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Tow balls are the last part of the car that the trailer hooks onto. The are called a tow ball as the top of it is ball shaped and it goes down to a thick neck which has a threaded section like a bolt under the neck. This bolts through a hole to the tow bar tongue or tow ball mount. Sometimes it is called the tow ball hitch or goose neck. The tow ball is held on by a very large nut that needs a large shifting spanner or dedicated spanner to tighten or loosen it. This is understandable as it needs to pull the weight of the trailer and you don't want it coming off.
It is ball shaped so the trailer coupling can swivel up and down and side to side while towing and allow the trailer to follow the contours of the road. The standard tow ball size is Australia is 50mm for most trailer couplings. When purchasing a trailer, boat or caravan it is important to know what size tow ball the coupling requires. These days more imports are coming in from the USA and Europe, where both use different towing hitches and some don't even have tow balls.
Popular Questions Asked
Do I need to grease my Tow Ball?
There are 2 schools of thought on this depending who you talk to -
Tow Ball Greasers
- Stops wear and tear on the tow ball and it rusting
- Stops the tow ball sticking when unhooking the trailer and it squeaking
- If you grease it, you should use a tow ball cover to stop dirt and dust sticking to the grease
- Grease type - anything from dry spray lube to bee's wax. There is even a Hitch ball lube
Tow Ball Non-Greasers
- Tow ball friction reduces caravans swaying
- Some tow balls use friction linings and should not be greased
- No need to grease a tow ball as the wear and tear on it is minimal and they are cheap and easy to replace
What are the tow ball sizes in Australia?
- 50mm Ball with various shank sizes. (shank size - Threaded rod that goes through the hole in the tongue to mount the ball)
- 50mm Ball Pintle Hook
- 70mm Ball
- 3 Inch Ball - Usually on Trucks