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A CURT drop drop hitch is perfect for towing multiple trailers or towing with a tall truck.A CURT drop drop hitch is perfect for towing multiple trailers or towing with a tall truck.

The Ultimate Guide to Drop Hitch Towing

Empowering your towing experience starts with selecting the right tools and a drop hitch sits at the heart of this choice.   
Drop hitches are perfect for tall or lifted trucks, or for towing multiple trailers with different sizes and payloads. CURT drop hitches provide a sturdy and secure connection to your trailer and allow you to quickly and easily level your trailer when towing.  
But the question of whether you need a drop hitch can be confusing — and if you are wondering when to use a drop hitch and which type of drop hitch you need for your type of towing, it can be complex.   
That's why we've put together this guide to explain everything you need to know related to drop hitches, from start to finish.   
Join us as we dive into the world of drop hitches, explore their benefits, discuss their unique features, and help you to determine what size drop hitch you need.  We will discuss the benefits of a drop hitch, when they are neccessary, the different types of drop hitches and even walk you through the process of calculating the amount of drop you need for your setup and provide the process for installing a drop hitch.
Read along through this guide to learn about drop hitches and determine which drop hitch is best for your needs.

What is the Benefit of a Drop Hitch? 


A drop hitch is more than just a towing accessory — it's a vital tool for those who tow with taller trucks or SUVs and for those who regularly tow different-sized trailers and varying payloads.  
A drop hitch essentially allows the connection between the trailer and tow vehicle to remain level with the ground, regardless of the varying height of the truck and trailer. It adds depth to your hitch from the hitch receiver itself and allows the differences in height between the truck and trailer to be compensated for.
By providing seveal inches of downward extension, a drop hitch allows the connection point between the truck and trailer to remain parallel with the ground, preventing uneven weight distribution that could lead to instability on the road.
CURT offers a wide array of drop hitches designed to accommodate various towing needs and our drop hitches provide a drop ranging from 2" to a  11". Furthermore, many CURT drop hitches can also be flipped and provide rise as well, which can be neccessary for smaller trucks or taller trailers.

The Difference Between a Drop Hitch & Rise Hitch

When towing a trailer, alignment is crucial. Drop hitches are designed to lower the connection point for tall trucks and allow the trailer tongue to remain level with the ground.   
Rise hitches on the other hand perform the opposite function, elevating the connection to align the trailer tongue with shorter vehicles.  
A drop hitch aligns the towing vehicle with trailers by extending downwards, while a rise hitch achieves alignment by extending upwards. Their primary purpose is to maintain a level connection between the vehicle and trailer, which minimizes stress on the towing system and enhances safety, stability, and fuel efficiency.  
Whether it's a lifted pick-up or a compact SUV, CURT drop hitches allow you to level your trailer connection and ensure that you have the appropriate hitch to match your trailer.  

Important Details to Consider When Purchasing a Drop Hitch

A CURT drop hitch improves your towing experience by allowing you to quickly level multiple trailers and tow safely.A CURT drop hitch improves your towing experience by allowing you to quickly level multiple trailers and tow safely.


Drop hitches vary in their functionality, ranging from simple fixed mounts to sophisticated adjustable variants.   

CURT offers a complete lineup, from basic options with fixed shank sizes for standard towing to adjustable options for advanced towing, such as the Rebellion™ deep drop adjustable cushion weight distribution hitch. For a more standard option, a fixed-length drop hitch will work well for towing especially if using the same trailer regularly.
CURT offers different options, ensuring that every towing need is met with precision and reliability, from the most basic towing applications to the needs of the most advanced towers.  

Adjustable Drop Hitches Offer Maximum Utility & Versatility

Adjustable ball mounts offer versatility and allow you to make changes to ball height on the go. They offer the most utility, as they have a wide range of different towing heights and can be adjusted quickly to perfectly level differing sizes of trailers and payloads.   
Fixed ball mounts, on the other hand, provide a static connection. However, when purchasing a fixed ball mount drop hitch, your drop and rise height will be static. This means that you will not be able to adjust the hitch's rise or drop setting.   

While adjustable mounts offer a higher degree of flexibility, they also tend to be more expensive. However, they are quintessential for regular towing, especially when towing trailers with different sizes and payloads.   
Adjustable drop mounts are suitable for those who tow often or tow multiple trailers routinely. Fixed drop mounts are suitable for those who tow the same trailer with the same payload. For instance, if you are towing the same boat or travel trailer, a fixed drop hitch will do the job.

