Most of the time, people can get away with using a standard ball hitch for their trailer. However, larger trailers (RVs, campers, livestock trailers, etc.) require a fifth wheel hitch because they allow for appropriate weight distribution. The whole fifth “wheel” thing is a bit of a misnomer in modern configurations and dates back to the days of carriages when there really was a “fifth wheel”. Today’s configuration consists of a coupling that has been installed in the bed of a pickup that consists of a “coupling pin” and a horseshoe shaped device (the “fifth wheel”).
When do you need a fifth wheel hitch? Well, you absolutely need one when you are hauling larger livestock trailers, campers, or semi-trailers. You could use one when you have a medium sized trailer that requires the type of extra support and weight distribution that these hitches provide.
Once you’ve made the decision to purchase a fifth wheel hitch for your truck, stop by our showroom. We work with several different manufacturers, each with their own set of strengths. It is easier to discuss which one is best for your vehicle in person because it allows the sales staff to physically point out things about the hitch or your vehicle that might help you make the right purchase.
To answer the original question: when do I need a fifth wheel hitch? The short answer is that if you’re hauling a second home with your truck, if you’ve got 20 head of steer you need to move, or your truck is actually a “semi” then you need a fifth wheel hitch.