Frequently Asked Questions

General Hitches FAQs

There are a few kinds of hitches available: 

  • Trailer hitch
  • Gooseneck hitch
  • 5th wheel hitch

A weight distribution hitch is an accessory that goes into a trailer hitch to create balance and stability when towing a trailer. 

There are different hitch sizes, depending on your vehicle and its towing capacity:

  • Class 1 (Small car) – Towing abilities up to 2,000 lbs 
  • Class 2 (Standard-sized car or small SUV) – Towing abilities up to 3,500 lbs
  • Class 3 (Vans, trucks, SUVs) – Starting at 3,500 lbs and up
  • Class 5 (Large vans & trucks) – Starting at 12,000 lbs up to 20,000 lbs

A trailer hitch can be installed on virtually any vehicle. Hitches are prefabricated and made specifically for each vehicle. If you’re unsure what type of hitch you need, contact us at Calgary Hitch Shop, and we’d be happy to help. 

A hitch too high for the trailer is a common issue. You can put a ball mount in, a platform that slides into the receiver opening of a trailer hitch and fastens with a pin and clip. Ball mounts come in different sizes so that you can get the exact height for your specific trailer. They come in 2-inch increments to match your trailer height. 

The rear-mounted trailer hitch is the most common for towing trailers and bike racks. 

No, installing a hitch will not damage your vehicle or void the warranty. Hitches are made specifically for individual vehicles. By law, manufacturers of vehicles cannot void the warranty when installing an after-market accessory. 

Hitch installation takes half an hour to a few hours, depending on your vehicle.

If you are towing more weight than what your vehicle and hitch are rated for, you compromise your safety on the road. You’ll also void the warranty for both the hitch and the vehicle, potentially cause damage to the vehicle, and run into costly insurance issues if you get into a car accident. 

This highlights the importance of never exceeding the hitch weight. Calgary Hitch Shop can help you identify the weight your vehicle and hitch are rated for and install the right hitch for you.

Not at all. The hitches are uniquely designed to use the vehicle’s existing attachment points. Utilizing the same attachment points as the vehicle manufacturer also safeguards the vehicle’s crumple zones.

A trailer hitch is what is mounted on the vehicle so you can attach an accessory to it, such as a ball mount, bike rack, or a hitch-mounted cargo carrier, to name a few. 

Weight Distribution Hitch FAQ

 Yes, you’ll be less likely to jackknife with a weight distribution hitch. The purpose of a weight distribution hitch is to make sure your vehicle and your trailer are towing level and, as the name suggests, distribute the weight evenly. When the weight is evenly distributed, the trailer will be less likely to sway, promoting a much safer and smoother ride.

No. These couplers are incompatible with weight distribution hitches due to their approach/departure interference with the hitch’s head plate.

This depends on the vehicle and trailer. At the Calgary Hitch Shop, we can help you find the right weight distribution hitch based on the vehicle you’re towing with and the length and weight of the trailer you’re towing.

Traditionally, if your trailer is heavier than 4,000 lbs, you may need a weight distribution hitch. However, small vehicles towing less than that may require a weight distribution to help the car tow better.

Racks and Cargo Management FAQs

My old roof rack doesn’t fit my new car. What can I do?

A: A roof rack is typically made of 3 different components: a crossbar, a tower, and a fit kit. The towers and crossbars are fairly universal and a fit kit is very vehicle specific. 

Often, when you get a new vehicle, you can use some of the components from your old roof rack, and you’ll only need to purchase a few items from us. Calgary Hitch Shop can look at your roof rack and determine what parts are needed for your new vehicle. 

 Roof racks can be attached in a number of different ways, including:

  • Pre-existing holes in the roof specifically designed for a roof rack
  • A raised rail that’s on the roof specifically for attaching a roof rack
  • There’s a flushed rail designed for a roof rack
  • The vehicle’s rain gutters (least common) 

 Yes. Thule and Yakima have racks that can clamp to your rails, allowing you to transport accessories easily.

Bent or short crossbars are common. Factory ones can be removed and placed on whatever length is needed for your application. Aftermarket roof racks will often have a higher weight rating than factory ones.

Yes. If your crossbars are strong enough, then you can fasten your skis, kayak, bike racks, etc., without any problems.

