Ask a Trooper: What are rules about ball hitches in Minnesota?

Published 8:09 pm Friday, December 11, 2020

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Ask a Trooper by Troy Christianson


Question:  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?

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Answer: There is not a law in Minnesota that prohibits leaving a ball hitch in the receiver when not pulling a trailer. I do recommend that you remove your receiver hitch when it is not in use as it can cause injury if you or others walk into it. There is also an increase in damage to vehicles that collide with a trailer hitch as it may puncture the front grill, hood and radiator area.

Troy Christianson

There are laws that prohibit obstructing the rear license plate, this includes a ball that is attached to the hitch. The law also requires that the ball hitch be of sufficient strength to control and support the weight of a trailer and must be a device approved by the commissioner of public safety.   

The law also requires that your cargo is properly secured. It is important to frequently inspect your trailer, hitch, safety chains and lights when traveling.

You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober. Help us drive Minnesota toward zero deaths.

If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, at 2900 48th St. NW, Rochester, MN 55901-5848; or reach him at

Troy Christianson is a sergeant with the Minnesota State Patrol.