If you do a lot of off-roading, you may also spend a lot of time towing your vehicle or your friends' vehicles out of the mud. This can be hard on your tow hitch. If you want to protect your ball hitch and keep it looking like new, there are several tips that can help you. Take a look at these ideas:
1. Invest in a stainless steel ball.
Ball hitches are made of a range of materials, and many of them are plated with copper, chrome or other types of metal. These finishes can get easily scratched as you use them. In most cases, that is simply an aesthetic issue, but in some cases, your ball hitch may be more likely to rust if the finish comes off. You can avoid this by not buying a tow ball with a plated finish. Instead, look for a solid stainless steel tow hitch. That allows you to use your hitch with very little risk of rust.
2. Lubricate your tow hitch.
When the metal of the tow hitch hits the metal of tow chain or the coupler, the two metals may grate against each other, and this can scratch your tow ball, regardless of its material. To prevent this unnecessary scratching, apply a metal lubricant to your tow hitch. This allows the two pieces of metal to rub against each other with as little friction as possible. Without lubrication, the metal from the tow chain or the coupler is likely to just dig into the ball.
3. Protect your ball hitch when not in use.
When you are not using your tow ball, protect it. You can make a simple cover out of a tennis ball. Simply cut a slit in the tennis ball, and slip it over your tow hitch. If your tow ball is too large and the tennis ball won't slip over it, use a small knife to gut the inside of the tennis ball. Once only the soft cover is remaining, you can slip that over your tow hitch.
Alternatively, you can slip a sock over your tow hitch. This protects your hitch from the elements, and if your hitch has grease on it, the cover prevents the grease from getting on you as you walk around the vehicle.
4. Don't overload your tow hitch.
Each tow hitch is only rated to hold a certain weight. If you surpass these limitations, you may damage the tow ball or possibly even your vehicle. If you are towing a friend's vehicle out of the mud, always make sure that your equipment can handle the task. If not, make sure that you contact a professional tow truck service for help.