front Gross Axle Weight Rating

 


 

Fifth Wheel Base Rail

 

see 5th Wheel Base Rail

 


 

Fifth Wheel Bracket

 

see 5th Wheel Bracket

 


 

Fifth Wheel Head

 

see 5th Wheel Head

 


 

Fifth Wheel Hitch

 

see 5th Wheel Hitch

 


 

Fifth Wheel Jaws

 

see 5th Wheel Jaws

 


 

Fifth Wheel Kingpin

 

see Kingpin

 


 

Fifth Wheel Legs

 

see 5th Wheel Legs

 


 

Fifth Wheel Pin Box

 

see 5th Wheel Pin Box

 


 

Fifth Wheel Roller

 

see 5th Wheel Roller

 


 

Fifth Wheel Towing

 

see 5th Wheel Towing

 


 

Fifth Wheel Trailer

 

see 5th Wheel Trailer

 


 

Fifth Wheel Wedge

 

see 5th Wheel Wedge

 


 

Fish Wire

 

also called ‘fishwire’; a specialized wire used in hitch installations to allow hardware to be pulled or ‘fished’ through an enclosed frame or bumper tube, particularly when the bolt mounting holes are otherwise difficult to access; features a coiled end to accept a threaded bolt

 

Learn more | Shop fish wire and other installation accessories

 

 

 


 

Fishtail

 

a scenario in which a vehicle’s rear wheels slide to one side, out of control, while moving forward; can occur as a result of unchecked trailer sway or in slippery road conditions; also see Jackknife

 

Learn more | Shop sway control

 


 

Fishwire

 

see Fish Wire

 


 

Fixed-Tongue Trailer Hitch

 

a trailer hitch, typically class 1, that has a permanently attached trailer ball platform as opposed to a receiver tube; unable to accept a ball mount or other hitch-mounted accessories that use a shank; denoted by an ‘L’ footnote in the CURT Application Guide

 

Learn more | Shop class 1 trailer hitches

 

 

 


 

Flat Towing

 

see Dignhy Towing

 


 

Flatbed Trailer

 

a type of trailer built with an open top platform without sides or any type of enclosure; typically designed for carrying heavy loads

 

Shop cargo straps

 

 

 

 


 

Flatbed Truck

 

a type of truck with an open-style platform-like bed instead of sides and a tailgate; typically built with a higher load capacity for heavy-duty or commercial use

 

Shop class 5 Commercial Duty trailer hitches

 

 

 


 

Fog Lamps

 

see Fog Lights

 


 

Fog Lights

 

also called ‘fog lamps’; auxiliary lights that are designed to provide a wide, flat beam for improved visibility when fog is present, compared to a common headlight or high beam; may also be used to alert other drivers on the road

 


 

Forage Harvester

 

also called a ‘chopper box’ or ‘silage harvester’; a type of agricultural trailer used for harvesting crops or grass by chopping it into small pieces and collecting it into a bin

 

Shop class 5 Commercial Duty trailer hitches

 

 

 


 

Forging

 

a manufacturing process involving the forming and shaping of metal in a heated furnace, using compressive forces; produces pieces that are stronger than equivalent cast or machined parts

 

Shop forged ball mounts

 


 

Four-Wheel Drive (4WD)

 

a drivetrain system in which all four wheels of the vehicle are powered by the engine simultaneously; different from all-wheel drive in that 4WD can be disengaged by the driver so that the vehicle operates on a two-wheel drive system only

 


 

Four Wheeler

 

see 4-Wheeler

 


 

FR

 

see Front Gross Axle Weight Rating

 


 

Frame

 

the part of a vehicle that serves as the base to which all other parts attach; typically used when mounting a trailer hitch on the vehicle

 

Learn more | Shop trailer hitches

 

 

 


 

Frame Mount Hitch

 

also called a ‘frame-mounted hitch’; a trailer hitch that is designed to be bolted to a vehicle’s frame or cross members in the front or rear; may have a permanent trailer ball platform or a receiver tube opening to accept an insert

 

Learn more | Shop trailer hitches

 

 

 

 


 

Front Gross Axle Weight Rating (FGAWR or FR)

 

a manufacturer’s rating for the maximum allowable weight that a vehicle’s front axle is designed to carry; typically less than the rear gross axle weight rating because the front axle is already weighed down by the engine; also see Gross Axle Weight Rating

 


 

Front Mount Hitch

 

also called a ‘front-mounted hitch’; a trailer hitch that mounts onto the front of a vehicle’s frame and provides a receiver tube for mounting a snowplow, cargo carrier or other accessory; typically only compatible with trucks, full-size vans and SUVs

 

Learn more | Shop front mount hitches

 

 

 

 


 

Front-Wheel Drive (FWD)

 

a drivetrain system in which the engine powers only the front wheels; common on most non-commercial vehicles that do not have four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive; also see Rear Wheel Drive

 


 

Full Trailer

 

a type of trailer that has four wheels, one in each corner, so that less of the trailer’s tongue weight is carried by the tow vehicle; also see Semi Trailer

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

FWD

 

see Front Wheel Drive

 


 

G

 

Galvanic Corrosion

 

a type of metal corrosion that occurs when two different types of metal come in contact, such as aluminum and steel; can be prevented with proper isolation of metal surfaces, using plastic spacers or a durable powder coat finish

 

Learn more | Shop isolator kit

 


 

GAW

 

see Gross Axle Weight

 


 

GAWR

 

see Gross Axle Weight Rating

 


 

 

GCVW

 

see Gross Combination Vehicle Weight

 


 

GCW

 

see Gross Combination Weight

 


 

GCWR

 

see Gross Combination Weight Rating

 


 

Gear Hauler

 

a type of small trailer designed for carrying camping and outdoor-related cargo and keeping it organized usually with a series of compartments; can be enclosed or in an open format; also see Cargo Carrier

 

Shop cargo carriers

 


 

Gooseneck Ball

 

also called a ‘gooseneck trailer ball’; a type of trailer ball particularly designed to insert into a gooseneck hitch; typically made with a 2 5/16″ diameter and able to accept more weight than most standard trailer balls

 

Learn more | Shop gooseneck balls

 

 

 

 


 

Gooseneck Ball Hole

 

a hole in the center of a gooseneck hitch and truck bed, designed to accept a gooseneck ball

 

Learn more | Shop gooseneck ball hole covers and other accessories

 

 

 

 

 


 

Gooseneck Hitch

 

a type of heavy-duty trailer hitch that mounts in the bed of a pickup truck and comes equipped with a ball to engage the coupling mechanism of a gooseneck trailer; uses an installation kit to attach to the frame of the truck above and forward of the rearmost axle; typically able to tow extremely heavy loads up to 30,000 lbs.; may be over-bed or under-bed in design; also see OEM-compatible

 

Learn more | Shop gooseneck hitches

 

 


 

Gooseneck Installation Kit

 

also called a ‘gooseneck install kit’; a set of mounting brackets and hardware, usually vehicle-specific in application, that attaches to the frame of a pickup truck, underneath the bed, and provides a mounting platform for a gooseneck hitch; may be designed for over-bed gooseneck hitches or under-bed gooseneck hitches

 

Learn more | Shop gooseneck installation kits

 

 


 

Gooseneck Towing

 

the act of pulling a gooseneck trailer with a pickup truck and gooseneck hitch; typically used in agricultural, commercial and industrial settings for livestock trailers and flatbed trailers; also see 5th Wheel Towing

 

Learn more | Shop gooseneck towing

 

 

 

 


 

Gooseneck Trailer

 

a type of trailer with a gooseneck-shaped tongue that uses a special coupler to connect to a gooseneck hitch; usually takes the form of a livestock trailer or flatbed trailer and able to carry extremely heavy loads; sometimes confused with a 5th wheel trailer

 

Learn more | Shop gooseneck towing

 

 

 


 

Gooseneck Trailer Ball

 

see Gooseneck Ball

 


 

Gravity Box

 

also called a ‘gravity wagon’ or ‘slant wagon’; a type of trailer with an angled, funnel-like floor that uses gravity to empty its contents out through a hole in the bottom; commonly used in farming to distribute seed or fertilizer in a field

 

 

 

 

 


 

Gravity Wagon

 

see Gravity Box

 


 

Gross Axle Weight (GAW)

 

the total amount of weight supported by both of a vehicle’s axles (front and rear), including the vehicle’s systems and all cargo and passengers

 


 

Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR)

 

a manufacturer’s rating for the maximum allowable weight that a vehicle’s axles are designed to carry; can apply to tow vehicles or trailers; sometimes divided into Front Gross Axle Weight Rating (FGAWR) and Rear Gross Axle Weight Rating (RGAWR)

 


 

Gross Combination Vehicle Weight (GCVW)

 

see Gross Combination Weight

 


