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Why Won’t My Trailer Hitch Release?

Why Won’t My Trailer Hitch Release?

Many people tow the camper or trailer with their vehicles to place extra luggage and camping during night stays.

Why Won’t My Trailer Hitch Release? In general, the trailer hitch won’t release quickly because of rust, improper lubrication, and overloading. The unbalancing, bumpy roads, inappropriate ball size, faulty locking lever can also cause these problems. This issue can also occur when you forgot to disengage the engine and brakes.

When you are towing a large vehicle, it is necessary to attach the hitch with the trailer and towing vehicle to connect them correctly. However, many people complain that they face a problem when they want to unhitch the vehicle.

Why Won’t My Trailer Hitch Release?

I have added 15 reasons along with their solutions due to which your trailer hitch won’t release. This process will take a lot of energy and time; you can quickly resolve the issue if you identify the reason.

Improper lubrication of trailer hitch

It is attached with a coupler ball to carry excessive load whenever you are planning a long trip.

It can cause a problem when you do not lubricate them for a long time. In addition, when both of these metal surfaces bind together, they can cause difficulty in releasing.

Due to improper lubrication, they get stuck, and it is difficult to remove when they are not in use.

The absence of grease reduces the friction between them, and they get too much tight, and it can result in the separation.

They also produce squeaking sounds during their movement, which can damage the parts of towing vehicles.

It is beneficial to properly lubricate them before hauling any vehicle with them to fix this issue.

Apply grease or oils on both the metal surface. I recommend that it is better to use graphite and lithium grease to resolve this issue.

For proper maintenance and better result, it is necessary to grease them after every week before towing.

When you forgot to switch off the engine

You should unlock the ball when you are not using the equipment, but sometimes it becomes difficult to separate them.

Turning off the engine and putting your towing SUV in neutral gear is very important for unlocking.

It is also crucial that you should also disengage the driveshaft. Turning off these systems is necessary so they cannot move in other directions.

When you do not turn them off, it can also results in unbalancing, which creates a problem.

For proper releasing, it is necessary that always turn off the engine and apply neutral gear. You can also disconnect the axle shaft to prevent unnecessary movement.

Inappropriate ball size

They are attached to the coupler balls of the towing vehicle. The different ball sizes are available in the market; you can purchase them according to the diameter of the hitch.

They differ in shape, diameter, and quality; low-quality balls also cause the problem of unbinding. 

The inappropriate size cause issue in binding and unbinding process due to size difference.

Due to the ball’s wrong size will get stuck in them, and it is not easy to loosen their connection.

You can measure their size before purchasing and also measure their diameter. 

Unbalance position 

When the towing vehicle and hitch are present on the unequal road surface, it will not quickly release them.

Sometimes it is slightly upward from towing SUV and sometimes moves downward. The excessive load also leads to unbalancing of the tires.

When you park them on bumpy roads for separation purposes, it can also cause a problem due to an unstable ground surface.

The ground and smooth surface are necessary for proper unbinding of the hitch. Always park them on smooth roads for their separation.

Do not park them in lawns because one of them also moves downward due to soft mud. You can also use different equipment to balance your tires.


When you do not remove the coupler balls after use, it becomes rusty.

The rust comes on metal surfaces 2 to 3 times more than other materials.

Parking in open garages also makes them corroded due to more humidity. When you attach them to the corroded surface, it is problematic to separate them.

Driving them in the rainy season also makes their surface rusty. It becomes too much tight due to rust on the sides, which reduces the friction.

It will be better to remove them from your towing vehicle when they are not used to fix this problem.

Use sandpaper to clean their edges and makes them rust-free. It is also beneficial to clean them with baking soda for better results.

This is better to unlock the ball on the hitch.

Fault in locking lever

The purpose of the locking lever is to secure the towing vehicle. It is made of metal; the rust comes on it due to moisture.

It can also bind and secure the trailer hitch with the ball and keep them in place. 

Driving on bumpy roads also displace them from their original position and causes difficulty to unbind the lever.

