Thursday, 17 January 2013

How To Install a Trailer Hitch

Easy Steps to Install a Trailer Hitch

Author: Judy
Most tow vehicles have hitches installed by the manufacturers. For those that have no hitches, there are some easy steps you can follow to install the hitches. Most receiver hitches today are no drill applications. Installation is hence made easier since the hardware and the trailer hitch fit into existing bolts in the vehicles frame. When installing a hitch extreme caution should be taken in case you have to do fascia trimming or remove exhaust components from the way.
  1. In case your vehicles frame is not drilled, drill the holes with a heavy duty ½ inch chuck handheld drill. Bolt the receiver into place and securely tighten all fasteners.  The manufacturer's manual will help you with this.
  2. Use a jack to raise your vehicle and place jack stands to support it.
  3. Go under the vehicle and locate the bolt holes using good lighting. This can be done using the installation sheet. You will be forced to remove or lower the spare tire to perform the installation incase its available. Use the snips to cut and trim the bumper or any other material.
  4. Drop the carriage bolt through the hole in the frame that points downwards. This makes sure the hitch is offered up to the frame easily. The first two bolts drop through the frame while the other two are installed with the nuts on top of the frame.
  5. Place the hitch under the vehicle and position it. In case the hitch is heavy, use a jack stand to lift or ask someone to help you out. The helper can help you to place the spacers and tie the nuts one at a time. Use a wrench to turn the nuts. Make sure all nuts and bolts are tightened to the specified torque.
  6.  When installing the ball mount, ensure that it is long enough to safely extend the ball out from the vehicle. Ensure it doesn't extend too far to avoid multiplying the tongue weight of the receiver. Use the tools that come with the ball for installation. They include a sleeve that occupies extra space between the ball and the ball mounts hole. Use the thread locking treatment when installing the ball into the ball mount.
  7. Bring your trailer to your vehicle if it's light. If heavy, use a bright colored stick mounted on a magnet. It will help you see the stick through your rear view mirror. To prevent the tow ball from hitting the coupler ensure that the trailer coupler is off the ground high enough. Estimate the distance you need to move to the ball by leaving the door open while you back up.
  8. When your trailer ball is under the trailer coupler, use the trailer jacks to lower the coupler onto the ball. The coupler should be in loose position and the clamp in the coupler open.
  9. Your coupler clamp lock being down and the release latch securely hooked, install a safety pin. The pin helps the coupler lever from popping open. Remove the trailer jack from under the car.
  10. To hold the ball mount in place use a hitch pin lock. Avoid using makeshift retainers. Attach the safety chains by crossing them under the trailer coupler. By doing this you ensure that in the event of a breakaway the coupler falls on to the crossed chains.
  11. Connect the trailer wiring to the vehicles connector. Confirm that all are working including the brake lights.
Your Trailer Hitch is ready for use. Note that only those with great mechanical skills can install trailer hitches on their own. If not then you will have to visit a mechanic for good installation.
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About the Author
Judy Mboroki is an online article writer. She writes informational articles on towing, hitches and their Accessories. You can find more of her work on 4wheelonline page at Trailer Hitch.