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Fifth wheel trailer hitches are the strongest hitches that you can buy for your truck. They are commonly used to haul livestock trailers and RV's. When looking at one, you will probably notice that they resemble the hook-ups that big eighteen wheelers use to haul their trailers. This alone should tell you that these bad boys are definitely heavy duty trailer hitches.
These trailer hitches are mounted in the bed of a pickup truck. They can also be hooked up on the bed of a flat bed truck, right above the rear axle.
The fifth wheel trailer hitch offers a number of advantages, that other trailer hitches don't.
- Easier to maneuver: Because the hitch is mounted inside the bed of the truck, it makes it easier to turn corners.
- Better Stability: These hitches make the trailers far more stable than other hitches. Stability is always a plus when hauling a heavy load!
- Towing Capacity: You can haul considerably more weight with a fifth wheel hitch. Your typical ball hitch doesn't even come close to being able to haul the same amount of weight.
- Safer: It's much safer because it is more stable, especially for someone who is a beginner, to tow your loads using a fifth wheel hitch.
However, they also take up a large amount of space. Since they are mounted in the bed of your truck, you might find that you have very little room for anything else besides what you happen to be towing. Another big problem with a fifth wheel hitch is that you have to take the tailgate off to haul anything. This can be annoying, but thankfully the truck companies have realized this and made a number of accessories that can help with the above problems.
- Tool Boxes: Because the hitch takes up so much room, truck companies have developed tool boxes that sit behind the hitch, in front of the tailgate, so that you can store some tools or other nick-knacks.
- Air Gate: Air gates were made to solve the problem of having to take your tailgate off to haul anything. The air gate is often made of a metal mesh that is used instead of the tailgate. They have a "V" cut in the middle to accommodate the tongue of the trailer. When you're not hauling your trailer, the air gate will also help with your fuel economy. This is because when the air flows over your pick up truck, it hits the gate and slows the truck up. But with an air gate, the air will travel easily through the mesh or tubing and cut back on the air friction.
- RV Chests: These chests sit directly behind the cab of the truck, and can be used to carry some of your things.
No matter how you look at it, the fifth wheel trailer hitch is the best hitch for hauling heavy loads. It's unequaled in stability and towing capacity, and while they have a few drawbacks, there are accessories that can bypass these minor irritants.
There is one more thing you should keep in mind when looking at a hitch, especially a fifth wheel hitch; make sure your vehicle can haul the load. Check the owner's manual of your vehicle and see what the maximum towing capacity of your truck is. Never try to haul a load that exceeds this capacity. Your truck may not need a fifth wheel hitch, if it is unable to haul very heavy loads. You might be able to use some of the other truck hitches more effectively.