How Do You Pick a Trailer Hitch?

Volkswagen Atlas parked in a driveway

Adapting an automobile for towing is one of the most popular things people do. To be sure, not all cars, trucks or SUVs are suited for towing thousands of kilograms, but most automotive platforms are capable of some towing or hauling functions. So, how do you pick a trailer hitch? The Fifth Avenue Volkswagen Parts Department can help you find just about anything you’re looking for in the world of VW sedans, hatchbacks, and SUVs. We’ve found that it helps customers find what they’re looking for if they have a little basic information. Let’s take a look at a few things you should know.

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Can Compact Cars Tow Things?

Volkswagen made highly fuel-efficient hatchbacks popular. While these platforms might not look like towing powerhouses, they actually can haul some things like bike racks and cargo carriers. The key is to know the limits of the particular vehicle, find quality parts, and have them properly installed by experts. Broadly speaking, compact and midsize cars, as well as compact crossover SUVs, can employ Class 1 light-duty receiver hitches which attach to the vehicle’s bumper. These can handle a maximum gross trailer weight of less than 907 kg (2,000 lbs.). Always check your car’s owner’s manual to make sure towing is advised.

What is a Class 2 Trailer Hitch?

Larger cars, minivans and midsize SUVs might be able to accommodate a Class 2 trailer hitch and its supporting equipment. A Class 2 hitch can handle maximum gross trailers weighing up to 1,588 kg (3,500 lbs.). This is the kind of equipment that many of the most popular VW SUVs will need to get the most out of their towing capability. Having this level of towing capacity is what will allow people to tow enclosed trailers and medium boats.

Heavy-Duty Trailering Equipment

Full-size pickup trucks, body-on-frame SUVs and full-size vans may have the ability to pull heavy loads of 3,400 kg (7,500 lbs.) or more. Pulling this much weight may require more than a sturdy trailer hitch and receiver mounted to the vehicle’s frame. This equipment is available, but it’s also important that the engine and transmission are rated for this much towing capacity. Both Class 3 and Class 4 towing equipment setups fall under the heavy-duty umbrella. Fifth-wheel (gooseneck) hitches are something else entirely and will require additional support.

If you would like to learn more about what your current vehicle can do in terms of towing, make an appointment with the Fifth Avenue VW Parts Department, today.