What To Expect Before Your Hitch Installation

tow hitch installation

If you’ve decided to have a trailer hitch installed on your vehicle, you’ve made a great choice. Adding a trailer hitch to nearly any vehicle is an easy and affordable way to increase your vehicle’s functionality and unlock a variety of towing possibilities. But if you’ve never had a hitch installed on a vehicle before, you probably have questions about the process. As the #1 hitch installer in North America, you’ve come to the right place for answers. Here’s what to expect before your hitch installation.

Installation Time

Newcomers to the world of tow hitches often wonder how long installation takes. The truth is it depends mostly on the type of vehicle. In general, it takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 2-3 hours.

When you choose U-Haul for your installation, you have two options: drop your vehicle off or wait on site with your vehicle. If you opted to drop your vehicle off, your installation will be completed by the end of the business day. If you opted to wait with your vehicle, the installation should be completed within three hours. However, please check with your installation location for a more specific window.

Preparing Your Vehicle

While technically you don’t have to do anything to prepare your vehicle, we do ask that you clear out your cargo area and/or trunk beforehand. Your hitch expert may need to access this area to complete your installation. Emptying the area ahead of time will speed up the process.

Possible Vehicle Modifications

Every hitch installation is different. Depending on your vehicle, the installation may require removing or trimming a part of the bumper or drilling access points in the frame. If any adjustments are needed to your vehicle’s bumper or undercarriage, your hitch expert will walk you through it. If you’re curious about modifications or want to see what your vehicle will look like with the hitch ahead of time, schedule a visit with a U-Haul hitch professional to inspect your vehicle’s hitch connection points.

Understanding Your Hitch Set Up

We recommend you take time to learn about your hitch set up so you can determine your towing limits and options for your vehicle. This information will also help you to tow more safely and effectively. Here are some tips for understanding your hitch package:

  • Make sure your receiver size matches the equipment you plan on towing (bike rack, trailer, etc.).
  • If you have a trailer you plan on towing, make sure the gross trailer weight matches your hitch/vehicle.
  • Understand your towing capacity so you’re always towing a safe load and never exceeding capacity.

Difference Between a Four Flat Plug and Seven Round Plug

We also recommend knowing the difference between a four-way and seven-way hitch wiring connector. These components ensure your vehicle and trailer have essential lighting functions, including brake lights, left and right turn signal, and marker lights. But they have some differences as well. Knowing the difference will help you choose a trailer that’s right for your set up.

Seven-Way Connector – Seven-way connectors feature the standard lighting functions, plus lighting for reverse lights, auxiliary power, and an electric trailer brake function. They’re often used with heavy equipment like campers and RVs.

Four-Way Connector – Four-way connectors have just the essential lighting functions. They’re also more commonly used (including on all U-Haul trailers). Note that all U-Haul trailers have a hydraulic braking system for safe and easy braking.

Not sure which one you need?

U-Haul hitch centers offer connectors that have both 4 flat and 7-way plugs for maximum flexibility for your hitch set up.

Questions For Your Hitch Installation Professional

Wondering if there’s a certain piece of equipment you can tow with your new hitch? Or whether your hitch can handle a certain weight? Your installation appointment is the perfect time to ask these questions. U-Haul hitch professionals are experts when it comes to all things hitches and towing. If you end up having questions later, contact your nearest U-Haul hitch center, and we’ll be happy to help!

Find a hitch center near you today.

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