5th Wheel Hitches FAQ

If there is rust in the corners of your 5th wheel hitch, it’s not going to cause structural problems. However, it is important to keep your hitch clean and maintained. Be sure to grease the jaw and the slider as needed.

A 5th wheel hitch needs to be mounted directly to the bed of the truck, and a bed rug can be used if it’s cut out around the 5th wheel rails. 

Bike Racks FAQs

It depends on the class of your hitch and the weight of each bike. Between the bike rack and the weight of the bikes, you don’t want the weight to exceed the tongue weight rating of your hitch.

Thule and Yakima produce a top tube adapter that hooks between the handlebars and the seat post, allowing the bike to hang from it. You also have the option of a tray-style bike rack where the bike wheels sit in a tray. With this bike rack, it doesn’t matter what your frames look like as it holds onto the wheels.

With certain bike racks, you can. Typically, a higher-end bike rack with more features allows you to open the rear hatch. 

Sometimes they do, but there are extensions you can get so that your bike rack can clear the spare tire. We have this extension in stock at Calgary Hitch Shop.

Yes. Thule and Yakima make a ski/snowboard rack that fits their hitch-mount mast-style bike racks, so you can safely carry skis and snowboarding gear on your bike rack.

Trailer Hitches FAQs

Go by the expected load weight. For example, if you’re carrying a large or unbalanced load, a sway control system helps avoid problems with stability and potential accidents. However, sway control systems cannot be used with surge brakes.

Yes, but only certain/specific weight distributions will work with a surge break, so you need to make sure you have the right one. Contact us at Calgary Hitch Shop, and we can help with this.

A hitch will have two different weight ratings on it – the weight carrying and the weight distribution. Weight carrying is what the hitch is rated for if you’re towing straight off a ball mount. Weight distribution raiting is what the hitch is rated for if you’re using a weight distribution hitch. 

For example, you may have a vehicle that’s rated to tow 3,500 lbs weight carrying, and if you’re using a distribution height, the weight distribution rating may be 6,000 lbs. This is because the weight distribution hitch distributes the weight on the hitch, putting less stress on it. 

Normally, you’ll require a weight distribution hitch when you can’t get your load level or correctly balanced. “Properly balanced” entails that most of the weight should be over the trailer’s axles.

Yes. The hardware that comes with it is specific to that hitch. Using different hardware can void your warranty and is unsafe.

With heavy-duty trucks that have an actual frame, a hitch can be welded onto it if needed. Traditionally, welding something on is more expensive than a pre-fabricated hitch. If you have a smaller vehicle with a unibody rather than a frame, we do not advise welding a hitch onto it as the unibody steel is too thin.

If the instructions tell you to drill into the frame, it won’t void the warranty. Trailer hitches are designed and tested specifically for the specific vehicle and won’t cause structural issues. 

The conventional gooseneck ball is 2 5/16 inches and is typically rated for 30,000 lbs. A gooseneck hitch fastened into your truck’s bed should match the truck’s towing capacity. Be sure not to go over the vehicle’s tow rating. 

No. The factory prep package is different between Ford, Ram and GM. However, you can normally use part of your existing 5th wheel hitch and get new legs for a specific vehicle.

There is no set-in-stone weight distribution system lifespan. It can last longer if properly cared for, and the system is accurately rated for your tow configuration. So when deciding to replace it, scan for any rust, corrosion, or general wear and tear. Also, remember that single parts are replaceable, and you typically won’t need to replace the whole weight distribution system.

Ski and Cargo Box FAQs

A large roof box can fit 3 to 7 skis or 3 to 5 snowboards. Small cargo boxes can fit 2 skis or 2 snowboards. 

The right cargo box size depends on what kind of vehicle you drive, whether you park in your garage, and your specific needs. Calgary Hitch Shop provides a range of cargo box sizes and can help you choose the right one. 

Ski racks are only designed to secure skis or snowboards. A cargo box can hold other items, such as tools, sports equipment, or camping gear, to name a few.

Be sure to keep the ski rack clean and free of ice, snow, and dirt. Open and close it periodically to keep the parts moving. If you’re not using the ski rack for a long period of time, we recommend taking it off the vehicle to prevent rust, wear, and sun fading. 

