How to Stop Trailer Hitch Rattle

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Last Updated on July 4, 2022

The rattling of the trailer hitch has to be an annoying thing that at one point becomes too much to ignore anymore. And if that’s you, then well done taking the first step of finding exactly how to stop trailer hitch rattle and excuse yourself from the constant headache on the ride. 

We have designed this guide to give you notes on solving this situation. Hopefully, it will work in your favor and things will be better. Keep Reading…

Here’s How to Stop Trailer Hitch Rattle the Right Way

To prevent the trailer from rattling when you use it for towing a campervan, box trailer or something like that, you need to use something that can provide stabilization for stopping it from making any vibration and jump movement. 

The key thing to know, first of all, is that this rattle takes place due to one particular issue. And that’s having too much play between socket and ball connection point. 

We will be talking about how to stop trailer hitch rattle using an item called hitch clamp, which helps exactly to solve such a problem. 

How to stop trailer hitch rattle

A Bit About the Anti-Rattle Device Hitch Clamp

So, the hitch clamp is considered to be the most perfect anti-rattle device that comes with properties to treat any ill-fitting drawbar situation. 

Look wise, these come with a square U-bolt shape that can clamp over the hitch tube as well as drawbar. The mechanism makes both metal pieces pull towards each other. And that works for preventing any play in the hitch, which means no rattling. 

Using Hitch Clamp to Solve Rattling

One thing to know is that sometimes due to not enough tow ball weight, the hitch rattles. And if you frequently carry your bike in the car back, you’ll know exactly what we are talking about. 

By using a hitch clamp, you are solving the rattle problem simply by having the sliding drawbar clamped down. As sometimes the drawbars are only held using a pin that’s detachable. Basically, what causes oversized tolerances that trigger the rattle. 

Now you must adjust the tow hitch in a certain way to completely sidestep the rattle. 

Here’s What to Do:

  • Get a rag and a brake cleaner. Use it for cleaning the hitch ball as well as the socket. So that any previous grease or dirt is out of the equation early. 
  • Next, you want to apply a little bit of bearing grease on the ball and socket. You can also go for Vaseline or lithium grease here. This makes the trailer easy to slide onto the tow ball. And it gives way for stopping any sort of scratch happening due to metals dragging together. 
  • Next, you want to slightly push the hitch. So that it can secure into the spot onto the car ball. With a lightweight trailer, lifting it enough sounds better. So that it shows the play on ball hitch and you can work on eliminating that. 
  • Time for the adjustments. At this point, you want to look for the lock nut and start loosening it off. It’s the adjuster lock nut we are talking about. You need to work on the play reducer by screwing it in or out. This would depend on the model. 
  • A half-turn should be enough and instantly test movements. The play should not be more than 1-2mm. This much is enough to have the hitch not stiff from movement completely. If you don’t leave that much play at least, then squealing noises will appear whenever you go around corners. Again, metal on the metal issue. 
  • You also want to know that too much hitch play adjustment can lead to issues of removal and installation of the trailer on the tow ball of your vehicle. That’s also something you don’t want to happen. 

Boat Trailer Tongue Weight Also Causes Rattles

Not having enough tongue weight can also cause rattles as well as swaying and fishtailing when you work with cruising speeds 

Too much weight in the drawbar, then again causes the tow vehicle to become too hard to steer. As it causes the vehicle’s rear to push downwards and the front goes up. 

The ideal tongue weight to maintain can be calculated by finding 10percent of the total trailer weight. For example, a 700kg boat and trailer weight will require 70kg of tongue weight. 

You can measure the tongue weight in multiple ways.

  • Use a set of 300kg fishing scales for measuring any tiny boat or jet ski. 
  • For heavy cases that are not easy to be lifted by one person, you can work with a metal bar or wood pieces that are thick enough. Use it to push through the weight scales’ one end. And let the other end attach with the trailer tongue having another person to help. 
  • You can also use body weight scales. However, you don’t want to use anything rated less than 150kg. You’ll also require a hard object, for example, a garden tile. Maintaining a similar level with the car tow ball is key here. You can use the jockey wheel for better height control. 

Once you find out the right weight for the drawbar, using an anti-rattle device for the trailer hitch will be much safer and more effective in solving the problem. 

Wrapping Up

You now know how to stop trailer hitch rattle issue. So go ahead and try things for yourself. Hopefully, the issues will be gone and you’ll get to use your stuff without any annoyance anymore. 

However, if this does not seem to do any better, things could be different than what you are predicting. There might be a severe situation that needs expert attention, so get the checkup done by getting help from someone professional as soon as possible.

About the Author: Brian Silvestro

Brian Silvestro is the founder and chief editor of OffroadersArena. He spends his free time tending to his BMW iX SUV and explaining its merits to anyone who'll listen.

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