Trailer hitch fail! Check this photo, then weep!

16

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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16 Comments
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ray
3 months ago

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.

Renee
3 months ago
Reply to  ray

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.

Viper
2 months ago
Reply to  Renee

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.

D. Cohen
3 months ago

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.

steve
3 months ago

Almost want to put a heavy duty caster under the tongue and extra safety chains, just in case.

Viper
2 months ago
Reply to  steve

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.

David Bentley
3 months ago

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

Montgomery Bonner
3 months ago

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.

Ellen
3 months ago

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!

Steve Pustell
3 months ago

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.

JGinFL
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve Pustell

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!

Rich Thelen
3 months ago

Even utility trailers have cargo carrying capacities…..show the rest of the picture, what is loaded on it?

Dude, where's my car
3 months ago

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

Bob M
3 months ago

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.

WEB
3 months ago
Reply to  Bob M

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.

ben
3 months ago
Reply to  Bob M

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