CONVENTIONAL TOWING DEFINED
Clarifying pickup tow ratings as they relate to using the factory-supplied receiver hitch
by Bruce W. Smith
Conventional towing. Two words in the owner’s manual and found on towing websites that really confuse truck owners and their understanding of tow ratings.
Conventional towing typically means towing on-the-ball and those weight limits are far less than the truck’s max tow capacity.
Virtually all pull-behind towing is done with a tow ball, pintle hook, or other combination connected to a shank slid into a receiver hitch.
Hitching a trailer to a tow ball/shank is the most common conventional-towing setup.
Pintle hooks, which add an element of security by encircling the lunette eye attachment of the trailer and which provide a degree of articulation, are also considered part of the “conventional” towing setup.
A caveat: In 3/4-ton and larger pickups, vehicle manufacturers include a weight-distributing hitch under the “conventional towing’ umbrella.