Saturday, September 23, 2023


Trailer hitch fail! Check this photo, then weep!

We found this on Facebook and felt compelled to share it with you to maybe save you from a similar situation.

The post said the woman who owned the trailer was still on her property when the hitch failed — lucky for her. People who commented thought this was probably a utility trailer, not an RV. One man replied, “It might be a utility trailer but if not continuously watched and inspected it could happen to a travel trailer” (or we assume any trailer).

But no matter what vehicle this hitch was attached to, the lesson is to inspect your own hitch on a regular basis for any signs of weakness that could lead to its failure. That could lead to disaster if you were rolling down the highway.

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  1. due to where it broke. makes one wonder if it was even built with the correct tubing to start with. some of the “lesser” trailers out there the manufactures do cut a lot of corners. including lesser metals, poor welds. employees not trained correctly, frame not reinforced correctly, etc.

  2. My husband stands on ours just to pop the ball into place. I bet this was the fault of someone who had no clue what he she was doing. Ouch. Good luck with the repairs on that one.

  3. The welds that I can see looks like they were done by an amateur. The weld at the top of the frame area looks like poor penetration and what I call bubblegum welds.

  4. That is a utility trailer that has probably been over loaded with sand, etc, over and over. ,,,, but I get the point, inspect your equipment, the other people driving on the road deserve safe passage,

  5. From the looks of the tongue and hitch, it has been totally neglected and probably overloaded numerous times. Even the drawbar is bent downward.
    Stupid is as stupid does.

  6. This a good reason not to let your trailer tongue rest on the ground while parked. Not only has it been years since it’s had any paint on it but it apparently has been in contact with a ready source moisture. A trailer tongue should never rest on the ground or anything that can transfer water to it, i.e. wood, concrete block etc.

  7. I seem to remember, just a few days ago, a pledge to totally separate from FB and to never mention that company or it’s founder again. What happened? Here is an article that mentions that cursed site/company. Some might see that as an endorsement, or a reason to go check out the very thing that was sworn off. The separation was announced by Chuck, and this article was written by Chuck.

    While I don’t suggest trying to take every article out of the library that mentions FB, I do suggest that older articles should be reviewed prior to reposting, and that any article that mentions “the Devil” should probably not be here, if the pledge was sincere.

    • Yeh. I was biting my tongue about the Facebook reference after being so pleased a few days ago with Chuck’s editorial. As for the trailer picture itself, it looks like someone’s home built item, with a TSC hitch welded to the bent frame channels of an old pickup bed. The pretty blue wire crimps help give it away, too. Regardless, any trailer needs a little safety inspection from time to time.

    • Based on the (old) ages of the later posts and replies here, I’m guessing this is a re-post of an earlier article published before the welcomed Facebook Prohibition.

  8. It’s not a travel trailer. Travel trailer couplers are different. They have a yoke that goes over both arms of the a frame and extends several inches.

  9. Wow that does look like a weak point and a troubling issue. This is just one of the many reasons we decided not to tow. Our 27′ Class C is stealth enough to drive most everywhere yet large enough for the two of us with a beautiful queen bed in the back. We have rented cars at times, which is a great solution when you’re in more robust areas near popular attractions.

  10. Fake news !!! – This has absolutely nothing to do with the hitch – if your going to write a article you should know a little about the subject.

    • First of all, right there is the picture, so it’s not fake.
      Second, they even say they don’t know the entire situation & therefore…..always check out your own to ensure it’s safe.
      Third, please try to be nicer. It’s just as easy as being rude but feels so much better.

      • That’s a tongue failure, not a hitch failure. No RV manufacturer in the US builds a tongue like that. So yes, fake news.

        Perhaps “If you pull a trailer Bob and Chip built in their back yard, this could happen to you!” Would have been a more appropriate title, and instead of casting fear on the unknowing of how things work in the trailer industry, talk about the engineering and physics that go into trailer design.

        Based on your “you hurt my feelings” reply, I’m going to guess you are one of those millennial content creators that posts stuff as fact when in reality it’s just your opinion.

    • Stop it already with the “fake news” bit. Where do you get your info, maybe google it, YouTube maybe, haha. Your !!! seems kind of angry, learn to love your neighbor, RV neighbor that is, lol. You know, they do sell this “tongue” part at WalMart, on that note your right. Bottom line is, inspect your components regularly, “the life you save could be yours”.

  11. Absolutely. Constant inspection is a must. Just look at the depth of the pits and corrosion on the side rail! That alone should have been a red flag that should have caused the owner to look underneath. Disaster avoided. For now.

    • Why? Because a millennial content creator posted something with no actual facts behind the failure with a blanket “this could happen to you!”?

      So glad I’m not a sheep.

