How to

How to measure trailer hitch drop – Simple hitch measuring guide

To be able to tow with ease and without any problems, you must be sure that your trailer is leveled or balanced. Paying close attention to this one thing can make the whole experience convenient along with ensuring that your tires wear out evenly and that there’s same amount of strain on your trailer and your tow truck. 

This leveling can only be achieved if you are familiar with rise and drop and can measure them accurately. In this article we will help you with exactly that.

What is a rise?

Check the distance from the ball platform’s top to the shank’s top after orienting your ball mount for higher coupler height. The number you get is the rise.

What is a drop?

To understand this, your ball mount should be oriented in the other way – for lower coupler height. Now, check the distance from the ball platform’s top to the shank’s top. The answer is the drop.

How to measure trailer hitch drop

Measuring the rise and drop of the trailer hitch

Follow the steps below to successfully measure trailer hitch drop and rise:

  1. To start off with, you will need to note the hitch height and the coupler height. 
    • Park your vehicle on a level (even) ground and measure it from the top of the hitch receiver all the way down to the ground. This will give you the hitch height.
    • Keep the trailer level and measure from the coupler’s bottom to the ground. This will give you the coupler height.
  2. Find the difference between the two measurements. 

This will help you understand which ball mount to buy – the one with a rise or a drop. 

  • Get a ball mount with a rise if the coupler height is more
  • Get a ball mount with a drop if the hitch height is more

The difference that you found earlier will help you decide the amount of drop or rise the ball mount should have.

BONUS – If you have to tow multiple trailers

Avoid the hassle of purchasing separate ball mounts for each trailer by investing in an adjustable ball mount. As the name suggests, you can change the rise and drop on adjustable ball mounts to suit your requirements. This is much cheaper than buying fixed mounts.


Below are the answers to a few common FAQs about trailer hitch drop:

1) How much drop do I need on my trailer hitch?

As mentioned above, you can determine this by finding the difference between the hitch height and coupler height.

2) What happens if the trailer hitch is too high?  

Your trailer might start swaying and that’s not a good sign at all.

3) How high should the trailer hitch be off the ground?

The average is about 17 inches.

We hope this article has answered all your questions and doubts about measuring trailer hitch drop. If you have any more queries, please feel free to speak to us. We will do our best to help you out.

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