 

Gross Combination Weight (GCW)

 

also called ‘Gross Combination Vehicle Weight’; the actual total combined weight of a tow vehicle and trailer, including all passengers and cargo

 


 

Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR)

 

a manufacturer’s rating for the maximum allowable weight of a combined tow vehicle and trailer; includes the weight of the vehicle, trailer, cargo, passengers and all fluids

 


 

Gross Trailer Weight (GTW)

 

the total weight of a trailer when fully loaded in its actual towing condition; typically used together with tongue weight to help determine whether or not the trailer can safely be towed by a particular vehicle; also see Ball Capacity

 


 

Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)

 

the total weight of a vehicle when fully loaded, including all cargo and passengers

 


 

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

 

a manufacturer’s rating for the maximum allowable weight of a vehicle when fully loaded, including passengers, cargo and fluids

 


 

Ground Effects
 

a feature found on some vehicles that uses aerodynamic body components to keep the vehicle more affixed to the road; may interfere with the installation of certain rear-mount receiver hitches

 


 

GTW

 

see Gross Trailer Weight

 


 

GVW

 

see Gross Vehicle Weight

 


 

GVWR

 

see Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

 


 

H

 

Hand Wheel

 

also called a ‘handwheel’; a type of coupler latch mechanism comprised of a threaded wheel on top of a trailer coupler that tightens or loosens the coupler assembly around a trailer ball

 

Shop couplers

 

 

 


 

Hand Winch

 

also called a ‘manual winch’ or ‘boat winch’ due to its common use on boat trailers; a type of winch that is manually operated using a crank handle; typically used with rope or a winch strap; also see Powered Winch

 

Shop winches and winch straps

 

 

 


 

Handle Nut

 

a special type of nut with a bendable handle that allows the user to hold the nut in place at the desired angle to attach a fastener in a hard-to-reach mounting place

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Handwheel

 

see Hand Wheel

 


 

Hard Top

 

also called a ‘hardtop’; a rigid, removable cover that fastens to a convertible vehicle and encloses the occupant compartment; typically made of metal or fiberglass

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Harness

 

see Wiring Harness

 


 

Hitch

 

see Trailer Hitch

 


 

Hitch Adapter

 

see Receiver Tube Adapter

 


 

Hitch Ball

 

see Trailer Ball

 


 

Hitch Bar

 

see Ball Mount

 


 

Hitch Class

 

a ranking applied to a rear mount trailer hitch, based on its receiver tube size and weight rating; usually identified by numbers or roman numerals on a five-point scale; see the individual classes, starting with Class 1 Trailer Hitch, for more information

 

Learn more | Shop rear mount trailer hitches

 


 

Hitch Clip

 

also called a ‘clip’; a small, hairpin-shaped metal piece used to retain a hitch pin in a receiver tube

 

Learn more | Shop pins & clips

 

 

 


 

Hitch Extender

 

see Receiver Tube Extender

 


 

Hitch Extension

 

see Receiver Tube Extender

 


 

Hitch Head

 

see 5th Wheel Head

 


 

Hitch Height

 

the distance from the ground to the top of a hitch receiver tube with the vehicle parked on level ground; used together with coupler height to determine the drop or rise needed when selecting a ball mount

 

Learn more | Shop ball mounts

 

 

 


 

Hitch Lock

 

also called a ‘locking pin’; a pin-type lock designed to secure a ball mount or other insert in a trailer hitch receiver tube to prevent theft; may have a barbell or dead bolt design; also see Coupler Lock and Trailer Lock

 

Learn more | Shop hitch locks

 

 

 


 

Hitch Pin

 

also called a ‘pin’ or ‘receiver pin’; a small metal rod used in combination with a hitch clip to hold a ball mount or other insert in a receiver tube; typically bent in an “L” shape or like a hockey stick and drilled or grooved at one end to accept the clip; also see Pin & Clip

 

Learn more | Shop pins & clips

 

 

 


 

Hitch Prep Package

 

see Towing Prep Package

 


 

Hitch Rating

 

the maximum amount of weight a trailer hitch can safely tow, relating particularly to the gross trailer weight rating and tongue weight rating, as determined by the manufacturer; also see Hitch Class

 

Learn more | Shop receiver hitches

 


 

Hitch Tube Cover

 

also called a ‘receiver cover’, ‘receiver tube cover’ or ‘trailer hitch cover’; a temporary cap placed over a trailer hitch’s receiver tube opening to protect the receiver tube from dirt, rust and other buildup; also used to mask or enhance the look of a hitch when not in use; can be designed to install using a pin & clip or by friction fit; also see Ball Hole Cover

 

Shop hitch tube covers

 

 

 


 

Hitch Weight

 

see Tongue Weight

 


 

Hole Cover

 

see Ball Hole Cover

 


 

House Trailer

 

see Travel Trailer

 


 

I

 

I.D.

 

see Inside Diameter

 


 

Inertia Activated Brake Control

 

see Inertia Based Brake Control

 


 

Inertia Actuated Brake Control

 

see Inertia Based Brake Control

 


 

Inertia-Based Brake Control

 

also called a ‘proportional brake control’, ‘inertia activated brake control’ or ‘inertia actuated brake control’; a type of brake control that measures the inertia of the tow vehicle using an accelerometer and applies power to the electric trailer brakes in proportion to that inertia when stopping; consistently more accurate than time based brake controls

 

Learn more | Shop brake controls

 

 


 

Insert

 

any hitch-mounted item that installs into a trailer hitch receiver tube opening using a shank (e.g. ball mount, cargo carrier, winch mount)

 


 

Inside Diameter (I.D.)

 

also called ‘ID’; the distance measured from the innermost points of a circular opening as opposed to the outermost points along the rim or outside diameter; applies particularly to circular objects with a hole or circular opening in the center, such as a wheel bearing or lunette eye

 


 

Integrated Sway Control

 

also known as ‘active sway control’; a feature of certain weight distribution hitches (namely the CURT TruTrack™ weight distribution system) that works to reduce trailer sway in addition to leveling out the trailer and tow vehicle, eliminating the need for a sway control unit; the TruTrack™ uses a spring & cam system and support brackets to resist lateral trailer movement

 

Learn more | Shop the CURT TruTrack weight distribution system

 

 


 

J

 

J684

 

a testing protocol developed by the Vehicle Equipment Safety Commission (VESC) to increase highway safety by reducing towing and hitch-related accidents; not intended to cover 5th wheel and pintle hook devices or towing methods; also see V-5

 


 

J2638

 

a testing protocol designed to establish minimum performance criteria for a tow vehicle and 5th wheel or gooseneck trailer at or below 30,000 lbs. gross trailer weight; establishes criteria for the trailer hitch, tow vehicle attachment structure, trailer attachment structure and coupling

 


 

Jack

 

see Trailer Jack

 


 

Jackknife

 

or ‘jack knife’; an extreme angle formed between a tow vehicle and trailer that typically occurs from improper braking, backing up or a loss of control on poor road conditions; also see Fishtail and Trailer Sway

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Jet Ski

 

see Personal Watercraft

 


 

K

 

Kids ATV

 

also called a ‘youth ATV’; a relatively small, less powerful all-terrain vehicle designed to be ridden and operated by a child; may take the form of a 3-wheeler or 4-wheeler

 

Learn more | Shop ATV towing

 

 

 

 


 

King Cab

 

the name used specifically by Nissan for its extended cab pickup trucks

 


 

Kingpin

 

also called a ‘5th wheel kingpin’; a coupling device at the center of a 5th wheel trailer’s tongue that is grasped by the jaws of a 5th wheel hitch, i.e. the male end of a 5th wheel connection; features a cylindrical shape that allows the trailer to rotate freely within the 5th wheel head to allow for proper turning and maneuvering

 

Shop 5th wheel towing

 

 


 

Kingpin Lock

 

a type of hitch lock that is specifically designed to fit over a 5th wheel kingpin and keep it from being coupled to a 5th wheel hitch

 

Shop 5th wheel kingpin locks

 

 

 

 


 

L

 

Landing Gear

 

a type of trailer jack system, commonly used on gooseneck and 5th wheel trailers, to raise and lower the coupler height when coupling and uncoupling; also used to stabilize the trailer when not in tow; should always be completely raised before towing

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

LB

 

see Long Bed

 


 

LED (Light-Emitting Diode)

 

a semiconducting light source that requires less amperage for illumination than a traditional light bulb

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Liftgate

 

a hydraulic or electrically powered platform, mounted on the backend of a truck or large commercial vehicle, that can be raised or lowered to assist in the loading of heavy items; sometimes referred to by the brand name ‘Tommy Gate Lift’; may interfere with the installation of certain rear-mount receiver hitches

 


 

