Defining a 5th Wheel Hitch and Its Advantages

  • Those who do a lot of towing, especially heavy towing, will probably learn a lot of the virtues of different types of hitches by and by. Among the many different types of hitches are gooseneck hitches, pintle hitches, and 5th wheel hitches, but one of the strongest and most stable of these is the latter.

    For those who have never used one, consider this visual reminder. If you have ever seen a tractor-trailer unhitched from its load, there is a U-shaped coupling that rests above the rear axles of the tractor. When it is not coupled to a load, the U-shaped portion of this hitch rests at an angle sloping downward and away from the cab. This is a 5th wheel hitch - about which this article is focused.

    They are not solely reserved for tractor-trailers, though - but they are some of the strongest hitches available, so they are typically only associated with heavy-duty towing. The reason it is called a 5th wheel hitch is that this type of hitch actually originated from a precursor model in the 1800s that actually involved the use of a 5th wheel. The original 5th wheel hitch was another horizontal wheel at the back of a carriage that allowed the load to rotate and pivot during the course of travel.

    Modern 5th wheels are typically installed in truck beds over the rear axle, so basically in order to use one you need to have the ability to mount them in such a fashion. In most domestic situations, this reserves them for use with pickup trucks.

    However, as they sit directly or nearly directly over a truck’s rear axle, this makes them very strong and very stable hitches. Some of the weight of the trailer rests right over the truck’s axle instead of bearing down on a hitch behind the truck, which would bring in other dimensional stresses. For one thing, this helps to eliminate problems like swaying that sometimes occur during towing.

    As 5th wheel hitches also allow the load to pivot through turns, this also increases their stability, not only while turning but while braking. In addition, the connection is a lot more secure than could be achieved with the use of a ball hitch.

    There are some loads for which the weight and strength of a 5th wheel are simply not necessary, but if you’re looking for a solution for towing a camper trailer, these are some of the strongest and most stable hitches available. If you need a hitch of this nature or you just want some more information, get in touch with the customer service team at RV Upgrades.

    RV Upgrades has not just the actual hitches but also the information you need to make a decision, and their customer service is second to none. Check out their website,, today if you just need to make a purchase, but if you want to learn more get in touch with them. You can reach them at 866-332-7881