How to Install a Trailer Hitch on a 2018 Ford Explorer

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To add a trailer hitch to a 2018 Ford Explorer you will need only a few tools, a Draw-Tite 76034 trailer hitch and about 45 minutes to complete the installation. Follow these basic steps to begin hauling all kinds of hitch-mounted accessories with your Ford Explorer today.

About the Draw-Tite 76034

The Draw-Tite 76034 is a class 3, bolt-on trailer hitch designed for the 2018 Ford Explorer. The hitch has a max trailer weight of 4,500 lb. and max tongue weight of 675 lb. No welding or vehicle modification is required for installation.

  • Safety glasses
  • 19mm and 18mm sockets
  • Torque wrench
  • Power drill
  • Exhaust pliers
  • 11/16 socket
  • Exhaust Strap
  • 5 in. socket extension

2018 Ford Explorer hitch installation steps

1. Support the exhaust

Use the exhaust strap and attach the exhaust to a sturdy engine component under the body, such as a crossmember. This allows the exhaust to be lowered without dropping too low.

2. Lower the exhaust

Use the exhaust pliers to remove the isolator rods from the rubber exhaust hangers. There is a rubber hanger near each exhaust on the driver and passenger sides, as well as in the center of the undercarriage. You may need to use soapy water to loosen the rods.

3. Remove the tow hook

Use the power drill fitted with the 18mm socket and 5-inch extension to remove the three bolts holding the tow hook in place. You will only need the extension for the bolts at the bottom. You can discard or save the bolts and tow hook, but save the exhaust hanger.

4. Remove the passenger exhaust hanger

Once again, use the power drill fitted with the 18mm to socket remove the two bolts on the passenger side holding the exhaust hanger in place. You can discard or save the bolts and hanger rod, but save the rubber hanger.

5. Attach the exhaust hangers to the hitch

Use the provided 7/16 carriage bolts, hex nuts and conical washers to fasten the hangers to the hitch. Install the bolt at the perpendicular attachment hole on the end of the hitch bracket, then install the hanger, washer and nut, and tighten using the power drill fitted with the 7/16 socket. Repeat on the other side of the hitch.

6. Feed the carriage bolt into the frame

Attach the provided ½-13 carriage bolt to the fish wire coil. Feed the bolt and spacer into the rearmost access hole on the frame on the passenger side and pull the wire so the threaded end of the bolt drops through the spacer and access hole. Leave the wire on the bolts for now.

7. Position the hitch

Using either a jack or second pair of hands to position the hitch so that the attachment holes all line up. Thread the fish wire through the hitch attachment hole then remove it from the ½-13 bolt. Install the conical washers and hex nuts on all four existing weld nuts and tighten by hand.

8. Torque the hitch

Using the torque wrench fixed with a 19mm socket and 5-inch extension, torque the four M12 hex bolts to 68 ft. lb. and the carriage bolt to 75 ft. lb. You should hear a clicking sound after the correct amount of torque has been applied.

9. Raise the exhaust

Place the isolator rods back in the rubber hangers (three locations). Note that the rubber hangers are now attached to the hitch instead of above the exhaust mufflers.

You should now have your Draw-Tite 76034 trailer hitch installed on your 2018 Ford Explorer.

Whatever vehicle you drive, we have a trailer hitch for you. Don’t have the time to install yourself? Schedule a professional installation at uhaul.com and we’ll do the work. If U-Haul doesn’t have a hitch for your vehicle, nobody does!