  12. I had that happen to a boat trailer once. On the highway. Going through an urban area. At 60 mph. It wasn’t a good day

  13. Yes, utility trailer, U channel is just too small to be anything else. Plus it looks old, and rust has been allowed to weaken structure. Inspect your stuff, and keep eye on rust.

  14. We spotted a trailer that had dropped from its hitch in Baker, Nevada, near Great Basin National Park. Couldn’t quite see going past what had happened, but it appeared that the hitch on the RV (or the metal around it) had failed. Dropped the trailer smack on the front edge where the propane tanks sit. Maybe they didn’t have the trailer fully secured on the ball hitch? Neither the truck towing nor the towed trailer looked very old. (We’ve never towed a trailer — just motorhome and fifth wheel, so I’m not clear on how the hitch would work.) So I guess it happens!

  15. This picture reminds me of a Great story my family tells all the time. I’ll give the short version (there is so much more to tell).

    In 2001 i was laid off in October, so we took off from our home in New England in our 15′ long Sunlight Discover trailer behind our 1 ton Passenger van with our 4 children (ages 6 to 16). 6 people in a 15 foot box is an amazing time. We stayed in Walmarts and closed-for-the winter-federal camp grounds, saving our money and making it back and forth across the country in 6 weeks on the cheap. (oh what an adventure we had.. closing Yellowstone, camping in death valley, a narrow road through the mountains to finally reach the Pacific) ..

    On the return trip we were driving at night on rt 40 near Muskogee OK, pitch black out. I was sleeping on the back bench seat of the van as the wife drove. I woke up and looked back through the rear window of the van and marveled at all the stars I could see, Until i started to realize i should be seeing a trailer. I sat up and called out to my wife with the phrase which is now famous in family lore
    “Honey… Where is the trailer?”
    She thought I was joking, but of course i wasn’t .. the trailer had come off while we were driving, silently during the dark, we had no idea when!

    Working to keep the story short I’ll skip calling 911 from the road trying to explain to them that i had no idea where our trailer was (“When did you last see your trailer” they ask), or finding a welder on the Monday of Veterans day in rural OK (he used sunglasses as welding googles. “just feels like sand in your eye if you do it too long”) .. and the 1000 other interesting things that occurred that day.

    We got out of the van and found our coupler and chains all hanging off the hitch ball with out a trailer .. like something you would see in a Mad Magazine cartoon. It turns out the welds had failed at a similar spot to the picture above, while we were crossing a rough patch of road starting up an over pass while eastbound on 40. My wife had been doing a good job of scanning the mirrors so I must have been woken up by the bumps that caused the separation.

    The trailer had dropped off on its own, and continued straight ahead safely navigating across the over pass .. only moving off the road to the right once safely on the other side, then into the grass .. still rolling fast. It pushed some dirt ahead as it rolled over the grass .. which we know because it spread the dirt over the on ramp that it jumped! .. We know it jumped because the dirt it spread evenly on the on ramp pavement did NOT have tire tracks in it from the trailer! And this was just in front of a Tractor Trailer rig which was parked on the ramp so the driver could get some sleep. It came to rest 50 feet further in the fence around a farmer’s field.

    It was shaken up inside, but most cabinets still closed.. even none of the eggs in the fridge were broken. It has stayed “on it’s feet” the whole way and relatively smoothly!

    It took the day.. but we found a welder, and new coupler, a tow truck and got fixed and back on the road the very same day. 2 days later as we drove through Ohio we saw the trailer was hanging lower and lower .. turns out more was broken on the frame and we had to do another road side repair .. but nothing will compare to our amazement when we discovered the trailer was missing, and we had no idea where it had come off, and our wonder to find the journey that it had taken safely on its own once we parted company.

    Here’s hoping this is not a common occurrence.. but it was certainly memorable for us!

    Blessings and Safety to all.

    • Sorry, but I had to laugh. A couple posts earlier was someone with the user name Dude, where’s my car. Yours should be Dude, where’s my trailer!
      And yes, thank God for safety, and no one got hurt when the trailer parted ways with you!

  16. That looks like a bad design… possibly home made? The tube coming straight out of the trailer looked much lighter than the channel coming from the trailer frame. Overloading the trailer would compound any fatigue

  17. Looking at the pictures, the hitch didnt fail. The frame broke off just behind the hitch. Probably was cracked for a long time before it failed.

    • This happens when you weld two different thicknesses of steel. The heavier frame requires more heat and the thinner tongue tube is burnt through, causing weak spots.

    • Additionally, having all three of those welds so close together is bad practise, poor design, and probably the reason it cracked there.

      • It can also happen after a jackknife incident say when trying to turn around a boat trailer on a narrow dirt road when you are young and inexperienced causing damage the tongue without realizing it, it can drop at a later time, like when pulling into your driveway. Don’t ask how I know


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