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Anti-Rattle Devices

anti-rattle devices: how a small tool (with a small price tag) can solve a big problem

Clattering, clanking, wobbling, and rattling. Four words that aren’t welcome on any road trip. Whether you're driving 10 miles or 100 miles, it’s hard to tune out those annoying background noises especially when those noises are coming from your hitch accessory. Instead of having to cash in all the piggy bank coins to afford a stabilizing kit, let me tell you about a small inexpensive tool that is guaranteed to make such a big impact. An anti-rattle device reduces or eliminates the movement of a hitch accessory (ball mount, bike rack, or cargo carrier) in a trailer hitch receiver. It is noteworthy that this device may not stop all the annoying sounds, such as cargo shifting in the back of your trailer. But hey, we have some durable ratchet straps or other securing methods that can solve that issue here.Using an anti-rattle device can reduce distractions and make your excursions (or passenger car naps) more enjoyable. This article will help you decipher which type of anti-rattle device will be the right fit for you.
For a quick look at the basic features of each anti-rattle device, consult the table below:
Threaded Pin
Some are lockable
Hollow shank only
Fits 2" or 1-1/4" receivers
Replaces pin and clip
$15 - $35
Spring-Loaded Pin
Most are lockable
Hollow shank only
Universal Fit
Replaces pin and clip
$40 - $55
Sleeve Style
No locking mechanism
Hollow and solid shanks
Fits 2" or 2-1/2" receivers only
Requires pin and clip
$30 - $45
Clamp Style
No locking mechanism
Hollow and solid shanks
Universal fit
Requires pin and clip
$25 - $45
Friendly Reminders:
  • Anti-rattle devices are not a one-size-fits-all product. Therefore, we recommend measuring your hitch receiver first.
  • Anti-rattle devices will not affect the amount of weight you tow.
Threaded Pin
  • Fits 2" or 1-1/4" hitch receiver
  • Use in place of a pin and clip
  • Some offer a locking feature which deters theft of your hitch accessory
  • Can only be used with a hollow shank
  • Most ideal for general towing or transporting bikes
How they work: The pin works with a threaded block inside the ball mount's hollow shank and lines up with the hitch pin hole. As you tighten the pin, the block pulls the shank to the side of the hitch receiver until it is tight against the inner wall, preventing any movement inside the hitch. Note: Specific designs like Softride's threaded hitch pin protect the vehicle's powertrain by preventing the jerking motion that happens when starting and stopping while towing.
Threaded Pins
threaded pin
threaded pin
Spring-Loaded Pin
  • Spring piece prevents the rattle
  • Use in place of a pin and clip
  • Different pin lengths to fit different hitch sizes
  • Most offer a locking feature which deters theft of your hitch accessory
  • Can only be used with a hollow shank
  • Great option for security as the key is specific to one lock
How they work: Place the block inside your ball mount or hitch accessory and line up the hole in the block with the pin hole in your ball mount. Slide your ball mount into your hitch and insert the hitch pin. Note: Spring-loaded pins perform the same job as a threaded pin, but the nut itself on the inside of the shank will have a spring. This spring allows the nut to firmly be held up against the inside of the shank so it is ready to be threaded at any moment.
Threaded Pins
sleeve
spring pin
Sleeve
  • Reduce noise and movement by torquing down over accessory or shank and hitch
  • Use in addition to pin and clip or lock
  • Quick, simple bolt-on or slip-on installation
  • Can be used with solid or hollow shanks
  • Most ideal for high-low adapters, tow bars, and cargo carriers
How they work: Slide the shank of the hitch accessory through the sleeve of the anti-rattle device and then into the trailer hitch receiver. The hitch accessory or shank is then held tight inside the hitch receiver by the sleeve.Note: This sleeve is not a hitch reducer. If you're planning on using a 2" accessory in your 2-1/2" receiver, you'll need a reducer sleeve. If you are using hitch adapters like extensions, expanders, or reducers, there are anti-rattle options but it depends on the design of the adapter. If you treat the shank of the adapter the same as if it were the shank of your accessory, that will help you choose the right anti-rattle option.
Sleeve
sleeve
sleeve
Clamp
  • No locking security features (can add locking hitch pin - find one here)
  • Can eliminate side-to-side movement or up/down
  • Some clamp styles may require a tool installation
  • Can be used with solid or hollow shanks
  • Great option for a smoother towing experience
How they work: This device will wrap around the receiver tube and pull the accessory down or up on the inside of the tube to eliminate rattling. Note: Some clamp styles may require a tool installation but we recommend the no-tool options that come with an easy-to-adjust clamp lever. Anti-rattle clamps must be used in conjunction with a hitch pin.
Anti-Rattle Clamp
clamp style
clamp style
TakeawayI want to remind you, no anti-rattle device is going to eliminate all the noises from happening behind your vehicle. Each device will have its own unique features and limitations. It is also worth noting that some accessories, such as a hitch-mounted bike rack, are designed so that the shank only works with the rack's specific anti-rattle device. Make sure to check your accessory's owner manual before investing in an anti-rattle device. Clamps, sleeves, and pins all work in different ways but they all have one thing in common, they help preserve your (relative) peace and quiet. And if I know anything about traveling or vacationing, it's that those are the two best companions you could ask for.
Rachel
About Rachel S.One of our core values at etrailer is to be skilled. This means taking the time to research and learn about each product or concept inside and out. I am always eager to expand my expertise. Whether it’s attending product demonstration meetings to learn about the best ratchet strap features, absorbing customer feedback through reviews, or spending the day at a campground shooting help videos for first-time RV owners, I can always count on receiving an important takeaway.It is my privilege to listen to your concerns, help you understand crucial concepts, recommend the right products, and continue to be a resource throughout your journey. As a visual learner myself, I strive to paint concepts in a manner that is easy to grasp, and I greet each learning opportunity with a smile. My job is to answer all the questions you didn’t even know you had!
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Updated on: 1/23/2023


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