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Who Determines the Weight Capacities of Trailer Hitches, Gooseneck Hitches, and 5th Wheel Hitches

Question:

Who determines the ratings of a receiver, receiver hitch, ball or any towing part? What governing body? I mean if a company comes out with a hitch and says rated at 10,000 pounds, WHO rates and verifies that? Who tests that to make sure it’s true? I’ve always been curious about this and just wondering when a company comes out with a product if they have to submit it to some laboratory for testing or whether there are guidelines or specifications that say it has to be a half inch thick or something like that?

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Expert Reply:

Trailer hitch manufacturers are responsible for the testing and rating of hitches. Most all hitches are built to comply with safety specifications and requirements for connecting devices and towing systems of the state of New York, V.E.S.C. Regulation V-5 as well as SAE (society of automotive engineers) J684. This is for regular trailer hitches.

For 5th wheel and gooseneck hitches most are built to SAE J2638 standards. Some companies such as Reese (Draw-Tite) do additional testing beyond the above-mentioned standards. Also, while not required, some companies do have independent testing done as a way to show that the products do have the capacities specified by the manufacturers.

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