The Pros & Cons of Adjustable Drop Hitches

Pros: Drop hitches offer customized towing, reducing strain on the vehicle, enhancing safety, and providing flexibility in matching various trailer heights. A drop hitch can simplify your towing by allowing you to quickly and easily level your trailer connection and ultimately provides convenience and improved safety when towing.  
Cons: Potential downsides of using a drop hitch are limited but include the need to calculate the correct size initially and reduced ground clearance beneath your hitch. This is why it is important to determine the correct size and type of drop hitch before purchasing.   
Another drawback is that a drop hitch is larger than a standard hitch — its larger size provides the ability to rise and drop which makes the hitch itself bigger. This is also a benefit for frequent towing, however, as it allows you to tow many different-sized trailers safely and easily with one hitch.   

The Individual Parts & Functions of an Adjustable Drop Hitch

Adjustable Trailer HitchAdjustable Trailer Hitch

Adjustable Channel or Shank
Every adjustable trailer hitch from CURT comes with a vertical channel or shank, enabling the coupler, commonly referred to as the tongue, to ascend and descend to the required height. This adjustable quality is the vital component that permits the hitch to level the trailer based on height and payload.

The shank is the component that slides into the receiver tube of the tow vehicle, and it's held in place with a pin. Positioned horizontally, the shank is not adjustable.

Coupler or Tongue
The coupler, commonly referred to as the tongue, is the component to which the trailer ball is mounted. It connects to the adjustable shank and is secured in place with pins, allowing it to rise or drop for the purpose of adjusting the trailer's height.

Dual Ball
CURT dual ball attachments offer the advantage of a single coupler featuring two distinct ball sizes, enabling you to tow trailers with either a 2" or a 2-5/16" coupler, all while only needing to carry one piece.

Removable Pins
The removable hitch pins hold the coupler attachment in position. For height adjustments, the pins can be taken out, allowing the coupler to be raised or lowered as needed.

The styles of drop hitches are varied but all adjustable trailer hitches has the same essential parts.

The Varying Styles of CURT Adjustable Drop Hitches

How to Calculate Drop & Determine Which Drop Hitch is Best for Towing

In order to use an adjustable drop hitch, you will first need to know what the proper ball height is for your trailer. Then, you can choose the correct adjustable hitch. 

Adjustable hitches offer a simple, easy solution for towing by adjusting to varying trailers with differing ball heights and payloads, however, you will need to know the amount of drop or rise needed to level your tow vehicle with your trailer. 

This easy, five-step process will help you to calculate the correct drop or rise height. But first, you will need to have your truck and trailer available, and make sure they're both parked and sitting level with the ground.  

Tools are needed. Be sure to have a tape measure, level, pencil and paper available to record your measurements.  


The Written, Step by Step Process of Calculating Drop for a Drop Hitch

Step 1: Measure the Distance from the Ground to the Receiver Tube

Use your tape measure to determine the height from the ground to the receiver tube on your tow vehicle, making sure to measure up to the top inside edge of the receiver tube for the accurate height.

Make a note of this measurement for future reference. In the example shown in the video above, this measurement is 21-3/4".

Step 2: Measure the Height from the Ground to the Coupler 

Next, to level your trailer, place the level on the trailer frame nearest to the coupler. Adjust the trailer by raising or lowering it until it's level with the ground.

Then, take your measuring tape and determine the distance from the ground to the bottom edge of the trailer coupler.

Note down this measurement too. In the example provided above, this measurement is 15-1/2".

Step 3: Establish Your Drop or Rise

After accurately measuring and recording both the receiver height and the coupler height, calculate your drop or rise number by subtracting the coupler height from the receiver height.

In the example provided above, the receiver height measures 21-3/4", and the coupler height is 15-1/2", resulting in a difference of –6-1/4". This indicates that the trailer would require a drop of approximately 6".

Measuring your rise or drop height is easy with this five-step processMeasuring your rise or drop height is easy with this five-step process

Step 4: Choose an Drop Hitch Within the Range of Your Drop or Rise Number

Select a CURT adjustable trailer hitch that has a rise or drop within the range of the measurement you've calculated.

These adjustable trailer hitches are engineered to function within a particular height spectrum. The height of the connection point is vital and can vary based on the height and tongue weight of your trailer.

CURT offers a variety of adjustable trailer hitches capable of raising your trailer by up to 9" or lowering it by as much as 12". Ensure that you pick an adjustable hitch that provides at least 1" of additional rise or drop to accommodate your trailer.

