Find What Are The Parts Of a Trailer Hitch Body & Tow Setup!

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Last Updated on September 30, 2022

To consider what are the parts of a trailer hitch, you have to clarify whether it’s simply the body of the hitch or the actual towing setup. Different people refer to it differently.

Generally, the actual trailer hitch parts names are the receiver main body, ball mount, trailer ball, and hitch pin. For a complete towing setup, other parts include a coupler, safety chains, wiring harness, trailer, and the towing vehicle. 

Let’s dig a bit deeper into each of these parts for further ideas.

Trailer Hitch Body & Tow Setup

What Are The Parts Of a Trailer Hitch Body?

The trailer hitch component is included in many parts. And these are:

The Main Weight Bearing Body

 Main Weight Bearing Body

The connection point between the trailer and vehicle is the main body of a trailer hitch. And it typically goes by the name hitch, sometimes receiver. 

What is a hitch receiver? If the connection is for an accessory, then it’s called the receiver.

There are mainly 4 hitch receiver sizes, 3”, 2-1/2”, 2” and 1-1/4” sizes. The width of the opening is what exactly the sizes refer to.

Ball Mount

Ball Mount

This consists of the trailer ball platform and a shank. The hitch receiver tube holds the shank into it.

And the platform plays a major role in a strong mounting point for the trailer ball. There are both adjustable and fixed styles of ball mounts. 

Also, you’ll see a hole in the ball mount shank meant for accepting hitch lock or pin.

Trailer Ball

Trailer Ball

The trailer hitch has a shiny component called a trailer ball. This is the direct connection that takes place between a vehicle and trailer. 

One end comes with the threaded stem. There’s also a metal ball that is polished on top.

Due to the shape of the ball, traveling through bumps is easy. And it also allows for smoother turns whenever there’s a corner to go through.

Hitch Pin

Hitch Pin

The ball mount needs to be secure inside the hitch receiver tube. And for that job, a device called hitch pin is used. 

If there’s no hitch pin, there will be nothing to prevent sliding out of the ball mount or any other accessory from the receiving tube of the hitch.

What Are The Parts Of a Trailer Hitch Towing Setup?

The trailer hitch itself cannot complete the purpose. And so, some other components are also considered to be part of the whole towing setup. Let’s talk about those parts in this segment.



The trailer coupler is a mechanism that needs to latch the vehicle with the trailer securely. A lever is right on top of this part. And one needs to apply some force on this lever. So that the coupler gets triggered to secure with the ball.

The lever must stay in a down and lock position. And to ensure that a coupler pin is available inside a tiny hole on the lever itself.

For safe towing, it is important to get an appropriate size coupler that matches the ball size.

Safety Chains

Safety Chains

This is more likely one of the parts of a trailer tongue. But it plays an impeccable role in the whole hitch-towing setup. 

A length of the chain stays in charge of making sure the trailer is all secure and it does not separate in case there’s a mistaken disconnection during towing.

Most towing setups will use at least two safety chains. There are hooks with chains linking to the trailer hitch of the vehicle.

Wiring Harness

Wiring Harness

An electrical system needs to be established between the vehicle and trailer through wiring. And this is called a wiring harness.

Two types of harnesses are considered standard for a towing setup. These are:

  • RV-7, the cylindrical style of harness.
  • 4-flat, the depicted above type of harness.

No matter what type, it must provide power to the illumination system of the trailer. And also, it needs to maintain synchronization with the vehicle’s tail lights. There’s also the connection of auxiliary power and brakes with the harness.

Tow Vehicle & Trailer

Tow Vehicle & Trailer

And finally, the two parts of the whole setup that participates in the connection that a hitch establishes, are a tow vehicle and trailer.

The tow vehicle is the one that has to do the pulling function. And it can be anything from cars, and SUVs to trucks and even ATV trailers. And then there’s the trailer or vehicle that needs to be pulled by the tow vehicle.

Frequently Asked Questions

What part does the trailer hitch attach to?

The trailer hitch attaches to several different attachments for towing various items. And this includes bike racks, kayak racks, trailers, and many more.

What is the hole in a hitch called?

The hole in a hitch is called a hitch shank hole. If you check the parts of a trailer hitch diagram, then you’ll see a gap for the hitch ball shank to insert. This is the hole.

Wrapping Up

What are the parts of a trailer hitch body and the actual tow setup, hope you now have a broad idea on this matter. 

I will catch you on a similar guide soon. Till then take care!

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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