Transporting heavy loads is possible by connecting a trailer to your vehicle's hitch. But, when you don't want to use your trailer anymore and must detach it, the trailer ball may not come off the hitch. To help you solve this problem, we researched why this happens and how to detach the trailer ball from the hitch.
The trailer ball will not come off the hitch due to an incorrect ball size and receiver, cold weather, or rust. You can, however, remedy these problems through the following:
- Spray a lubricant
- Apply a heat source
- Use a long-handle wrench
- Cut out the nut
Keep reading to learn how to unstick a trailer ball that won’t detach from the hitch and the reasons causing it. Included are the recommended lubricants for maintenance. You will also learn how to adjust when the trailer ball fits loosely or too tightly in the coupler. Lastly, there are tips to help you store your trailer correctly.
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Why Your Trailer Ball Is Stuck To The Hitch?
Various reasons can cause your trailer ball not to come off the hitch, including:
Incorrect Ball Size And Receiver
Ball hitches come in a standard size. However, this can confuse you because they are sometimes available in a bigger or smaller size. As a result, you may overlook this fact and buy a slightly bigger one. So, while you were able to fix the trailer ball into the hitch, it may not come off easily.
The solution to this problem is to replace the trailer ball with a size that fits your hitch.
Metal contracts and shrinks in cold weather. Subsequently, the trailer tongue and the hitch can lock up tightly. As mentioned earlier, one of the solutions is to bring a heat source to the point the trailer ball and hitch join. The heat should loosen them.
You may also want to store your trailer in a warm place when you are not using it. This is because the metal can degrade when it contracts and expands each time the weather changes.
If you live in humid areas, rust can be a big problem. When it forms around the trailer ball and hitch, it causes friction. This can prevent you from easily disconnecting the trailer ball from the hitch, so you may have to use extra force.
Whereas these parts come with a coating to prevent rust, with time it rubs off. Thus, to prevent rusting, regularly apply a protective lubricant that is also water resistant.
How To Remove A Trailer Ball Stuck Onto A Hitch
It can be frustrating trying to remove a trailer ball from your hitch, but it won't come off. However, there are several methods you could try, which include:
Spray enough lubricant around the trailer ball and hitch, especially where the two connect. If there is any rust, leave it for a few hours, or better still, overnight. This will break down the rust.
Remember, rust causes friction, making the movable parts difficult to move. After removing the rust, you can detach the trailer ball from the hitch.
Apply A Heat Source
You can use a heat source like a blow torch to heat the mounting nut. But first, put on your gloves and welding mask to protect yourself. Point the flame at the nut so that it can expand. As you do so, it will first turn red, but when it starts glowing lightly, turn off the torch.
Due to the intense heat, the nut should have loosened from the threads of the trailer ball. Next, use a wrench and try turning the nut. You should be able to turn it easily and finally remove the trailer ball.
Use A Long-Handle Wrench
Using a wrench with a long handle gives you more leverage and uses less force to turn it. Thus, this task becomes easier. Grip the nut and try turning it. If it still proves difficult, you can fix a long hollow pipe over the wrench handle to provide even more leverage. Once you succeed in turning it, use another wrench to grip the trailer ball and turn it in the opposite direction.
Cut The Nut Out
When everything else has failed, use an angle grinder that cuts through metal. You'll use it to cut through the nut. Read the instructions in the manual and wear your safety gear, a pair of goggles, and work gloves. Turn on the grinder and gently cut through the nut. This will detach the trailer ball from your hitch.
How To Correctly Fix Coupler To The Trailer Ball
If the trailer ball fits loosely or too tight in the coupler, it has not been fitted correctly. Usually, when it fits perfectly, you should be able to push back the coupler handle using a little pressure when locking it. To correct this, you need to make the necessary adjustments.
When the coupler handle is loose, then the trailer ball sits loosely in the coupler. Adjust this by tightening the lock nut against the tension spring. But, if the handle is tight, it could be due to the tightening of the two bolts that secure the coupler to the tongue assembly. Untighten these bolts by half a turn using a socket and wrench.
After the adjustments, place the coupler on the trailer ball and ensure it fits snuggly in the ball socket. It should not be too tight or loose, and you can now tow your trailer.
Check out this video that provides a visual presentation of how to adjust the trailer ball in the coupler:
What Are The Best Lubricants For Your Trailer Ball And Hitch?
To combat rust and to easily disconnect the hitch from the trailer, you will need to have some lubricants around. You should at least have the following two in your store:
The WD-40 lubricant is popular because it is versatile and comes in an easy-to-spray can. It not only lubricates but also prevents rust from forming and is water resistant. It's excellent at dissolving rust, making it one of the best choices for loosening a trailer ball that is stuck to a hitch.
White Lithium Grease
You can use a white lithium grease like the one shown above that is available in a small tube that you squeeze to release the contents. It protects metal from moisture, preventing rust.
How Do You Properly Store Your Trailer?
If you are not using your trailer for a while, you will need to store it safely in a cool and dry place. The following tips can help:
Grease Movable Parts
Grease all the movable parts in your trailer, such as the hitch, hinges, and bearings. This will prevent them from wearing out faster than they should. If you have to store it outside, consider covering it with a tarp.
Lubricate Axle Bearings Often
When using your trailer, the axle bearings lubricate themselves when they rotate. When they are stationary, the lubricant will not sufficiently lubricate the bearings. That is why you should lubricate them often.
Suspend Your Trailer
Suspending all the weight of your trailer onto the tires can cause them to deteriorate fast. They could eventually get damaged, and you might have to replace them, which can be costly.
To prevent this from happening, jack up your trailer. In addition, avoid storing things inside your trailer. Instead, you should empty it.
Sometimes the trailer ball may not easily come off the hitch. The reasons why this happens are explained, and several methods to overcome this problem have been provided.
To maintain your trailer in good condition, it is important to lubricate the movable parts often. Don't forget to do the same after storing your trailer. And finally, learn how to correctly fix a trailer ball to the coupler, a minor adjustment you can do yourself.
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