You're now prepared to buy a CURT adjustable trailer hitch that aligns with your towing requirements!


Step 5 (optional): Measure Other Trailers You Will Be Towing 

Should you own more than one trailer, repeat this procedure for each trailer you intend to tow with, as it's essential to ensure that your adjustable trailer hitch falls within the range suitable for all the trailers you regularly use.


How to Install a Drop Hitch, Step by Step

In the following steps, we'll guide you on how to install a drop hitch. It is required to first have a receiver hitch installed in your tow vehicle.   
Be sure the receiver hitch is rated for the gross trailer weight and tongue weight of your trailer before installing a drop hitch and towing.  

1: Insert the Drop Hitch

Slide the drop hitch into the receiver tube of your truck, making sure it fits snugly. If there's any resistance, make sure the receiver is clean and free of debris. 
2: Align the Pin Hole

Carefully align the hitch pinhole with the receiver tube's pinhole. This might require some slight adjustments. Ensure proper alignment as this will secure the hitch in place. 
3: Secure the Hitch Pin

Insert the hitch pin through the aligned holes, and lock it with a clip or locking mechanism. This step ensures that the drop hitch remains firmly attached to the vehicle during towing. 
4: Attach the Trailer Ball Mount

Select the appropriate ball mount for your towing needs and secure it to the drop hitch. Ensure that it's tightly fastened using the provided bolts or pins, as this connection will bear the weight of the trailer. 
5: Connect the Trailer

Lower the trailer coupler onto the ball mount, making sure it locks securely in place. Double-check the connection to ensure that it's robust and that the locking mechanism is engaged. 
6: Verify Alignment

Use a level or visual cues to ensure that the trailer is level with the truck. This alignment is critical for safe towing, as an uneven connection can cause instability. 
7: Attach Safety Chains

Connect the safety chains from the trailer to the truck, crossing them under the hitch to form an "X." This setup provides added security and ensures that the trailer remains connected to the truck even if the primary hitch connection fails. 
8: Check Lights and Electrical Connections

If your trailer has lights or other electrical components, connect the wiring harness and verify that all lights are working correctly. 
9: Perform a Final Inspection

Walk around the entire setup, double-checking all connections, locks, chains, and electrical components. Look for anything that might seem out of place or insecure. 
Now, you're ready to tow!

Enjoy the confidence and peace of mind that comes with a properly installed CURT drop hitch. Remember to follow all safety guidelines and consult your vehicle's owner's manual or a towing professional if you have any questions or concerns. 


How to Install & Set the Height on an Adjustable Drop Hitch, Step by Step


Now that you've found your rise or drop height and have purchased a CURT adjustable hitch, you're ready to install and set the coupler height.  

Before you begin, make sure your trailer is parked on a level surface and that it’s sitting parallel with the ground. You will also need to have the correct tow ball right-side-up. Check with your trailer coupler to see if the 2" or 2-5/16" ball is needed.  

Follow this video-guided, quick 3-step process for setting the correct height on your adjustable hitch.

Step 1: Install the Shank

First, insert the horizontal shank of the adjustable hitch into the receiver tube on your tow vehicle. Secure the hitch with a pin and clip. 

Step 2: Measure the Coupler Height

Using a measuring tape, measure from the bottom of the trailer coupler to the ground. Remember this number, as this is the height you will be setting your ball to next. 


Measuring your rise or drop height is easy with this three-step process Measuring your rise or drop height is easy with this three-step process


Step 3: Select the Ball & Set the Coupler Height

Using your tape measure, find the hole in the vertical shank closest to the coupler height. 

This will be the location for the top pin on your dual ball attachment. Make sure the correct ball size needed for your trailer is right-side-up and then press the coupler onto the adjustable shank, ensuring the holes are lined up.  

Once the holes are lined up, insert both pins to secure the attachment. 

Now that you've set your coupler height and secured the pins, you're ready to tow! 

Tips for Safely Choosing the Correct Drop Hitch for Your Towing Needs

When buying an adjustable drop hitch, it's essential to choose one that accommodates allthe trailers you intend to tow. The right adjustable hitch can tow various trailers, including boats, campers, utility trailers and nearly any other kind, as long as you make the correct selection initially.

Adjustable hitches are primarily well-suited for larger vehicles boasting higher towing capacities. This makes them able to tow a diverse array of trailers. Vehicles such as pickup trucks, full-size vans and SUVs are the prime candidates for an adjustable hitch, precisely for this reason.