Livestock Trailer

 

a type of trailer used for hauling horses, cows or other farm animals; can be a gooseneck trailer for hauling several animals or a bumper pull trailer for hauling one or two

 

Learn more | Shop rear-mount receiver hitches | Shop gooseneck towing

 

 

 


 

Load Equalizing Hitch

 

see Weight-Distribution Hitch

 


 

Load Level Air Compressor

 

a pump used in self-levelling and air suspension systems that distributes pressurized air as needed to help keep the vehicle level; may interfere with the installation of certain trailer hitches

 


 

Load Leveling Hitch

 

see Weight Distribution Hitch

 


 

Locking Pin

 

see Hitch Lock

 


 

Long Bed (LB)

 

also called a ‘long box’; a truck bed that is typically one or two feet longer than a short bed (compact long beds are generally 7′ long and full size are 8′ long); generally preferred over short bed trucks for 5th wheel and gooseneck towing; may vary depending on the truck manufacturer

 

Shop 5th wheel towing products | Shop gooseneck towing products

 

 

 


 

Long Box

 

see Long Bed

 


 

Low Side Switching

 

an electrical switch configuration that uses a direct ground connection to activate a signal; applies 12 volts to the bulb at all times and activates the signal by switching to the ground connection; may require a taillight converter for a proper trailer wiring connection

 

Learn more | Shop low-side switching taillight converter

 


 

Lunette Eye

 

also called a ‘lunette ring’; a thick metal ring that serves as the trailer side of a coupling mechanism to attach to a pintle hook, ball & pintle combination or clevis pin on a tow vehicle

 

Shop lunette eyes

 

 

 

 


 

Lunette Ring

 

see Lunette Eye

 


 

M

 

Manual Winch

 

see Hand Winch

 


 

Motorhome

 

a motorized recreational vehicle with a driving compartment, living quarters and many of the amenities of a home; often used for long distance traveling and vacationing; can also be used for towing a trailer or dinghy

 

Shop RV trailer hitches

 

 

 


 

MPV

 

see All Purpose Vehicle

 


 

Multi-Fit Trailer Hitch

 

also called a ‘multi-fit hitch’ or ‘universal hitch’; a type of receiver hitch that features an adjustable main body to fit a number of different vehicles; may require some drilling; not as ideal as a custom hitch

 

Shop multi-fit trailer hitches

 

 

 


 

Multi-Utility Vehicle

 

see All Purpose Vehicle

 


 

Multiplex

 

see Pulse Width Modulation

 


 

MUV

 

see All Purpose Vehicle

 


 

N

 

New Body

 

a term used to refer to the latest body style of a vehicle or a newer body style compared to a previously manufactured body style or old body; especially applies when two different body styles are manufactured in the same year (the newer style is referred to as the ‘new body’)

 


 

Non-Powered Electrical Converter

 

see Non-Powered Taillight Converter

 


 

Non-Powered Taillight Converter

 

also called a ‘non-powered electrical converter’ or ‘non-powered converter’; a type of taillight converter that operates by drawing power through a tow vehicle’s taillight circuitry, rather than directly from the battery as in a powered taillight converter; can cause dimming in vehicle’s taillights

 

Learn more | Shop non-powered taillight converters

 

 

 


 

O

 

O.D.

 

see Outside Diameter

 


 

OEM

 

see Original Equipment Manufacturer

 


 

OEM-Compatible

 

also called ‘original equipment compatible’ or ‘factory-style’; a term used to refer to aftermarket automotive products that are specifically designed to fit or work with components made by the original manufacturer

 

Learn more | Shop OEM-compatible gooseneck products | Shop OEM-compatible 5th wheel products

 


 

Old Body

 

also called ‘classic body’; a term used to refer to the previously manufactured body style of a vehicle, compared to a new body style or the latest body style that is used; especially applies when two different body styles are manufactured in the same year (the previously used style is referred to as the ‘old body’ or ‘classic body’)

 


 

Open Trailer

 

a type of trailer with an open-style platform, as opposed to having full walls and a roof like an enclosed trailer; usually has sides, unlike a flatbed trailer

 

Learn more | Shop rear mount receiver hitches

 

 

 

 


 

Original Equipment Compatible

 

see OEM-Compatible

 


 

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)

 

a term used to refer to parts that are made by the actual manufacturer of the vehicle as opposed to an aftermarket manufacturer; also see OEM-Compatible

 


 

Outside Diameter (O.D.)

 

also called ‘OD’; the distance measured from the outermost points of a circular object as opposed to the innermost points or inside diameter; may refer to a circular object with a hole or circular opening in the center, such as a wheel bearing or lunette eye

 


 

Owner’s Manual

 

a booklet provided by a vehicle manufacturer that contains key information about the specific vehicle, including capacities, maintenance recommendations and safe practices; also usually available for download on the manufacturer’s website

 


 

P

 

Parking Lights

 

see Running Lights

 


 

Payload

 

the cargo or freight transported by a vehicle or trailer; excludes the weight of the tow vehicle and trailer; also see Gross Trailer Weight and Gross Vehicle Weight

 


 

Personal Watercraft (PWC)

 

a relatively small recreational vehicle designed to travel over water and bear one or two persons at a time; often referred to by the trademarked brand names Jet Ski, Wave Runner or Sea-Doo

 

Learn more | Shop submersible marine trailer lights

 

 

 

 


 

Pin

 

see Hitch Pin

 


 

Pin & Clip

 

a retaining device, comprised of a hitch pin and hitch clip, used to install a ball mount or other receiver tube insert; may also be used on a 5th wheel hitch to hold the 5th wheel legs into the base rails

 

Learn more | Shop pins & clips

 

 

 

 


 

Pin Box

 

see 5th Wheel Pin Box

 


 

Pintle Hitch

 

a heavy-duty coupling mechanism comprised of a pintle hook on the vehicle side and a lunette eye on the trailer side; commonly used for heavy-duty towing in military, construction, industrial and agricultural applications

 

Shop pintle hitches

 

 

 

 


 

Pintle Hook

 

the ‘jaw’ portion of a pintle hitch that mounts onto a tow vehicle, using the receiver tube opening or a pintle mount, and couples to a lunette eye mounted on a trailer

 

Shop pintle hooks

 

 

 

 


 

Pintle Mount

 

a receiver hitch insert with a flat plate that provides a mounting platform for a pintle hook or ball & pintle combination; typically has a series of holes to allow the pintle hook to be adjusted vertically

 

Shop pintle mounts

 

 

 

 


 

Plug

 

the male end of a connector used to hook up trailer wiring to a tow vehicle; comes in different formats, including round, flat and square; also see Socket

 

Learn more | Shop plugs and sockets

 

 

 

 


 

Popup Camper

 

a lightweight recreational vehicle trailer that provides many of the amenities of a travel trailer but that can be collapsed down into a compact size for transportation

 

Shop rear mount trailer hitches

 

 

 


 

Posi-Lock Coupler

 

a type of coupler that uses a posi-lock latch to secure itself to a trailer ball; may be a straight-tongue coupler or A-frame coupler

 

Learn more | Shop couplers

 

 

 

 


 

Posi-Lock Latch

 

a type of coupler latch that has an adjustable nut that raises or lowers the metal catch to allow the amount of tension placed on the trailer ball to be adjusted; may be used on a straight-tongue coupler or A-frame coupler

 

Learn more | Shop coupler lock latches

 

 

 

 


 

Powder Coat Finish

 

a type of coating used on metal surfaces to protect against rust and other damage and that is characteristically more durable than most paint finishes; created by applying a layer of powder to the surface of the object and then heating the object to a certain temperature for a certain amount of time, curing the powder into a solid coating; also see Bonderite Coating

 

Learn more

 

 


 

Powered Electrical Converter

 

see Powered Taillight Converter

 


 

Powered Taillight Converter

 

a type of taillight converter that draws power directly from the tow vehicle’s battery, bypassing the vehicle’s electrical systems and allowing the trailer lights to be illuminated with virtually no draw on the vehicle’s taillight circuitry or other electrical components; recommended on most vehicles with LED taillights; requires a direct connection to the vehicle’s battery using a powered converter wiring kit; also see Non-Powered Taillight Converter

 

Learn more | Shop powered taillight converters

 


 

Powered Winch

 

a type of winch that operates using electricity, gasoline or pressurized air to allow for greater amounts of torque and pulling power compared to a hand winch; typically mounted on the front end of pickup trucks or other large vehicles and used for recovery towing applications

 

 

 

 

 


 

Proportional Brake Control

 

see Inertia-Based Brake Control

 


 

Puck System

 

a towing component, found in some truck beds, that is designed to allow for more streamlined gooseneck or 5th wheel towing; made up of a center hole and four mounting points or ‘pucks’ laid out in a rectangular pattern that are able to accept certain OEM-compatible 5th wheel and gooseneck products; can be purchased as part of the towing prep package on certain Ford, GM, Nissan and Ram trucks

