When it comes to working on your car or truck, spending a few minutes reading up on installation tips can save you big bucks. Here are some tips and advice to guide you through installing your own trailer hitch.
Installing your own auto parts is a lot like baking a cake. It isn’t necessarily difficult, but is nearly impossible if you don’t have the right recipe and ingredients. Equipping yourself with the right tools and parts is crucial for a quality outcome. I’m not saying you shouldn’t improvise, but don’t think you can trust a bolt that you hand tightened because you don’t have the right socket size. Let’s face it; labor isn’t cheap and sometimes the factory-provided directions just don’t cut it. So here are a few tips to walk you through your installation process.
1. Obviously you want to pick out a hitch that is designed to fit your vehicle’s year, make, and model, but also confirm that your hitch is capable to suite your needs -- whether that means being able to tow a bike rack or a mobile home. 2. Read through the instructions and make sure you have all the tools and parts before you start. You don’t want to get halfway through the project and realize that the manufacturer forgot to include a bolt in your package. 3. Inspect the area that you will be attaching the hitch. DO NOT attach a hitch to a frame or area that shows signs of excessive damage or corrosion. 4. Your own physical safety is #1. If you are elevating your vehicle, ensure that it is properly secured so that it will not fall or roll. 5. Use the proper tools and safety gear. Mismatched sockets wrenches can strip bolts, making them near impossible to get off. Also wear safety goggles when drilling holes; a metal shard to the eye can ruin your day.
Installing Steps & Tips:
1. You should start by loosely assembling the hitch and holding it up to the installation area. This will allow you to identify any potential obstructions and confirm that you have all the necessary parts. 2. You will probably need to raise your vehicle, which you could do by using a floor or scissor jack. Also consider using c clamps to hold up the hitch to the frame throughout the installation process. 3. You may need to loosen your vehicle’s bumper, exhaust system, or other parts to get the hitch to fit into place, especially if you have aftermarket parts. Important -Be sure to reattach all parts after you install the hitch. 4. Try and align the hitch up to preexisting holes. If your hitch does not line up with any holes, don’t panic. You will simply clamp your hitch to where you want it, roll up your sleeves, and drill the necessary holes. DO NOT drill the holes more than 1/16th of an inch bigger that the bolts. Also, make sure that you are not drilling through any important components of your truck’s undercarriage. Use common sense. 5. Be sure to use the reinforcement plates that came with your hitch. They reinforce the frame and distribute the weight to the frames edges. 6. Attach the hitch, metal to metal, to the frame. Excessive weld should be removed. 7. Connect and install any wiring. Your hitches instructions should provide instructions. 8. Make sure your hitch is mounted symmetrical to the vehicle and tighten down all the nuts and bolts. 9. If you run into problems, do not make modifications to the hitches frame. Your hitch was carefully designed to handle hundreds, sometime thousands, of pounds. Adding holes or modifications can weaken its design and potentially cause an accident.