How to Fix a Trailer Hitch That’s Stuck on the Ball

Having trouble with your trailer hitch getting stuck on the ball? There are few things worse than getting your RV or trailer positioned perfectly and then having trouble unhitching it.

While this is frustrating, it doesn’t have to ruin your day. We’ve found a handful of things you can try the next time you run into this situation.

Today, we’ll learn how you can fix a stuck trailer hitch that’s stuck on the ball. Let’s get started!

What are trailer hitches?

Trailer hitches are attached to a vehicle and connected to a trailer. They consist of a ball joint that allows the trailer to be attached to the vehicle and towed behind it.

Trailer hitches provide a secure connection between the vehicle and trailer, ensuring the safe transportation of goods and materials.

They come in different sizes and weight capacities for different vehicles and trailers, and there are several types of hitches, including receiver hitches, fifth wheels, and gooseneck hitches.

Before you hitch a trailer to your vehicle, you need to check the towing capacity of your vehicle. Overloading the towing vehicle or trailer hitch can result in dangerous and costly accidents.

What are hitch balls?

Coupling balls are parts of a trailer hitch that connect it to the trailer hitch. The ball is inserted into the hitch and locks the ball in place. This ensures that the trailer remains connected to the towing vehicle while driving.

Steel is usually the metal of choice for these balls, which come in a variety of sizes and weights. You need to make sure you match the hitch ball with the specifications of the trailer you will be towing.

The size and type of ball you use will depend on the particular trailer and hitch.

A ball for the trailer hitch

Why does the trailer hitch get stuck on the hitch ball?

There are several reasons why a trailer hitch can get stuck on the hitch ball. Normal wear and tear and exposure to the elements are some of the main causes of stuck hitches.

You need to regularly maintain your equipment and keep it free of rust and corrosion. Keeping the moving parts lubricated and in good condition will ensure their life for years to come.

There is also the possibility that the hitch was installed incorrectly. In this case, it could be difficult to find the correct alignment for unhitching. Regardless of whether you installed your hitch yourself or paid a professional to do it for you, you should make sure that everything is properly aligned.

The position of the trailer and tow vehicle can make it difficult to unhitch a trailer. There may be too much or too little weight on the ball. Depending on the situation, the position of the trailer may put pressure on the hitch ball and cause friction when you try to remove it.

How to try to loosen a stuck trailer hitch from the ball

If your trailer hitch is stuck on the ball, there are a number of things you can do to loosen it. Let’s take a look at some of the things you can try to loosen your hitch ball from the trailer hitch.

Add lubrication

Lack of lubrication is one of the most common causes of a trailer hitch getting stuck on a ball. If you don’t already, keep a can of spray lubricant on hand when towing a trailer.

As you can see, you never know when it will come in handy. WD-40 is one of the most popular brands and is available online and in many stores.

Spray the lubricant into the clutch as best you can. This can help move the moving parts and free up the clutch ball. Once free, spray the moving parts liberally and move them several times to work the lubricant into the parts.

Move your vehicle back and forth slightly

Occasionally, a trailer may get caught on the hitch ball because the ball is not properly seated on the hitch. By moving your vehicle forward and backward, you can adjust the position of the ball in the hitch.

You just need to know where everyone is and that nothing is in your way. Some people get easily distracted when hitching up and forget to watch for objects or people that might be in their way.

Some drivers make a habit of always making the last pull in reverse to reduce the pressure of the clutch ball on the clutch. If you park your motorhome or trailer in a pull-through space, simply back up a few inches before parking your vehicle.

Impact on the vehicle

If you’re struggling and frustrated, you may need to go a step further and move your stubborn hitch a little more. Sometimes bouncing up and down on the truck bed can change the position of the hitch and ball. This simple act can be enough to separate the two.

When doing this, make sure that you have adjusted the height of the jack so that the weight is distributed on it. This way you will avoid damage to the coupling if it comes loose.

When using this method, make sure everyone keeps their fingers and other body parts out of the area.

Light blows with a hammer on the clutch

When all else fails and you are desperate, pick up a hammer. We recommend taking a rubber mallet for these cases, as it has the same effect but does not cause any damage.

If you hit the clutch with the hammer, you can make it release the ball. You can increase your chances by hopping on your vehicle and hitting the clutch with the hammer.

Again, keep your fingers and other body parts away from the spot.

The basics of unhitching your trailer

Whether you’re new to unhitching or have been doing it for years, there are some things you need to do every time.

Otherwise, you could make it harder on yourself than it needs to be. Let’s take a look at some of the basics for unhitching a trailer.

Make reverse your last move

As mentioned earlier, you should always put your vehicle in reverse before parking it. Putting your car in reverse will release pressure from the clutch ball on the clutch. When pressure is applied to the clutch, it can be very difficult to release it.

Many RV owners face this problem when using a pull-through site instead of a site with reverse gear. You usually do not have to reverse on pull-through sites unless you exceed your landing space or need to make some other adjustment.

Fortunately, it only takes a second or two, and if you take the time, you can easily unhitch your trailer.

Pro Tip: If this is your first time towing an RV, check out our RV towing guide for beginners!

Confirm the release of the trailer hitch

Once you have chocked the wheels and lowered the tongue jack, you will need to release the hitch. To release the hitch, you usually need to lift a latch on the tongue of the trailer and pull it back. If everything goes according to plan, it should move freely and with relative ease.

However, there may be times when the trailer hitch gets stuck or will not release from the ball. This is the time to use some of the methods we have presented.

Adjust weight with tongue jack

It can take some time to learn, but you want to find the optimum point to make releasing the hitch as easy as possible. The optimum point is when you have the right weight on the tow vehicle to make it easy to release the hitch.

You may need to adjust the height and position of the trailer with the tongue jack to find the optimum point. Depending on the height of the parking lot, this point may change constantly.

Once the trailer is clear, you only need to raise it an inch or two to pull your vehicle forward and out of the way. Once your tow vehicle is out of the way, you can use the tongue jack to adjust the height of the trailer so that it is level.

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Keep the coupler and ball clean

If your trailer is difficult to uncouple, you should take the time to find out why. If you can keep your coupler and hitch ball clean, you can avoid some of the most frustrating situations.

When not in use, many drivers remove their clutch ball to prevent dirt and grime from getting on it. These items can get into the hitch ball the next time the trailer is hitched, making it difficult to unhitch.

Remember: Should you do it yourself or call in a professional to install a fifth wheel trailer hitch? Let’s dive in!

Close-up of a trailer hitch stuck to the ball

Regularly use dry lubricant

Lubricating your gearbox and equipment regularly can help you avoid problems. How often you use dry lubricant depends on how often you tow.

However, we recommend carrying a can of spray lubricant in your vehicle’s tool bag. You may not need to use it often, but you’ll be glad you have it with you.

A stuck trailer hitch can put you in a bind

When a trailer hitch gets stuck on the ball, it can be frustrating, especially after a long day. However, if you know how to handle yourself and the trailer, you can get out of a jam quickly.

The next time you’re stuck or struggling with a stubborn hitch ball, try the tips and tricks we’ve shared with you. Let us know which ones work best for you and any other tips you have for when you’re struggling with a stuck clutch ball.

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