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Posted: June 08, 2014

Do Class 5 Hitches Surpass Standardized Testing Capabilities?

Has consumer needs outpaced the abilities of standard testing agencies to keep up?

By TTM Staff

TestLink Services Inc. testing a hitch coupler for a client. According to Carl Andreasen, project manager at TestLink Services Inc., there is some confusion among hitch buyers, regarding class-5 hitches and any type of standardized testing that is able to keep up with increasing GVW ratings. Companies like TestLink Services has been serving the hitch and trailering industries since 2002. "Members of  our staff  have  been testing hitches  to  SAE (Society  of  Automotive  Engineers)  and V-5regulations since 1980," says Adreasen.  "The proper scenario is for test standards to be written and published to encompass the full range of hitch capacities in the marketplace.  Unfortunately that has not been the case since the late 1990’s."

Andreasen points out that SAE J684 is the voluntary est  standard of choice for nearly all  manufacturers  of towing products to be marketed in the U.S. and Canada. SAE J684 is an active technical report that includes all test parameters of the old, idle Regulation V-5.  "It, however, only addresses trailer connections whose Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) does not exceed Class 4, 10,000 lbs.(4540 kg) and the latest revision was July of 2005," says Andreasen,  "Anyone marketing a Class 5 hitch has probably tested it to exceed SAE Class 4, 10,000 lbs. But Class 5 is not a category described not covered by SAE."  

So until there's more of a standardized testing consumers are dependant on the testing that manufacturers are doing to ensure the products meet up to increasinlgy heavier ratings. Many hitch manufacturers we've spoken with over the years have said they would like to see some type of standardized testing that the industry could follow, but agree that its difficult to get everyone together to make that happen. Fortunately, many manufacturers are applying higher-grade hardware, thicker steel and improved manufacturing techniques to make their products stronger and compatible with the towing capabilities of late-model vehicles.  According to Andreasen, the SAE Trailer Committee does show a work in progress for a Conventional Towing System up to 20,000 lbs.


TestLink Services, Inc.

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