Fix this issue by proper installation of the lever to keep them in place. Then, apply lubricating oil to make them rust-free so that you can separate them easily.

Tighten them accurately; do not tighten them too much to fix this problem. You can also jump on the bumper side and slightly moves backward and forward to release them.

Overloading of the trailer

Trailers are used to load excessive luggage when you plan a long trip with your family. However, when you place overload them, it can damage the parts of towing vehicle.

It can also cause a problem during the unbinding process. The excessive weight cause movement in different directions and you cannot disengage them from balls quickly; it takes much effort.

Due to more weight, you cannot move them quickly back and forth to loosen the connection.

In this condition, you need jacks to fix this problem. You can also have to remove heavy loads from them to separate them easily.

Cold conditions won’t unlock the ball on a trailer hitch

Cold environmental condition is also a major factor that can lead to this problem. Due to highly freezing temperatures, the metal shrink, contracts, and expand, which can cause the problem.

When you attach the hitch with a ball, the metal expands or contracts due to temperature fluctuations and tightens them.

Now it is not easy to disengage them quickly from the coupler ball.

The best solution is that you should not park them in open garages. Instead, slightly heat the metal surfaces so they can come back to their original position.

Improper adjustment of wheel chocks

Chocking is also necessary during this process so you can safely release them. Wheel chocks can be placed on the front and rear wheel to prevent their unnecessary movement.

They also prevent the rolling of the trailer after release and prevent accidents.

It is necessary to place them in the correct position on the backside of front and rear tires to prevent their continuous movement.

Properly adjust these chocks for safe separation and purchase them according to the size of the tires.

Always use plastic chocks; they provide more stability and control.

The problem in safety chains

Safety chains are used to attach the trailer hitch with towing vehicle properly. They run from the beneath of the tongue and are attached with pins.

Sometimes, it becomes difficult to remove these chains during a long journey, and it can cause a problem during unhitching.

You cannot separate the towing vehicle without removing these chains. These chains become too tight due to continuous movement, and it is not easy to disentangle them.

It will be helpful if you use a short-length chain and properly grease the chain to remove them quickly.

Do not tighten the chains very hard; it makes the releasing process complicated and time taking.

Disconnection of brakes, cables, and chains

Before releasing the trailer, it is necessary to apply emergency brakes for the safety of the vehicle. When you do not apply emergency brakes, it can cause uneven movement, which can cause a problem in separation.

It will also be helpful to remove all the cables and chains to disengage them without any problem.

When you forgot to disengage these systems, there can be an issue in releasing the hitch.

It will be helpful for proper releasing if you apply emergency brakes and remove the cables and safety chains.

Over-inflated or under-inflated trailer tires

Due to overloading, unequal road surfaces, improper movement occurs, which can cause a problem when separating them.

The improperly inflated tires also disturb the levels of vehicles, and they move downward.

Use tapes and high-quality shocks to keep them in place. Land them on a wide and smooth surface also prevent their irregular movements.

The dirty and unequal surface of the coupler ball

When the towing vehicle is not used for hauling, and the coupler remains attached to them. The dust and dirt particles accumulate in them from the roadside.

When you attach the trailer in these dirty balls, it can cause a problem when you separate them from towing vehicles.

Attachment with unequal or bent surfaces of balls is not suitable.

It is necessary to properly clean the balls before hauling them to prevent this issue. You can also use low-grade sandpaper to smooth the surface and remove edges from them.

Tightened hitch nut

Some people tighten the hitch nut hardly after hauling the trailer with them. So there is a nightmare for them to loosen this nut.

It will be better to tighten the nuts according to the limits that they cannot cause problemsSlightly loosen the nuts because they properly fixed in them after movement of towing vehicle.

Bumpy roads

Driving the towing vehicles on bumpy roads also makes problems in releasing of hitch.

Due to unsmooth road surfaces, the trailer tongue binds with the coupler ball, and your trailer hitch won’t release.

Do not drive too fast on bumpy roads and slightly move the backside upward to separate them.

Jump on the trailer tongues to disengage them from balls.

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