Let’s talk Lubrication

Damage to ball from no/low lubrication

Whenever you are operating a vehicle, there’s a LOT of metal on metal contact. From engines, transmissions, steering, suspension, and your towing connections.

Your engine and transmission are self-lubricating (provided you keep an eye on your fluid levels!). Your steering and suspension systems get lubricated manually, typically when you are getting an oil change done.

So, what about your towing system? Lets face it, most people don’t read the manuals that come with most things. Realistically, for the money you’ve invested, it’s best to pay close attention to this stuff.

Think about it this way, your trailer weighs a few thousand pounds and pivots on a metal post (either a 5th wheel, goose neck or travel trailer/ball). Doesn’t matter what type of system you have, weight distribution or not. There is a LOT of weight on some small (2-4″ worth of metal) contact points.

Further, there is a lot of friction as the contact points are constantly grinding on each other. The design of the connections are balls for a reason. The tow vehicle and trailer are constantly moving in a slightly different or vastly different axis (turning, bumps, hills, etc).

This is one lesson I learned the hard way several years ago. I was towing a utility trailer off-road to a camp site. The terrain was pretty bad and I ended up scraping the truck and trailer a few times; which wasn’t a big deal. What I noticed afterwards tho was that my tow-ball was badly damaged. There were multiple gouges in the metal from towing. Granted, it didn’t all just happen at one, it was from years of misuse; it was obvious I was doing something wrong.

If you tow, you need to lubricate your tow system. If you are towing a utility trailer, a little grease on the ball will make a world of difference for protecting both the trailer and the ball. If you don’t use a lubrication, best case scenario is that you damage the tow ball; that’s easy to replace. Worst case scenario is that you damage your trailer. That’s not a part that un-bolts folks, that’s a cut-off and re-weld type situation. That’s not an easy or inexpensive thing to fix.

So, with that being said, lubrication. Read the manual that came with your hitch. The blue-ox tow system recommends a moly based lubricant (#ad). I was able to find some for a reasonable price on amazon and will use it whenever I tow. The first application went on thick, to ensure it got everywhere it needed to. Subsequent applications will be small, to maintain the amount of needed lubrication.

For general towing, you can get away with white lithium grease, or use the Reece tow grease (#ad) that’s readily available almost everywhere.

Take care of your vehicle and your trailer, you paid a lot for them and you’ll want them to last you a long, long, long time.

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