 

Learn more | Shop OEM-compatible gooseneck | Shop OEM-compatible 5th wheel

 

 


 

Pulse Width Modulation (PWM)

 

also called ‘multiplex’; a type of vehicle wiring system that uses varying signal intensities across a single wire to control more than one trailer electrical function; made up of two subcategories: ST systems and STT systems; commonly found on high-end imported vehicles such as Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes; also see PWM Taillight Converter

 

Learn more | Shop PWM taillight converters

 

 


 

PWC

 

see Personal Watercraft

 


 

PWM

 

see Pulse Width Modulation

 


 

PWM Taillight Converter

 

a type of taillight converter that uses pulse width modulation (varying signal intensities across a single wire) to control more than one trailer electrical function; requires a direct connection to the vehicle’s battery using a powered converter wiring kit; commonly used on high-end imported vehicles such as Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes

 

Learn more | Shop PWM taillight converters

 

 

 


 

Q

 

Quad

 

see Quad Bike

 


 

Quad Bike

 

a type of small all-terrain vehicle with four wheels, much like a 4-wheeler, that is intended for racing or recreational use rather than utility purposes; also see Sport ATVKids ATV and Utility ATV

 

Learn more | Shop ATV towing

 

 

 

 


 

Quad Cab

 

the name used specifically by Dodge and Ram for their extended cab pickup trucks; also used for some of their older crew cab trucks

 


 

R

 

Ratchet Strap

 

a type of heavy-duty cargo strap that uses a ratcheting assembly to allow higher tension to be placed on a load, compared to a cambuckle strap; ideal for larger, heavier cargo

 

Learn more | Shop cargo straps

 

 

 


 

Rear Gross Axle Weight Rating (RGAWR or RR)

 

a manufacturer’s rating for the maximum allowable weight that a vehicle’s rear axle is designed to carry; typically higher than the front gross axle weight rating because the front axle already carries the weight of the engine; also see Gross Axle Weight Rating

 


 

Rear Mount Trailer Hitch

 

also called a ‘rear-mounted trailer hitch’; a type of receiver hitch that mounts on the rear of the vehicle, as opposed to the front; also see Front Mount Hitch

 

Learn more | Shop rear mount hitches

 

 

 

 


 

Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD)

 

a drivetrain system in which the engine powers only the rear set of wheels, as opposed to the front set of wheels or all four wheels; less common on non-commercial vehicles than front-wheel drive

 


 

Receiver Cover

 

see Hitch Tube Cover

 


 

Receiver Extension

 

see Receiver Tube Extender

 


 

Receiver Hitch

 

a type of trailer hitch with a receptacle or tube opening to accept the shank of an insert such as a ball mount, bike rack or cargo carrier; may be rear-mounted, front-mounted, bumper-mounted or frame-mounted; different from fixed-tongue hitches, 5th wheel hitches and gooseneck hitches

 

Learn more | Shop receiver hitches

 

 

 


 

Receiver Pin

 

see Hitch Pin

 


 

Receiver Tube

 

the female end of a receiver hitch (usually positioned horizontally, though sometimes vertically as in a vertical receiver hitch) that accepts the shank of an insert such as a ball mount or cargo carrier; commonly 1 1/4″ x 1 1/4″ or 2″ x 2″ in inside dimensions; can also be 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″

 

Learn more | Shop receiver hitches

 

 

 


 

Receiver Tube Adapter

 

also called an ‘adapter’ or ‘hitch adapter’; a device that adapts the receiver tube of a trailer hitch from one size to another to accommodate a different shank size, whether larger or smaller; may reduce the overall weight capacity of the trailer hitch; also see Receiver Tube Extender

 

Shop receiver tube adapters

 

 

 


 

Receiver Tube Cover

 

see Hitch Tube Cover

 


 

Receiver Tube Extender

 

also called an ‘extender’, ‘receiver extension’, ‘hitch extension’ or ‘hitch extender’; a device that fits into the receiver tube of a trailer hitch and extends the receiver tube by a certain length; usually used to give a hitch-mounted accessory, such as a cargo carrier or bike rack, more clearance of the vehicle’s bumper or spare tire; may reduce the overall weight capacity of the trailer hitch; also see Receiver Tube Adapter

 

Shop receiver tube extenders

 


 

Recreational Vehicle (RV)

 

a type of automotive vehicle that has a living space and is made specifically for recreational use, namely camping; typically refers to a motorhome but can also refer to a travel trailer, popup camper, truck camper, teardrop trailer or toy hauler; may also refer to smaller vehicles designed mainly for recreational use, such as ATVs, personal watercraft and snowmobiles

 

Shop RV towing

 

 


 

Recreational Vehicle Trailer

 

see Travel Trailer

 


 

Recovery Strap

 

see Tow Strap or Winch Strap

 


 

Recovery Towing

 

a type of towing in which a tow hook, tow strap and a second vehicle are used to rescue or recover a vehicle that has become stuck and unable to drive (e.g. a car stuck in the ditch); typically used in situations where the vehicle to be recovered is off the road

 

Shop tow hooks and straps

 


 

Regular Cab

 

also called a ‘standard cab’; a truck cab with two full-size, front-hinging doors and seating for two or three people; has no extra space or seating behind the main seats, unlike an extended cab or crew cab

 

 

 

 

 


 

RGAWR

 

see Rear Gross Axle Weight Rating

 


 

Rise

 

the amount of distance the trailer ball platform of a ball mount is set above the shank, as measured from the top of the shank to the base of the ball; the opposite of drop; intended to compensate for a particularly high-riding trailer, compared to the tow vehicle; also see Coupler Height and Hitch Height

 

Learn more | Shop ball mounts

 

 

 


 

Robotic Welding

 

a type of welding that uses automated machinery and processes to streamline the welding process, speeding up production and improving the consistency of the weld lines; used in the manufacturing process of many CURT trailer hitches

 

Learn more

 

 

 

 


 

Roll Pan Bumper

 

a type of bumper that is flush with the surrounding components; common on lowered trucks; may interfere with installation of a receiver hitch, depending on the design

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Round Bar

 

a type of weight distribution spring bar that has a round profile, as opposed to a square profile, and that mounts onto the hitch head by inserting up through the bottom; generally has a lower capacity compared to a trunnion bar; also see Round Bar Weight Distribution Hitch

 

Learn more | Shop round bar WD hitches

 

 

 


 

Round Bar Weight Distribution Hitch

 

a type of weight distribution hitch that has round spring bars that slide into the bottom of the hitch head; different from a trunnion bar WD hitch, which has square bars that mount on the center of the hitch head; generally has a lower capacity compared to trunnion bar WD hitch

 

Learn more | Shop round bar WD hitches

 

 

 


 

Round Tube Hitch

 

a type of receiver hitch with a main body that is manufactured from round tubing and that is designed to be more visually appealing than a square tube hitch on certain applications; also typically weighs less than a comparative square tube hitch

 

Learn more | Shop receiver hitches

 

 

 


 

RR

 

see Rear Gross Axle Weight Rating

 


 

Running Lights

 

also called ‘parking lights’; a set of secondary lights on a vehicle, usually part of the headlight and taillight assemblies, that illuminate relatively dimly to increase visibility of the vehicle for other drivers; not intended to replace the functions of headlights or brake lights

 

Shop towing electrical

 

 

 


 

RV

 

see Recreational Vehicle

 


 

RV Trailer

 

see Travel Trailer

 


 

RWD

 

see Rear Wheel Drive

 


 

S

 

Safety Chains

 

a pair of chains that attach from a trailer tongue to a hitch, using hooks, to keep the trailer connected to the tow vehicle in the event that the coupler becomes detached while moving; required by law for towing; should be crossed once underneath the coupler for proper hookup

 

Learn more | Shop safety chains

 

 

 


 

SB

 

see Short Bed

 


 

Semi Trailer

 

a type of trailer built on a central or rearward axle so that a portion of the trailer’s tongue weight rests on the tow vehicle or trailer jack, rather than a second axle on the front end, as in a full trailer; may have more than one axle

 

Learn more | Shop trailer hitches

 

 

 


 

Shank

 

see Ball Mount Shank or Trailer Ball Shank

 


 

Short Bed (SB)

 

also called a ‘short box’; a pickup truck bed that is typically 5.5′ to 6.5′ long, about a foot or two shorter than a long bed; may vary depending on the manufacturer; usually requires a roller for proper 5th wheel towing, if applicable

 

Learn more | Shop 5th wheel rollers

 

 

 


 

Side-by-Side (SXS)

 

a type of large all-terrain vehicle that has two to six seats arranged in a row or set of rows and is generally intended for utility purposes; usually equipped with a roll cage and operated using a steering wheel, as opposed to handle bars as in a 4 wheeler

