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Trailer Hitch Installation: Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when you load up your trailer for a summer vacation and find that your new SUV does not have a hitch? Or perhaps you have an expensive bike rack and nowhere to attach it to your car? You might begin wondering about trailer hitch installation.

Thankfully, hitch installations are available for almost any vehicle and can get your summer plans back on track. Chapel Hill Tire is here to answer some of the most common questions drivers have about installing a trailer hitch on their cars. 

What is a Trailer Hitch?

A trailer hitch (also called a tow hitch) is a sturdy metal device mounted to the frame of your vehicle. Trailer hitches connect your vehicle with attachments—like trailers, bike racks, kayak racks, and more—allowing you to tow a wide variety of items.

Can Small Cars Have Trailer Hitches? What about EVs and Hybrids?

So can you install a trailer hitch on your compact car? What about electric and hybrid vehicles?

YES! Many drivers mistakenly believe that trailer hitches are only intended for large trucks and SUVs. Even small cars often have some towing capacity. You can find information about your towing capacity in your vehicle’s owner manual. While you may not be able to tow a full trailer, your car can likely tow a smaller cargo trailer. 

However, especially in electric, hybrid, and compact vehicles, trailer hitches do so much more than towing. Most commonly, trailer hitches are used to add a bike rack to smaller vehicles. You can also find some unique attachments for trailer hitches—such as hammock attachment or hidden key safe. You can read more here about the advantages of trailer hitches on small vehicles.

Can You Install a Trailer Hitch on Any Car, Truck, or SUV?

For the most part, any vehicle could have a trailer hitch. These installations are available from the smallest electric vehicles to the largest trucks. However, two unique situations might make it harder for you to have a trailer hitch. 

  • Older Vehicles: The first consideration here is if your vehicle is a much older car. Many older cars can still have a trailer hitch installed, but your auto mechanic may need to look at the frame of your vehicle to ensure that it can accommodate this attachment. 
  • Damaged Frame: The second consideration here is if you have any damage or severe rusting on your frame, it may not be suitable for a trailer hitch.

Why Doesn’t My Car Have a Trailer Hitch?

Ideally, your vehicle will come pre-installed with a trailer hitch. However, it is becoming increasingly common for manufacturers to save a few dollars by leaving them off. It is a myth that vehicles without pre-installed trailer hitches cannot have one. 

How do Professional Mechanics Install a Trailer Hitch?

With the right tools and expertise, installing a trailer hitch can be a straightforward process:

  • First, your mechanic will clear rust and debris off the mounting frame at the back of your vehicle.
  • Next, they use professional-grade tools to attach a compatible trailer hitch to your vehicle’s frame.
  • Then, your mechanic will configure the hitch with the receiver, ball mount, trailer ball, and hitch pin.
  • Finally, they will electrically wire your trailer hitch. When larger units cover your turn signal lights, this wiring can activate the lights in your trailer.

Trailer Hitch Installation Near Me

If you have any additional questions about trailer hitch installation services, please do not hesitate to contact the professionals at Chapel Hill Tire. Our auto mechanics are here and ready to install a trailer hitch on your vehicle today. Make an appointment at one of our nine Triangle-area locations across Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Apex to get started today. Then, you can load up your trailer or bike rack and begin your summer adventure!

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