You may be a new car owner and plan to rent a trailer for your much-awaited outdoor trip. Before renting that trailer, you must install a hitch to tow your trailer safely. You go to your local U-Haul branch and ponder how long it would take them to place that hitch.
U-Haul takes between one to two hours to install a trailer hitch to your car, depending on the technician’s expertise and vehicle condition. Their technicians will install an available hitch that is compatible with your car’s specifications.
This article will discuss U-Haul’s processing time, installation costs, and preparations before installing a hitch. We will also explore the steps in installing a trailer hitch.
U-Haul’s Installation Process
As I have mentioned above, it usually takes between one and two hours for U-Haul professionals to install a trailer hitch to your vehicle. Their technicians will also evaluate the car where the hitch is to be installed.
Cars that require removing or cutting a part of the bumper or other parts that need to be removed and reinstalled to make way for the hitch may take more time.
Here is a YouTube video featuring U-Haul professional Aaron Limon demonstrating how to place a CURT 13449 Class 3 Trailer Hitch (available on Amazon.com) on a 2020 Tesla Model 3:
Installing a trailer hitch on your car through U-Haul ranges from $100 to $250. This cost range does not include purchasing a hitch itself and other needed accessories. It also depends on the make and model of your vehicle and the type of hitch to be installed. Also, read Can You Rent a Hitch From U-Haul?
Preparing for the Trailer Hitch Installation
Here are the things you may need to consider before going to your nearest U-Haul center for the trailer hitch installation:
- Know the towing limits and options for your vehicle. Every vehicle has different towing capabilities depending on its year, make, and model.
- Ensure the receiver size of your accessory matches the hitch you plan to purchase, like a bike rack or a wheelchair lift.
- Know the gross weight of your trailer to learn the appropriate hitch for your vehicle.
- Removing or trimming your vehicle’s bumper may be required before installing the hitch, as the holes where you can fix the hitch can be found behind the bumper.
- You may want to schedule a pre-tow inspection with a U-Haul technician if the location where you can install your hitch lies in an area where rust is common. The inspection ensures that the hitch’s connection points are still usable.
Differences in Trailer Hitch Wiring Connections
Some vehicles have original equipment manufacturer (OEM) plugs that make wiring installation easy for your trailer hitch. These plugs are located at your car’s rear bumper. Otherwise, a quick connect kit specific to your vehicle that is hooked to the tail light can be installed to ensure proper electrical wiring connection.
There are two common types of trailer hitch wiring connections.
- Four-flat wiring harness: The four-flat trailer wiring harness is the most common trailer wiring connector, which provides essential lighting functions. U-Haul trailers use this type of wiring harness.
- Seven-way trailer connector: Another type of wiring connector, the seven-way trailer connector, provides additional functions used in larger trailers the four-flat harness cannot offer, including electric trailer brakes, charge line, and reverse light functions.
U-Haul also offers a connector with both the seven-way and four-flat wiring connectors to provide you with towing options in the future.
Hitch Type and Classes
There are different types of trailer hitches that can be used for towing. Some of them include:
- Receiver hitch
- 5th wheel hitch
- Gooseneck hitch
- Weight Distribution hitch
- Pintle hitch
Trailer hitches are also classified into five classes depending on their towing capacity and receiver size. Please see the table prepared by CURT Manufacturing to learn more about trailer hitch classes.
U-Haul professionals can help you choose the right type of hitch and the appropriate class that is best suited for your car.
Can You Install a Trailer Hitch on Your Own?
It is possible to install a trailer hitch yourself if you have the proper tools and experience fixing your vehicle. Installing it yourself is a practical way to save money from installation costs. However, it is better to go to your local U-Haul branch if you lack the time or experience doing it.
How To Install a Trailer Hitch
Here are the general steps in installing a trailer hitch in your vehicle. The hitch’s installation might vary depending on your vehicle’s make and model.
You’ll need the following tools when installing your trailer hitch:
- Work gloves
- Safety glasses
- Shop light
- Socket set
- Swivel socket
- Torque wrench
Below are the steps to follow:
- Ensure that you have the proper trailer hitch that fits the weight of your vehicle and the trailer.
- Before starting, familiarize yourself with the steps by reading the instructions attached to the hitch.
- Place wheel chocks on the front wheels to prevent the car from moving while doing the work. You may also need to jack up your vehicle if you need additional space.
- Place the shop light in a position where your work area is lit up but not obstructing the installation process.
- If the spare tire is placed where the hitch will be installed, remove it. You may also have to lower the exhaust temporarily at this stage
- Remove bolts, plugs, and other parts to make way for mounting the hitch frame.
- Position the hitch and attach the hardware by tightening the nuts and bolts. You may need help from another person as trailer hitches can weigh up to 50 pounds (around 23 kilograms) or more.
- When all trailer hitch bolts are fixed, torque them to the values specified in the instruction.
Installing a trailer hitch at a U-Haul can take between one to two hours, depending on your car’s make and model and the type of hitch to be installed. You can schedule your appointment online or head to a U-Haul branch near you and talk to a professional to help install the hitch in your vehicle.