 

Learn more | Shop ATV towing

 


 

Silage Harvester

 

see Forage Harvester

 


 

Single Axle Trailer

 

a trailer with only one axle; usually smaller and more lightweight compared to a tandem axle trailer or tri-axle trailer

 

Shop trailer hitches

 

 

 

 


 

Single Horse Trailer

 

a type of enclosed livestock trailer that provides enough space to transport one horse; may be a bumper pull trailer or a goosneck trailer

 

Learn more | Shop receiver hitches | Shop gooseneck hitches

 

 

 

 


 

Slant Wagon

 

see Gravity Box

 


 

Sled

 

see Snowmobile

 


 

Sleeve-Lock Latch

 

a type of coupler latch, particularly on A-frame couplers, that uses a spring-loaded, sliding metal sleeve to secure or release a jaw-like mechanism over a trailer ball; sometimes equipped with a lever to assist operation of the sleeve; designed for specific trailer ball sizes; unable to be adjusted like a posi-lock latch; also see Easy-Lock Latch

 

Shop A-frame couplers

 

 

 


 

SMT

 

see Surface Mount Technology

 


 

Snow Machine

 

see Snowmobile

 


 

Snowmobile

 

also called a ‘sled’ or ‘snow machine’; a type of recreational vehicle with skis and a caterpillar track designed to travel over snow and bear one or two persons at a time

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Socket

 

the female end of a connector used to hook up trailer wiring to a tow vehicle; comes in different formats, including round, flat and square; also see Plug

 

Learn more | Shop plugs & sockets

 

 

 

 


 

Sport ATV

 

a type of all-terrain vehicle that is specifically intended for recreational use and is characterized by higher acceleration capabilities, improved suspension and a more lightweight design than a utility ATV

 

Learn more | Shop ATV towing

 

 

 

 


 

Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV)

 

a type of automotive vehicle with a station-wagon-like body built on a light truck chassis; usually equipped with four-wheel drive for on- or off-road capability

 

Learn more | Shop trailer hitches

 

 

 

 


 

Spring Bar

 

a semi-rigid metal bar used in pairs on a weight distribution hitch to redistribute the tongue weight of a trailer across the tow vehicle and trailer by applying upward tension on the receiver hitch; may be in the form of a round bar or trunnion bar

 

Learn more | Shop weight distribution hitches

 

 

 


 

Square Tube Hitch

 

a type of receiver hitch with a main body that is manufactured from square tubing and typically has a slightly higher weight capacity compared to an equivalent round tube hitch

 

Learn more | Shop receiver hitches

 

 

 

 


 

ST Wiring System (Stop / Tail)

 

a type of pulse width modulation wiring system that uses one wire to control the stop (brake) lights and taillights and separate wires to control the left and right turn signals; different than an STT system, which uses a single wire for all three functions

 

Shop PWM taillight converters

 

 

 


 

Stabilizing Strap

 

see Support Strap

 


 

Stake Pocket

 

a rectangular recessed socket, accessible from the top surface of a truck’s bed rail, designed to accept the mounting stakes of accessories such as tie-down anchors, ladder racks or headache racks

 

Shop tie-down anchors

 

 

 

 


 

Standard Bumper

 

a plain bumper without a trailer ball platform for towing, unlike a step bumper or cowboy bumper; the most common type of bumper on smaller vehicles

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Standard Cab

 

see Regular Cab

 


 

Step Bumper

 

also called a ‘tow bumper’; a type of bumper with a recessed center platform with holes in it to mount a trailer ball for towing; similar to a cowboy bumper

 

Shop trailer balls

 

 

 

 


 

Stock Bumper

 

also called a ‘factory bumper’; a bumper that has been installed by the original vehicle manufacturer or OEM

 


 

Straight-Tongue Trailer

 

a type of trailer with a tongue that consists of a single beam, extending from the main frame of the trailer to the coupler; different from an A-frame trailer

 

Learn more | Shop straight-tongue couplers

 

 

 

 


 

STT Wiring System (Stop / Tail / Turn)

 

a type of pulse width modulation wiring system that uses a single wire to control the stop (brake) lights, taillights and turn signals; different than an ST system, which uses two wires to accomplish this same function

 

Shop PWM taillight converters

 

 

 


 

Subcompact Car

 

essentially the smallest type of car, having an interior area that is less than 165 cu. in.; characterized by its economical gas mileage; sometimes used for towing a bike rack or cargo carrier; smaller than a compact car

 

Learn more | Shop class 1 trailer hitches

 

 

 


 

Sub-Frame

 

the portion of a vehicle’s unibody frame that supports the engine and front suspension

 


 

Suicide Doors

 

a type of vehicle door that has rearward hinges and that opens toward the front, opposite a standard vehicle door; usually seen on extended cab pickup trucks and some classic cars

 


 

Super Cab

 

the name used specifically by Ford for their extended cab pickup trucks

 


 

Support Strap

 

also called a ‘stabilizing strap’; a supplementary strap used for adding support to an unsupported load such as a bike rack or cargo carrier

 

Learn more | Shop bike rack accessories

 

 

 

 


 

Surface Mount Technology (SMT)

 

a type of electronic circuitry in which components are mounted directly to the surface of the circuit board instead of through holes made in the board using wire leads; allows for smaller components, more components per area, lower resistance, reduced heat generation and longer life cycles; used in many CURT taillight converters, custom vehicle-to-trailer wiring harnesses and custom original equipment vehicle-to-trailer connectors with a converter

 

Learn more | Shop custom wiring | Shop taillight converters

 

 


 

Surge Brakes

 

a type of trailer brake system that is entirely self-contained and uses the momentum of the trailer behind the tow vehicle to accentuate the trailer brakes, using a hydraulic cylinder and brake fluid; common on large boat trailers; not compatible with a brake control, unlike electric trailer brakes

 

Learn more

 

 

 


 

SUV

 

see Sport Utility Vehicle

 


 

Sway

 

see Trailer Sway

 


 

Sway Bar

 

sometimes used incorrectly to refer to a sway control unit or a weight distribution hitch; a spring mechanism on a vehicle’s suspension system that helps reduce body roll; not associated directly with a trailer hitch

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Sway Control Unit

 

also called a ‘sway control’; a device that connects to both a trailer hitch and trailer and uses an abrasive pad, similar to a brake pad, to reduce the trailer’s tendency to sway by resisting lateral movement; should not be used to correct sway caused by improper tongue weight; may be used in combination with a weight distribution hitch or with a sway tab ball mount; generally used in pairs to maximize effectiveness

 

Learn more | Shop sway control

 

 

 


 

SXS

 

see Side-by-Side

 


 

T

 

T-Connector

 

an application-specific wiring harness that ‘Ts’ into existing tow vehicle wiring to provide a standard electrical connector; may use multiple plugs to ‘T’ into the taillight assembly as in a custom vehicle-to-trailer wiring harness or a single OEM-compatible plug to plug into a special socket provided by the vehicle manufacturer as in a custom original equipment vehicle-to-trailer connector

 

Learn more | Shop T-connectors

 

 

 


 

Tag Along Trailer

 

see Bumper-Pull Trailer

 


 

Tail Lamps

 

see Taillights

 


 

Tail Lights

 

see Taillights

 


 

Tailgate

 

the rear wall of a truck bed that folds down or swings out for easier loading and unloading of cargo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Taillamps

 

see Taillights

 


 

Taillight Converter

 

also called an ‘electrical converter’; an electrical device that converts a tow vehicle’s wiring system to be compatible with a trailer’s wiring system (e.g. 3-wire system to 2-wire system) by splicing into the vehicle’s wiring, usually at the taillight assembly; may also be integrated into a T-connector; also see Powered Taillight Converter and Non-Powered Taillight Converter

 

Learn more | Shop taillight converters

 

 

 


 

Taillights

 

also called ‘taillamps’; a set of red lights mounted on the back of a vehicle that illuminate when the vehicle’s headlights are turned on to increase visibility of the vehicle; may be combined with the vehicle’s brake lights and reverse lights or may be independently mounted; may be used to splice in a taillight converter or plug in a custom vehicle-to-trailer wiring harness

 

Shop towing electrical

 

 

 


 

Tandem Axle Trailer

 

also called a ‘double axle trailer’; a trailer with two fixed axles and four wheels; typically has a higher capacity than single-axle trailers and lower capacity than tri-axle trailers

 

Shop trailer hitches

 

 

 

 


 

Teardrop Camper

 

see Teardrop Trailer

 


 

Teardrop Trailer

 

also called a ‘teardrop camper’; a type of small travel trailer that provides sleeping space for one or two people and typically some storage space for belongings or supplies, usually in the rear compartment; sometimes equipped with a basic kitchen; named for its teardrop-like shape

