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Installing Trailer Hitches: A Carasel Guide

Posted by Bob Newman on Oct 16, 2014 - 0 Comments

installing trailer hitches

It’s now simple to install a trailer hitch in the comfort of your own backyard with these easy-to-follow instructions.

 

Using your car for pulling boats or trailers was not easy back in the day – you would have to take your vehicle to an auto service provider that specialised in hitch mountings to install the trailer hitch for you. However, these days there are many cars and trucks come with predrilled holes that accept a variety of trailer hitches that are provided by either the vehicle manufacturer, or any of the number of aftermarket sources. Even if there are no holes are provided by the vehicle manufacturer, the process of drilling them in to install a hitch is easy for anyone who’s handy with some hardware. There is the odd application that requires professional installation, but these are rare to come across.

Here at Carasel Towbars Sydney, we love a trailer hitch – so much so that we’ve written an entire guide on how to install them, so that you can love them as much as we do!

Our Guide will provide the necessary information for you to determine which trailer hitch is appropriate for your vehicle, give you a rundown of the tools required to perform the trailer hitch installation, go through the process of coordinating the wiring from trailer to towing vehicle, as well as the actual procedures involved with installing the trailer hitch and its electrical connections.

 

What trailer hitch is right for my vehicle?

There are a lot of custom-made trailer hitches available today – over 10,000, in fact. Each one has its pros and cons – price, functionality, durability and other factors will all come into play when determining which hitch is right for your vehicle. In order to have the best range of hitches at the best prices available to you, it is best to look online for a local wholesaler. While your mechanic down the road may stock some of the more popular lines, for a more specific request they will have to look online for a trailer hitch anyway, and their retail price may be higher than what you find online. Hitches bought from online retailers will come with the necessary mountain hardware and instructions.

Before you buy any hitch, ensure that it is rated for the vehicle being towed. Check your vehicle’s manual – it will contain specifications that define the weight limits the vehicle can tow. If you have any doubt about what kind of trailer hitch to order or there is any chance of eventually pulling a greater load, it’s best to go up a class, if that option is available.

 

What tools do I need to install a trailer hitch?

In order to install a trailer hitch properly and safely, you’ll need the right tools for the job. You will need:

To raise the vehicle: a good pair of jack stands to secure the frame (alternatively, a pair of ramps that will raise the back end of the vehicle efficiently)

To install the hitch: a good torque wrench and sockets, wire cutters, strippers, wire connectors, electrical tape

To set up the wiring for the lights: starting with a good wiring kit that is customised for each vehicle type is the best way to minimise the possibility of malfunction – don’t skimp on fittings!

 

Trailer hitches: the installation process

  1. Prepare the work area: do not begin installing the trailer hitch on a sloped surface – ensure that the working area is completely flat, that the vehicle transmission is set to Park, the emergency brake is set, and the front tires are chocked to ensure no movement is possible while you’re working.
  2. Position the hitch: if the vehicle frame is not predrilled, simply attach the hitch to it with a pair of c-clamps, then mark the centre of the holes with a punch. Remove the hitch, then drill both the pilot and final holes – use a bit that is just slightly larger than the bolt supplied.
  3. Attach the hitch: Once you’ve drilled the holes in the frame, re-attach the hitch with the clamps and install the nuts and bolts as indicated in the trailer hitch’s instructions. Hand-tighten until all nuts and bolts are positioned, then use a torque wrench for final settings.
  4. If the exhaust system tailpipe is interfering with the installation, loosen it enough to slide the hitch mount above the tailpipe, and then retighten it. Often it’s just a matter of sliding the rubber exhaust mounts off a bracket.

 

Trailer hitch installation tips

  • You can use a scissor jack or a floor jack to hold the hitch up in place. In many cases, c-clamps can be used to clamp the hitch to the frame during installation.
  • To install the trailer hitch, it must have solid metal-to-metal contact with the vehicle attachment points, so remove excessive undercoating or welt on the vehicle.
  • Clean out bolt holes. The easiest way to do this is by soaking them in everyone’s best friend, WD-40. After a good soaking, take a wire brush and scrub out the holes to rid the opening of road debris and grime, allowing the bolts to fit in more easily.
  • Drill holes that are either the same size as the bolt, or 1.5mm larger at most.
  • While drilling, be very careful to avoid drilling into vehicle components that are located behind where the hole is being drilled.

 

While the process of installing a trailer hitch used to be one that could only be provided by a professional mechanic, these days adding a hitch to your vehicle is a quick and easy job, as long as the safety precautions are adhered to during installation. Carasel stocks a wide range of trailer hitches and other vehicle accessories on our online store. Contact us today to learn more about our range.

This blog was posted in Hitches and tagged in DIY, hitch, hitches, trailer, trailers

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