Are You Struggling to Measure Hitch Drop? Our Comprehensive Guide Has You Covered! (2023)


If you've ever found yourself scratching your head, trying to figure out how to measure hitch drop, you're not alone. This seemingly simple task can leave even the most experienced individuals feeling perplexed. But fear not! Our easy-peasy, smooth-as-silk article is here to rescue you from your hitch drop measurement woes. After scouring the internet and delving into countless videos and articles, we've crafted the perfect step-by-step guide to help you master this task with ease. In this comprehensive article, we'll walk you through the process of measuring your drop hitch, and as a bonus, we'll also cover rise hitches. So, buckle up and get ready for an informative ride!

Why Measure for a Drop Hitch?

You might be wondering why it's necessary to go through all the rigmarole of measuring trailer and coupler height. Can't you simply attach the trailer to the ball mount, load your cargo, and hit the road? Unfortunately, it's not that simple. One-size-fits-all solutions are rare, and attempting to fit a trailer onto any receiver mount or vehicle without considering the measurements can lead to trouble. Your trailer may not fit properly, causing it to dip downward or creating an unlevel towing experience. Safety is also a significant concern, as mismatched heights can strain the trailer's rear or put extra strain on your vehicle. To ensure your vehicles are level and to determine the appropriate hitch drop or rise, measuring is essential.

The Hitch Drop (and Rise) Measuring Tango

Now, let's dive into the step-by-step process of measuring your drop hitch. Before we begin, make sure you have the following essentials ready:

  1. Your tow vehicle and trailer, parked on level ground.
  2. A trusty measuring tape.
  3. A ruler or scale.
  4. Cargo loaded up for accurate measurement.
  5. A trailer kickstand or jack to keep things stable.

Step 1 - Find Your Level-Headed Happy Place

Start by parking your tow vehicle and trailer on a flat surface. If there's a height difference between your trailer and towing vehicle, don't worry – a ball mount can bridge the gap. Load up your cargo, ensuring it's distributed as it would be during actual towing. Now, let's get precise with our measurements:

  1. Measure the distance from the pavement to the inside wall of the receiver opening's top. This measurement is your hitch height (A).
  2. Measure the distance from the pavement to the coupler's bottom. This measurement is your coupler height (B).
  3. Subtract the hitch height (A) from the coupler height (B) to find your drop value.
  4. The resulting number indicates the drop your trailer needs. If your coupler height is greater than your hitch height, you'll require a rise hitch instead.

Step 2 - Sizing Up Your Shank

Next, let's focus on finding the right shank size. The shank is the part of the trailer ball mount that fits into the receiver tube. To measure the shank:

  1. Measure the rise, which is the distance from the ball platform above the shank's top.
  2. Measure the drop, which is the distance below the shank's top.
  3. Calculate the length from the pinhole center to the ball hole center.
  4. Measure the hole size to ensure a snug fit for the trailer ball shank.

Step 3 - Weighing In on Weight Capacity

Moving on, it's crucial to consider weight capacity. Two factors play a significant role: tongue weight and gross trailer weight. Tongue weight refers to the weight of the trailer at the coupling point, while gross trailer weight includes the combined weight of the trailer and its cargo load. When selecting a ball hitch, ensure it can handle both the gross trailer weight and tongue weight. It's advisable to choose a ball hitch with a higher tongue weight capacity for added safety.

Step 4 - Tracking Down the Perfect Trailer Ball

Congratulations, you've made it to the final step! Now that you have completed steps 1-3, it's time to find the perfect trailer ball. Ensure that the trailer ball diameter matches the size of your coupler. This compatibility ensures a secure connection between your trailer and towing vehicle.


With our comprehensive guide, you now possess the knowledge and understanding to measure hitch drop and rise like a pro. Remember, safety is paramount when towing, and accurate measurements are key to ensuring a smooth and secure towing experience. By following our step-by-step instructions and taking the time to measure your hitch correctly, you'll be well on your way to hitching up with confidence. So, go forth and conquer your hitch drop measurement challenges with ease!

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