 

Shop trailer hitches

 

 

 

 


 

Three-Axle Trailer

 

see Tri Axle Trailer

 


 

Three-Wheeler

 

see 3 Wheeler

 


 

Three-Wire System

 

also called a ‘3-wire system’; a type of vehicle wiring system that uses three separate wires to operate the brake lights, taillights and turn signals; one of the most common types of wiring systems used on automotive vehicles; also see Two-Wire System and PWM System

 

Learn more | Shop 3-to-2-wire taillight converters

 

 

 

 


 

Tie-Down Anchor

 

a ring or hook, mounted on a vehicle or trailer, that serves as a point to which a rope, strap or chain can be attached to help secure cargo; commonly found in utility trailers, but can also be found in the back of a pickup truck, van or utility vehicle

 

Shop tie-down anchors

 

 

 


 

Time-Activated Brake Control

 

see Time Based Brake Control

 


 

Time-Actuated Brake Control

 

see Time Based Brake Control

 


 

Time-Based Brake Control

 

also called a ‘time activated brake control’, ‘time actuated brake control’ or ‘time delayed brake control’; a brake control that increases the amount of pressure to the trailer brakes over time, based on the preset gain setting; typically requires little or no calibration; less precise than an inertia based brake control

 

Learn more | Shop brake controls

 

 

 


 

Time-Delayed Brake Control

 

see Time Based Brake Control

 


 

Tongue

 

see Trailer Ball Platform or Trailer Tongue

 


 

Tongue Weight (TW)

 

also called ‘hitch weight’; the weight exerted at the vehicle-trailer coupling point when the trailer is fully loaded and hooked up for towing; should generally be 10-15% of the gross trailer weight; also see Vertical Load Limit

 

Learn more

 

 

 


 

Torque

 

a measurement of the turning force on an object such as a bolt or a flywheel (e.g. pushing or pulling the handle of a wrench when tightening a bolt); all trailer hitch installations require a certain amount of torque (i.e. torque specifications) to be applied to the fasteners; also see Torque Wrench

 

Shop hitch installation accessories

 


 

Torque Specs

 

see Torque Specifications

 


 

Torque Specifications

 

the amount of turning force or torque that should be applied to a particular set of bolts or other fasteners, as prescribed by the manufacturer; may apply to trailer hitch installation hardware, trailer ball hardware or others

 

Shop hitch installation accessories

 


 

Torque Wrench

 

a type of wrench that indicates how much torque is being applied to the fastener being turned, whether tightening or loosening; used when specific torque specifications must be applied to hardware

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Tow Ball

 

see Trailer Ball

 


 

Tow Bar

 

a towable device that bolts onto the front of a vehicle and features a coupler to allow the vehicle to be towed by another larger vehicle, such as a motorhome; typically adjustable in design to allow for different vehicle sizes; also see Dinghy Towing

 

Shop tow bars

 

 

 


 

Tow Bumper

 

see Step Bumper

 


 

Tow Dolly

 

a two-wheeled towable device designed to cradle the front wheels of a vehicle to allow it to be towed by another larger vehicle, such as a motorhome; also see Dinghy Towing

 

Shop RV towing

 

 

 

 


 

Tow Hitch

 

see Trailer Hitch

 


 

Tow Hook

 

a large metal hook or ring mounted on the front or rear of a vehicle, usually on the bumper or integrated with the bumper, for recovery towing situations; may also be hitch-mounted; typically used in combination with a tow strap

 

Shop tow hooks

 

 

 


 

Tow Rating

 

a manufacturer’s rating for the maximum amount of weight that can safely be towed by a particular vehicle, taking into account its engine size, transmission, axle ratio, brakes, chassis, cooling systems, etc.; usually based on gross trailer weight rather than trailer size, though limits may be imposed for maximum frontal area of a trailer and overall length; also see Gross Combination Weight Rating

 


 

Tow Strap

 

a length of heavy-duty woven fibers or other material designed to be used with a tow hook to pull free a disable vehicle in a recovery towing situation; also see Winch Strap

 

Shop tow straps and hooks

 

 

 

 


 

Tow Vehicle

 

an automotive vehicle that is used to pull a trailer or some other towable load, such as a cargo carrier or dinghy; may be a car, van, truck, SUV, RV, etc.; typically requires towing equipment such as a trailer hitch and a wiring connector

 

Learn more | Shop trailer hitches

 

 

 


 

Towable Log Splitter

 

a hydraulic, typically gas-powered machine designed to split large pieces of wood into smaller pieces and that is built with wheels, a coupler and all the necessary components to be hitched up to a tow vehicle for easy transportation

 

Shop trailer hitches

 

 

 


 

Towing Package

 

see Towing Prep Package

 


 

Towing Prep Package

 

also called a ‘trailering package’, ‘towing package’, ‘factory tow package’ or ‘hitch prep package’; a vehicle option offered by automotive manufacturers that includes certain modifications and equipment (such as a receiver hitch and/or truck bed puck system) to optimize the vehicle for towing a trailer

 

Learn more | Shop OEM 5th wheel products | Shop OEM-compatible gooseneck products

 


 

Toy Hauler

 

a type of motorhome or travel trailer that includes a living space and a large area in the rear for storing recreational vehicles such as ATVs or motorcycles; usually equipped with a ramp on the rear to allow vehicles to be easily driven into the storage area

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Trailer Ball

 

also called a ‘hitch ball’ or ‘tow ball’; a spherical metal device that mounts onto a trailer ball platform using a threaded shank and nut and provides an attachment point for a trailer coupler; also see Gooseneck Ball

 

Learn more | Shop trailer balls

 

 

 

 


 

Trailer Ball Hole

 

a hole in the tongue of a ball mount, step bumper or fixed-tongue trailer hitch that is designed to accept a trailer ball shank; also see Gooseneck Ball Hole

 

Learn more

 

 

 

 


 

Trailer Ball Platform

 

also called a ‘ball platform’ or ‘tongue’; the horizontal, flat bar of a ball mount or fixed-tongue hitch that provides a hole where a trailer ball can be mounted

 

Learn more | Shop ball mounts

 

 

 

 


 

Trailer Ball Shank

 

also called a ‘ball shank’; the threaded stem of a trailer ball that inserts into a ball platform and is fastened using a nut and washer; different from a ball mount shank

 

Learn more | Shop trailer balls

 

 

 

 


 

Trailer Brakes

 

a braking system built into a trailer’s axle(s) that activates either by electric impulse, as in electric trailer brakes, or a hydraulic mechanism, as in surge brakes; usually in the form of drum brakes

 

Learn more | Shop brake controls

 


 

Trailer Coupler

 

see Coupler

 


 

Trailer Coupler Lock

 

see Coupler Lock or Trailer Lock

 


 

Trailer Electrical Adapter

 

see Electrical Adapter

 


 

Trailer Hitch

 

also called a ‘tow hitch’; a device that attaches to a vehicle and serves as the connection apparatus between a tow vehicle and a trailer; usually refers to a receiver hitch, which has a tube to accept a shank; may also refer to a 5th wheel hitch or gooseneck hitch; often used incorrectly to refer to a ball mount

 

Learn more | Shop trailer hitches

 

 

 


 

Trailer Hitch Cover

 

see Hitch Tube Cover

 


 

Trailer Jack

 

also called a ‘jack’; a mechanical device used for supporting, raising and lowering the tongue of a trailer; also see Landing Gear

 

Shop trailer jacks

 

 

 

 


 

Trailer Lock

 

a type of lock that fits over or in a trailer coupler to prevent theft or unwanted use of the trailer; specifically used to secure the trailer when it is parked, unlike a coupler lock

 

Shop trailer locks

 

 

 

 


 

Trailer Sway

 

also known as ‘yaw’, ‘whipping’ or ‘sway’; refers to the fishtailing action of a trailer caused by external forces that set the trailer’s mass into a lateral motion, with the trailer’s wheels serving as the axis or pivot point; can be countered using a sway control unit or integrated sway control; may also be caused by the improper use of equipment or by excessive tongue weight

 

Learn more | Shop the TruTrack WD hitchShop sway control

 

 

 


 

Trailer Tongue

 

also called the ‘tongue’; the part of a trailer that extends forward from the trailer’s main body and includes the trailer coupler; also see A-Frame Trailer and Straight Tongue Trailer

 

Shop trailer couplers

 

 

 

 


 

Trailering Package

 

see Towing Prep Package

 


 

Travel Trailer

 

also called a ‘camper’, ‘caravan trailer’, ‘house trailer’, ‘conventional trailer’, ‘ recreational vehicle trailer’ or ‘RV trailer’; a type of large camper equipped with a living space and typcially designed for long-term, long-distance travel; may be designed as a 5th wheel trailer or bumper pull trailer; also see Recreational Vehicle