Typically no, because the roof rack is made specifically for that vehicle and will attach in a way where you don’t need to drill holes. A roof rack can be removed without any damage or evidence that it was installed on the vehicle, including drilled holes.

5th Wheel Puck Hitches FAQs

The type of 5th wheel hitch you need depends on:

  • Weight limit
  • The vehicle
  • Features of the vehicle
  • Length of truck bed
  • Your budget
  • How heavy the trailer is

Calgary Hitch Shop can help you choose the right 5th wheel hitch for your vehicle.

The ideal height is one that matches the height of your trailer, so that your towing level is even.

There are different weight ratings starting at 16,000 lbs and going as high as 30,000 lbs.

Usually, 5th wheel hitches have two standard variations: sliding and fixed. Sliding 5th wheel hitches generally come with an automatic locking slider or a manual (short box truck). Fixed hitches are more affordable; however, their turning radius is smaller (long box truck).

Gooseneck Hitches FAQs

Gooseneck hitches are powerful and are the highest-rated means of towing. They’re typically used for commercial purposes.

Gooseneck trailers can be longer without compromising the towing vehicle’s stability and are typically wider, longer, and heavier. But this also entails they can haul considerably more than a bumper pull.

The most significant benefit of a gooseneck trailer is stability. Since the trailer’s tongue weight is over the rear axle of the truck rather than at the frame’s back, the possibility of trailer sway (and the subsequent loss of driver control) is decreased. Some other benefits include:

  • Ability to tow heavy weight
  • More stable than a bumper pull because it’s being towed out of the bed of a truck
  • Provide better weight distribution of the vehicle

A gooseneck trailer needs a gooseneck hitch, a 2 5/16th ball mounted in the bed of a truck.

An average first-rate trailer will last 10 to 15 years or longer when maintained well. 

A gooseneck hitch should be placed where the instructions say to put it. Traditionally, it’s always going to be above the rear axle of the truck or slightly ahead of the rear axle of the truck. 

Rooftop Tents FAQ

Yes, a good quality rooftop tent that is well-maintained can last 10-20 years or more.

Yes, rooftop tents can support up to 600 lbs and are securely mounted onto the vehicle. Even in aggressive wind, you’ll feel safe and secure. 

A hardshell rooftop tent can either be stored flat or vertically leaned up against the wall. If it’s leaned up against a wall, you’ll want to make sure that it won’t tip over.

Hardshell rooftop tents have a firm outer shell made from aluminum, fibreglass, or stiff plastic. The firm shell creates the tent’s floor and ceiling and the fabric walls fasten to the ridges, connecting the hard floor and ceiling. The tent walls consist of long-lasting waterproof material (polyamide or canvas). 

nspect your car’s dynamic weight capacity to determine if it can carry a rooftop tent’s weight safely while driving, and choose a tent model that meets your vehicle’s carrying ability. You must ensure your car can support a roof rack system.

More than likely, the one you currently have will suffice! The majority of vehicles can carry a rooftop tent. However, be sure to follow your vehicle’s roof capacity. This is essential as this figure will indicate the amount of weight you can safely transport on your vehicle.

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Brake Controllers FAQs

When choosing a brake controller, you’ll need to consider the type of cargo you’ll be pulling, how frequently you’ll be hauling, and how you want to combine the device with your car.

Yes, they must have continual power or else they will reset each time you turn off your car. Brake controllers have what’s considered a sleep mode. After a specific duration of time, they “fall asleep” and use only a few milliamps of power, ensuring they don’t drain your car’s battery.

Vertical Hanging Bike Racks FAQ

A vertical bike rack is installed on a hitch, and the bikes are hung vertically, either by the fork of the bike or the handlebars.

When choosing the ideal height for a bike rack, the most important thing is that the bike does not come into contact with the road. You want it high enough to clear steep driveways, hills, and speedbumps.

Think about utility: is the rack appropriate to your needs and lifestyle? Also, consider ease of use. Can you easily fit it into a vehicle? And, of course, safety. Does it securely hold your bike(s) and lock them to the rack and car? 

When choosing a bike rack for your vehicle, consider how many bikes you plan to carry and if you’re looking to carry e-bikes or carbon-framed bikes. Calgary Hitch Shop can help you choose the right bike rack for your specific needs and vehicle.