How to Choose the Best Gooseneck Hitch for Your Truck
Posted: August 16, 2022
Categories: Buying Guides & Reviews
How to Choose the Best Gooseneck Hitch for Your Truck
With a truck that turns the world under its tires and a trailer that can move a mountain in a day, you need a gooseneck hitch that creates a dependable connection that's ready to work.
There are three basic methods for equipping your truck with a gooseneck hitch. Whatever your heavy-duty towing needs – work or play – this guide will help you select the best gooseneck hitch to get the job done.
What is a Gooseneck Hitch?
A gooseneck hitch is a type of trailer hitch that mounts into the bed of a pickup truck and provides a simple trailer ball for connecting a gooseneck trailer. Typically, gooseneck hitches are fairly subtle and unobtrusive in their design. They are also exclusive to pickup trucks. Virtually no other vehicle type is compatible. With weight capacities ranging upwards of 30,000 pounds, gooseneck hitches are commonly used for pulling horse trailers, livestock trailers and large, multi-axle flatbed trailers.
How Does a Gooseneck Hitch Work?
A gooseneck hitch is comprised of a ball mounted on top of a platform within the truck bed. When hitched up, the ball connects to the gooseneck-style coupler on the trailer and allows the truck-trailer combination to turn and articulate as it drives down the road. Most gooseneck systems also have anchors to connect the safety chains.
Typically, the coupling point of a gooseneck connection is directly above the rear axle of the truck. Some hitches allow the ball to be stored or removed from the main body of the hitch to free up the truck bed for hauling cargo.
Gooseneck Buying Guide
There are many designs and configurations of gooseneck hitches on the market, each one being a little different than the next. As such, it can be intimidating trying to determine the best gooseneck hitch for your truck. To make things easier, we’ve broken all gooseneck hitches into three main categories. Read through the following options to decide which gooseneck to buy for your needs.
What Is Your Truck Already Equipped with?
First, let’s take inventory. What towing equipment, if any, does your truck already have?
Some trucks are sold off the lot with a towing prep package. This means certain towing equipment has already been installed by the manufacturer or “original equipment manufacturer” (OEM) from the factory.
Towing prep packages vary in terms of which components are included. Don’t assume your truck already has what you need to hitch up. However, it’s worth noting that more recent models of trucks are equipped with a puck system. This is a towing prep package option that supplies the truck with the necessary platform to streamline gooseneck hitch installation, as well as 5th wheel hitch installation.
If your truck has a system like the one pictured, you may already have the foundation you need for gooseneck towing. If not, more extensive installation requirements may be necessary.
Whatever the case, consider the following three options for outfitting your truck for gooseneck towing.
3 Basic Gooseneck Options
Available in select pickup trucks only, this factory-installed system is the easiest way to equip your truck for gooseneck towing.
For trucks that do not have a puck system, the traditional method for installing a gooseneck hitch is a set of under-bed brackets.
If your truck is already equipped with 5th wheel base rails, you can easily outfit your truck with a gooseneck adapter.
Option A: Gooseneck Puck System Kit
Many pickups today, specifically models from Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Nissan and Ram, are factory-equipped with a truck bed puck system. A puck system provides attachment points for both gooseneck and 5th wheel towing.
If your truck has a puck system, an OEM puck system gooseneck ball and safety chain anchor kit is the easiest way to equip the vehicle for towing a gooseneck trailer. The components drop into the pucks with simple quarter-turn anchors, and they can be removed and stored quickly whenever necessary.
Important Note: Puck System Required!
In order to use a gooseneck puck system kit, your truck must be equipped with an original equipment puck system, as pictured above. If your truck does not have a factory puck system, the components will not fit.
Additionally, the kit that you choose must match the make and model of your truck. Puck systems vary across truck brands so you need to shop for the kit that’s made specifically for your vehicle.
Option B: Traditional Gooseneck Hitch
If your pickup truck does not have a puck system, the traditional method for installing a gooseneck hitch is to use an installation kit. These kits come with hardware and brackets that bolt onto your truck frame, underneath the truck bed, and provide a mounting point for the main body of the gooseneck hitch. Mounted just below the truck bed, the gooseneck ball and safety chain anchors can then protrude up through the surface, providing the necessary coupling point.
Most CURT gooseneck hitches and brackets are designed for truck-specific application, mounting with as little drilling and as few modifications as possible. You can shop kits that include both the brackets and hitch in one package, or purchase the components individually.
Traditional Gooseneck Hitch Setup:
Traditional Gooseneck Hitch Installation Example
CURT Gooseneck Hitch Comparison
CURT offers a wide variety of traditional gooseneck hitches, including under-bed and over-bed options. Our Double Lock EZr™ gooseneck hitch is particularly easy to install and operate, while our OEM-style gooseneck hitches mount with no extra brackets needed. We also offer our original Double Lock gooseneck hitch, folding ball gooseneck hitches and fixed ball gooseneck hitches.
Option C: 5th Wheel Gooseneck Hitch
Because a gooseneck hitch and 5th wheel hitch essentially occupy the same space in the truck bed, installing both at the same time is usually not possible. However, if you already have permanent 5th wheel base rails installed and would like to tow a gooseneck trailer, you can buy a 5th-wheel-compatible gooseneck hitch or “5th wheel gooseneck.”
A 5th wheel gooseneck hitch is essentially a 5th wheel / gooseneck adapter. It easily drops into any set of industry-standard 5th wheel base rails and provides a gooseneck ball ready for towing.
There are also options to adapt your existing gooseneck hitch into a set of 5th wheel rails, as well as trailer-side solutions that equip your 5th wheel trailer with a gooseneck coupler.
Always Abide by the Lowest Tow Rating
It is important to remember that no matter which mounting option or gooseneck hitch you choose for your truck, towing capacity is vitally important – not only the towing capacity of your truck but of each piece of towing equipment.
As a rule, your overall towing capacity is always limited to the lowest-rated towing component, whether that is your truck, trailer, gooseneck hitch, gooseneck accessories or other part of the system.