 

Shop specialized towing | Shop 5th wheel towing

 

 

 


 

Tri-Axle Trailer

 

a trailer with three axles and six wheels; commonly takes the form of a gooseneck trailer and has a higher towing capacity than a tandem-axle trailer or single-axle trailer

 

Learn more | Shop gooseneck towing | Shop receiver hitches

 

 

 

 


 

Truck Bed

 

also called a ‘truck box’; the rear portion of a truck, designed for holding cargo; usually equipped with sides and a tailgate; also see Short Bed, Long Bed and Flatbed Truck

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Truck Bed Rail

 

a veneer or bracket attached to the top of a truck bed side wall to protect or enhance the truck’s visual appearance

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Truck Box

 

see Truck Bed

 


 

Truck Cab

 

also called a ‘cabin’; the enclosed compartment of a pickup truck where the driver and passengers sit; may be different sizes, including regular cab, extended cab and crew cab

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Truck Camper

 

a type of recreational vehicle comprised of a small camper-like structure mounted in the bed of a pickup truck

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Trunnion Bar

 

a type of weight distribution spring bar that has a square profile, as opposed to a round profile, and that mounts onto the face of the hitch head; generally has a slightly higher weight capacity compared to round bar; also see Trunnion Bar Weight Distribution Hitch

 

Learn more | Shop trunnion bar WD hitches

 

 

 

 


 

Trunnion Bar Weight Distribution Hitch

 

a type of weight distribution hitch that has square spring bars mounted on the face of the hitch head; different from a round bar WD hitch, which has round bars that slide up through the bottom of the hitch head; generally has a slightly higher weight capacity compared to a round bar WD hitch

 

Learn more | Shop trunnion bar WD hitches

 

 

 

 


 

Tube Bumper

 

a type of aftermarket bumper constructed of metal tubing and preferred for its strength and light weight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

TW

 

see Tongue Weight

 


 

Two-Wheel Drive (2WD)

 

a drivetrain system in which the engine powers only two of the vehicle’s wheels; common on most non-commercial vehicles without four-wheel drive; may be front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive

 


 

Two-Wire System

 

also called a ‘2-wire system’; a type of vehicle wiring system that uses one wire to operate the stop (brake) light and turn signals and another wire to operate the taillights; the simplest wiring system and the most common in basic trailers; also see Three-Wire System and PWM System

 

Learn more | Shop taillight converters

 

 

 


 

U

 

Unibody Frame

 

a type of vehicle frame in which the bodywork and chassis are made up of a single molded piece; usually has a sub frame on the front end to hold the engine and suspension

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR)

 

a group that attempts to create uniformity within vehicle components; also refers to a type of electrical connection that has been commonly used on GM, Ford and Toyota trucks since 1999 (Dodge has a distinct version)

 


 

Universal Hitch

 

see Multi-Fit Hitch

 


 

Unsupported Load

 

any load attached to a trailer hitch that is not supported by trailer wheels, such as a cargo carrier or bike rack; may require a support strap

 

Learn more | Shop support straps

 

 

 

 


 

USCAR

 

see United States Council for Automotive Research

 


 

Utility ATV

 

a type of all-terrain vehicle that is designed specifically for utility purposes, such as towing, as opposed to recreation; also see Sport ATV

 

Learn more | Shop ATV towing products

 

 

 

 


 

Utility Trailer

 

a basic type of trailer designed particularly for hauling multiple types of cargo; may be enclosed or open

 

Learn more | Shop cargo straps and tie-down anchors

 

 

 

 


 

V

 

V-5

 

a testing protocol developed by the Vehicle Equipment Safety Commission to increase highway safety by reducing towing and hitch-related accidents; not intended to cover 5th wheel and pintle hook connecting devices or towing methods; also see V-19

 


 

V-19

 

a testing protocol developed by the Vehicle Equipment Safety Commission to increase highway safety by reducing towing-related accidents, particularly for towing methods associated with 5th wheel and gooseneck trailer tongues connecting to kingpin or ball-and-socket couplers located above and forward of the rear-most axle of the towing vehicle; also see V-5

 


 

Vehicle Equipment Safety Commission (VESC)

 

a government organization devoted to promoting safety by creating rules, regulations and codes associated with the performance of motor vehicle equipment; also see V-5 and V-19

 


 

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

 

a unique serial number used by the automotive industry to identify individual motor vehicles; can be used to determine the year, make and model of the vehicle for selecting a trailer hitch

 

Learn more

 


 

Vehicle Owner’s Manual

 

see Owners Manual

 


 

Vertical Load Capacity

 

see Vertical Load Limit

 


 

Vertical Load Limit

 

also called ‘vertical load capacity’; the maximum amount of weight that a gooseneck or 5th wheel hitch can safely bear at the vehicle-trailer coupling point, as prescribed by the manufacturer; applies specifically to gooseneck and 5th wheel towing, unlike tongue weight, which applies to rear mount hitches

 

Shop gooseneck hitches | Shop 5th wheel hitches

 


 

Vertical Receiver Trailer Hitch

 

a less common type of receiver hitch that has a vertical receiver tube as opposed to a horizontal one; typically requires a vertical receiver tube adapter or vertical receiver tube ball mount for towing

 

Shop vertical receiver tube adapters

 

 

 

 


 

Vertical Receiver Tube

 

a less common type of trailer hitch receiver tube that is positioned vertically as opposed to horizontally; typically requires a vertical receiver tube adapter or vertical receiver tube ball mount for towing

 

Shop vertical receiver tube adapters

 

 

 

 


 

VESC

 

see Vehicle Equipment Safety Commission

 

 


 

VIN

 

see Vehicle Identification Number

 


 

VIN Plate

 

see VIN Tag

 


 

VIN Tag

 

also called a ‘VIN plate’; a metal plate or sticker on a vehicle or trailer that provides vital information about the vehicle, including the year, make, model, weight ratings and the VIN

 

Learn more

 

 

 

 


 

W

 

Wave Runner

 

see Personal Watercraft

 


 

WB

 

see Wheel base

 


 

WC

 

see Weight Carrying Capacity

 


 

WD

 

see Weight Distribution Capacity

 


 

WD Hitch

 

see Weight Distribution Hitch

 


 

Weight Carrying

 

a method of towing in which all of a trailer’s tongue weight is placed directly on the trailer hitch and the rear of the tow vehicle; different from weight distribution, in which the tongue weight is distributed more evenly across the tow vehicle and trailer axles

 

Learn more | Shop trailer hitches

 

 

 


 

Weight Carrying Capacity (WC)

 

the total weight that a trailer hitch can safely tow without a weight distribution hitch attached; also see Weight Distribution Capacity

 


 

Weight Carrying Hitch

 

a receiver hitch used without a weight distribution system so that it bears all of the trailer’s tongue weight; may be limited to weight carrying capabilities only or may have a dual rating to provide the option of being used with a weight distribution hitch

 

Learn more | Shop trailer hitches

 

 

 


 

Weight Distributing Hitch

 

see Weight Distribution Hitch

 


 

Weight Distribution

 

a method of towing in which a weight distribution hitch is used to distribute some of a trailer’s tongue weight across the axles of the tow vehicle and trailer, causing the vehicle and trailer to be more level and maximizing the gross trailer weight capacity of the receiver hitch

 

Learn more | Shop weight distribution

 

 

 


 

Weight Distribution Capacity (WD)

 

the total weight that a receiver hitch can safely tow with a weight distribution hitch attached; also see Weight Carrying Capacity

 


 

Weight Distribution Hitch

 

also called a ‘weight distributing hitch’, ‘load-leveling hitch’ or ‘load-equalizing hitch’; a receiver hitch attachment that uses metal bars, called spring bars, placed under tension to distribute a trailer’s tongue weight across the axles of the tow vehicle and trailer; when used properly, can enhance handling and braking and maximize towing capacity; available in two configurations: round bar and trunnion bar; can be used in combination with a sway control unit to minimize trailer sway; also available in an integrated sway control design, in which the sway control components are built into the weight distribution hitch itself

 

Learn more | Shop weight distribution hitches

 


 

Weld Nut

 

also called a ‘weldnut’; a type of nut that is welded to a metal surface on a vehicle and allows a bolt to be fastened directly to the surface without an additional nut; commonly used during trailer hitch installations to serve as a mounting place for bolts

 

Learn more

 

 

 

 


 

Weldnut

 

see Weld Nut

 


 

Wheel Bearing

 

a ball bearing component in a vehicle or trailer’s wheel that allows it to turn with less resistance

 

Shop wheel bearings

 

 

 

 

 


 

Wheelbase (WB)

