Ask A Trooper: Do ball hitches need to be removed when not in use?


Question: First of all, thank you for your service, it is greatly appreciated. I was recently told that I could not keep the trailer ball mount attached to the receiver of the vehicle when it is not actually hooked up to a trailer. Is this in fact true?

Answer: There is no law in Minnesota that specifically prohibits having a ball hitch in the receiver of a vehicle when not pulling a trailer at that time. It is also not illegal to have more than one ball hitch on the bumper at one time. There are laws that prohibit anything that obstructs the rear license plate that includes a ball that is attached to the hitch.

The ball hitch needs to be a device approved by the commissioner of public safety. The ball hitch must be of sufficient strength to control and support the weight of a trailer.

I recommend that you take out your receiver hitch and it is not in use as it can cause an injury to your lower leg if you happen to walk into it. I have also seen an increase in damage to a vehicle that collides with a vehicle to the front where the trailer hitch punctures the front grill, hood and radiator area.

Another good reminder is to make sure all your cargo is properly secured and make frequent checks on your trailer, hitch, safety chains and lights when traveling.

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow — Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at,