I think of this type of tow ball as a "European" style. (That could be really ignorant, its just where I've seen them).

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I've read these described as a "hook". Is that just descriptive of the shape or are they really meant to function as a hook in some situations? Like a "pintle" I think they are called in the US.

For comparison, here's a US "equivalent" which this reminded me of; though this US version is specifically meant to be used either as a ball or a pintle "hook" AFAIK:

enter image description here


1 Answer 1


As is often the case, there are different standards for towing attachments: an International standard used almost everywhere in the world except the USA, and 5 different standards in the USA, though the fifth one is not "officially" a standard!

A pintle is fundamentally different from the ISO towing ball. It may be more secure for towing over rough terrain, but it gives a rougher ride because the clearance in the pintle "hook and eye" connection allows the trailer to slam into the tractor at every acceleration or deceleration.

Pintles are used in Europe but only for specialist applications such as towing agricultural machinery etc. They are not part of the ISO standard.

  • 1
    The original Landrover towing hitch had both in one unit and was supplied as standard for many years.
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 19, 2019 at 4:05
  • 3
    Well, arguably the original Landrover was a specialist vehicle, before it reached the stage where you could buy spray-cans of dirt to make a Chelsea tractor look like you had driven it off-road ;)
    – alephzero
    Apr 19, 2019 at 9:12
  • You mean prior to when the High Court allowed it to exceed 30mph?
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 19, 2019 at 9:45

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