 

the distance between the center of the front wheel and the center of the rear wheel on a vehicle; vehicles with a shorter wheelbase may be more prone to trailer sway in towing applications

 

Shop sway control

 

 

 

 


 

Whipping

 

see Trailer Sway

 


 

Winch

 

a mechanical device that uses a rotating drum and a length of cable or a strap to pull one object toward another; powered winches are usually mounted on the front end of pickup trucks or other large vehicles and are used for recovery towing or to pull the vehicle toward a fixed object; hand winches are commonly found on boat trailers to allow the boat to be pulled into the trailer at a boat landing

 

Shop hand winches and straps

 

 

 


 

Winch Fairlead

 

an attachment for a powered winch that acts as a guide for the cable or strap, restricting it to a specific area as it feeds onto the winch drum and keeping it from jumping off the drum and damaging the surrounding components

 

 

 

 

 


 

Winch Mount

 

a platform that is designed to accept a powered winch, allowing it to be mounted on a vehicle; may be mounted on a receiver hitch or attached to the vehicle’s bumper; sometimes equipped with mounting tabs to accept a fairlead

 

Shop hitch-mounted winch mounts

 

 

 


 

Winch Strap

 

also called a ‘recovery strap’; a length of high-strength woven fabric typically used on a hand winch to pull an object; usually equipped with a hook on one end to clasp onto the object being pulled and a loop on the other end to fasten to the winch; also see Tow Strap

 

Shop hand winches and winch straps

 

 

 


 

Wiring Harness

 

also called a ‘harness’; a set of wires used to carry power from a tow vehicle to a trailer; may be plug-and-play or spliced in; also see T-Connector

 

Learn more | Shop towing electrical

 

 

 

 


 

Wiring System

 

a configuration of wiring used by a vehicle to supply power to its electrical systems; common vehicle forms include two-wire, three-wire and PWM systems

 


 

Work Load

 

see Working Load Limit

 


 

Working Load Limit

 

also called ‘work load’; the maximum amount of weight, as prescribed by the manufacturer, that a rope, chain, cable or strap is safely rated to support; also see Break Strength

 

Learn more | Shop cargo straps | Shop safety chains and hooks

 

 

 

 


 

X

 

XD

 

see Xtra Duty Trailer Hitch

 


 

XD+

 

see Xtra Duty+ Trailer Hitch

 


 

Xtra Duty Trailer Hitch (XD)

 

a type of class 5 trailer hitch with a 2″ x 2″ receiver tube opening, a weight carrying capacity typically up to 16,000 lbs. GTW and a tongue weight capacity typically up to 2,400 lbs.; can also be used in combination with a weight distribution hitch to increase the towing capacity; commonly mounted on 1/2-ton, 3/4-ton and 1-ton trucks; also see Commercial Duty Trailer Hitch

 

Learn more | Shop Xtra Duty trailer hitches

 

 

 


 

Xtra Duty+ Trailer Hitches (XD+)

 

a type of class 5 trailer hitch with a 2″ x 2″ receiver tube opening, a weight carrying capacity typically up to 17,000 lbs. GTW and a tongue weight capacity typically up to 2,550 lbs.; can be used with a weight distribution hitch but generally not to increase towing capacity; commonly mounted on 1/2-ton, 3/4-ton and 1-ton trucks; also see Commercial Duty Trailer Hitch

 

Learn more | Shop Xtra Duty trailer hitches

 

 

 


 

Y

 

Yaw

 

the vertical axis of an object that allows it to pivot from side to side; measured by an accelerometer to provide precise trailer braking; may also refer to trailer sway

 

Learn more | Shop brake controls | Shop sway control

 


 

Youth ATV

 

see Kids ATV

 


 

#

 

2-Wire System

 

see Two Wire System

 


 

2WD

 

see Two Wheel Drive

 


 

3-Wheeler

 

also called a ‘three-wheeler’; a type of all-terrain vehicle that has three wheels and is straddled by the driver; also see 4-Wheeler

 

Learn more | Shop ATV towing products

 


 

3-Wire System

 

see Three Wire System

 


 

4-Wheeler

 

also called a ‘four-wheeler’ or ‘quad’; a type of all-terrain vehicle with four wheels and seating for one or two people; can be used for recreation or utility purposes

 

Learn more | Shop ATV towing products

 

 

 

 


 

4WD

 

see Four Wheel Drive

 


 

5th Wheel Base Rail

 

also called a ‘fifth wheel base rail’; a long, narrow, metal plate that mounts into a truck bed in pairs, typically positioned widthwise, and provides mounting holes for a set of 5th wheel legs or a 5th wheel roller; typically requires a 5th wheel bracket kit for installation; may be universal in design, with multiple mounting holes, to accept different types of legs and rollers; may also be part of a gooseneck adapter or used to attach a 5th wheel rail gooseneck hitch

 

Learn more | Shop 5th wheel base rails

 

 


 

5th Wheel Bracket

 

also called a ‘fifth wheel bracket’; a 5th wheel hitch installation component that mounts in pairs underneath the truck bed and provides an attachment point for a set of 5th wheel base rails; typically vehicle-specific in application

 

Learn more | Shop 5th wheel brackets

 

 

 

 


 

5th Wheel Head

 

also called a ‘fifth wheel head’; the main body of a 5th wheel hitch, comprised of the U-shaped coupler and base unit, and mounted on a set of 5th wheel legs or a 5th wheel roller; serves as the direct coupling point to the 5th wheel trailer’s kingpin; typically equipped with jaws or a retainer bar to hold the kingpin and designed to be able to move and angle on two or more axes in order to compensate for the movements of the 5th wheel trailer

 

Learn more | Shop 5th wheel hitches

 

 


 

5th Wheel Hitch

 

also called a ‘fifth wheel hitch’; a type of heavy-duty trailer hitch that mounts in the bed of a pickup truck and uses a pivoting head and a set of locking jaws to couple to the kingpin of a 5th wheel trailer; similar in concept to a semi-tractor; only compatible with pickup trucks; unique from receiver hitches and gooseneck hitches by not using a trailer ball but having the main coupling components on the vehicle-side of the connection

 

Learn more | Shop 5th wheel hitches

 

 


 

 

5th Wheel Jaws

 

also called ‘fifth wheel jaws’; a pair of thick metal bracket-like components within a 5th wheel head that close together or interlock around the kingpin of a 5th wheel trailer to couple the trailer to the 5th wheel hitch; usually opened and closed using a handle on the side of the hitch

 

Learn more | Shop 5th wheel towing

 

 

 


 

5th Wheel Kingpin

 

see Kingpin

 


 

5th Wheel Legs

 

also called ‘fifth wheel legs’; a pair of metal brackets that attach to either side of a 5th wheel head, allowing it to be mounted onto a set of 5th wheel base rails in a truck bed; typically secured to the base rails using pins and clips; may also have an OEM-compatible design to mount into a puck system

 

Learn more | Shop 5th wheel towing

 

 

 

 


 

5th Wheel Pin Box

 

also called a ‘fifth wheel pin box’ or simply a ‘pin box’; an adjustable 5th wheel coupling device that attaches to a 5th wheel trailer and provides a kingpin to couple to a 5th wheel hitch; may require a 5th wheel wedge for a proper connection to the 5th wheel head

 

Shop 5th wheel wedges

 


 

5th Wheel Roller

 

also called a ‘fifth wheel roller’ or ‘5th wheel slider’; a type of 5th wheel mounting device, used particularly in short bed pickup trucks, that allows a 5th wheel hitch to travel several inches along the longitudinal axis of the truck bed, providing added clearance for a large trailer overhang when making sharp turns; mounts into the truck bed similar to a set of 5th wheel legs, using the 5th wheel base rails or a puck system

 

Learn more | Shop 5th wheel rollers

 

 

 


 

5th Wheel Slider

 

see 5th Wheel Roller

 


 

5th Wheel Towing

 

also called ‘fifth wheel towing’; a type of heavy-duty towing in which a 5th wheel trailer is pulled by a pickup truck, using a 5th wheel hitch; typically used in recreational applications for travel trailers; also see Gooseneck Towing

 

Learn more | Shop 5th wheel towing products

 

 

 


 

5th Wheel Trailer

 

also called a ‘fifth wheel trailer’; a relatively large type of trailer designed to be coupled to a 5th wheel hitch using a kingpin; almost exclusively takes the form of a travel trailer; compatible only with pickup trucks or specialized vehicles prepared for 5th wheel towing; can have one, two or three axles

 

Learn more | Shop 5th wheel towing products

 

 

 


 

5th Wheel Wedge

 

also called a ‘fifth wheel wedge’; a small metal piece that bolts onto a 5th wheel pin box and eliminates the extra pivot point created when coupling a 5th wheel hitch to the pin box

 

Shop 5th wheel wedges

 

 

 

 

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