Consult the recommendations below to select the most suitable hitch for your truck or van!

Adjustable Hitch Checklist

1: Avoid Surpassing Your Towing Capacity
Before investing in a hitch, you need to be aware of the towing capacity for your tow vehicle. Some trucks, vans, and SUVs have the ability to tow up to 20,000 lbs., while others may be constrained to significantly less.

Pulling a trailer that outweighs what your hitch or tow vehicle can endure will create dangerous and perilous situations that could lead to an accident swiftly.

Additionally, you don't want to curb your towing ability by opting for a hitch with a rating lower than your tow vehicle, although exceeding the weight capacity of any towing component should always be avoided.

2: Align the Receiver and Shank Sizes
The horizontal shank of your adjustable hitch should precisely fit your vehicle's rear receiver tube. Many are designed to standard dimensions, probably limiting your options to sizes like 2" or 2-1/2". Confirm that your hitch size corresponds to your receiver size and that the hitch pin is securely inserted and fastened with a hitch pin clip.

3: Ensure Compatibility Between Ball and Coupler Sizes
Much like receivers and shanks, the hitch ball and trailer coupler must be of the identical size. Therefore, understanding the coupler sizes of all your trailers is vital when buying an adjustable hitch.

Adjustable hitches might include one ball, others two, and some even three. If your fleet consists of multiple coupler sizes, opt for a hitch that can accommodate all of them.

Also, note that CURT adjustable pintle hook trailer hitches are available, suitable for towing trailers equipped with a lunette ring.

4: Assess Your Height Adjustment Needs
After adhering to the above guidelines for determining the required hitch height, calculate the amount of rise or drop necessary. Choose an adjustable hitch that spans the range between your "shortest" and "tallest" trailers.

Common Accessories for a CURT Adjustable Drop Hitch

Adjustable hitches do more than add flexibility for trailer height. There are many different accessories for different types of towing and beyond. 

These photographs, recommendations, and approximations are intended for demonstration purposes only and do not reflect the specifications of any particular hitch, tow vehicle, recreational vehicle or trailer. Always consult the manufacturer’s owner’s manual. 

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About Drop Hitches

What is the purpose of a drop hitch?   
Drop hitches serve to align taller trucks with trailers, ensuring a level towing connection. This alignment minimizes strain on the towing system, improves stability, and increases fuel efficiency, thus playing a crucial role in safe and effective towing.  
How much drop does my hitch need?   
The required drop depends on the height difference between the vehicle and the trailer. Factors such as the load, the vehicle's suspension, and the trailer's design can influence this. CURT provides a comprehensive guide and expert assistance to help you find the right fit tailored to your specific situation.  
Does a drop hitch affect towing capacity?   
While a drop hitch itself doesn't change the vehicle's towing capacity, it's vital to select one that matches the vehicle's rated capacity. A mismatch can lead to unsafe towing conditions. CURT ensures that you have access to a range of drop hitches designed to fit different towing capacities.  
Does a drop hitch affect tongue weight?   
A drop hitch doesn't inherently affect tongue weight, but it must be chosen considering the rated tongue weight for the vehicle and trailer. Ensuring that the tongue weight falls within the specified range is crucial for maintaining balance and control during towing.  
Do you need a drop hitch if your truck is lifted?   
Lifting a truck increases its height, often requiring the use of a drop hitch to maintain a level connection with the trailer. A drop hitch compensates for the added height, ensuring that the trailer aligns properly with the lifted truck, thus maintaining stability and safety.  
Can you flip over a drop hitch?   
Some drop hitch models, including certain offerings from CURT, can be flipped over to function as a rise hitch. This dual functionality provides both drop and rise options, allowing for greater versatility in matching different trailer heights.  
What is the most common drop hitch?   
The "common" drop hitch varies based on individual needs, vehicle types, and towing requirements. CURT's diverse selection offers something for every situation, whether it's adjustable or fixed, steel or aluminum. Consulting with a CURT expert can lead you to the most suitable option for your specific needs.  
Should your trailer be level when towing?   
Yes, having a level trailer is paramount to ensuring safety, stability, and efficient towing. An uneven connection can cause irregular wear on tires, strain the towing system, and even impact braking effectiveness. Drop hitches, like those offered by CURT, are instrumental in achieving this level connection, contributing to a more controlled and comfortable towing experience.