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How to Install Truck Trailer Hitches

Madhavi Ghare
In this story we tell you more about choosing the right trailer hitch for your truck. A trailer hitch is as important as the trailer itself.
A trailer is necessary to be installed on your truck when you want to transport something like a horse, motorcycle, or boat using your truck. It is obvious that these items will not fit into your truck. Hence, there is a need for a trailer to be attached to your truck. A trailer hitch connects your truck to the trailer.
Thus, it forms a connection between the truck and the trailer, and so has to bear some amount of the load and strain while the truck is pulling the trailer. So, it is extremely important to choose the right truck trailer hitch and install it properly onto your truck.

Choosing the Right Trailer Hitch

  • Before you venture out to choose a trailer hitch for your truck, it is important to find out your truck's load-pulling capacity.
  • Find out the load that you are planning to pull. The load that you are planning to pull has to be within the truck's capacity.
  • The trailer hitch you choose has to be at the correct height or level. So find out what is the rise or drop of the hitch you are choosing. If the trailer is not at level with the truck, it will add more load to the truck and put a strain on the hitch as well.
  • Check and see if the trailer hitch has proper safety locks and chains. This will serve to be additional protection for your truck while towing the trailer.
  • Check the quality of construction of the hitch.
  • Choose the right dealer. He/she will be in a good position to advise you about, and get the right trailer hitches for your truck.
  • Learn how to attach the trailer hitch properly to the truck. Most of them come with instruction manuals. But if you find it difficult to manage, then hire a professional or get another, easier-to-install hitch.

How To Install

Here is a systematic step-by-step method which will guide you in installing truck trailer hitches onto your truck.
  • Assemble all the tools you will need before you begin. Apart from the trailer hitch, you will need a jack, a drill, bolts, and C-clamps.
  • Raise the level of the truck using the jack. This will make your work a lot easier.
  • If it is required, loosen up the truck's bumper and/or the exhaust system prior to installation of the trailer hitch.
  • Assemble the entire hitch as per the instruction manual that came with the hitch. Do not tighten any bolts yet. This process will help you check if the hitch fits properly with your truck and if there are any missing parts.
  • Drill some holes into the truck frame using this loose-assembled hitch as a reference. Ensure that the holes are not more than 1/16 inch thicker than the bolts that are going to be used.
  • Clamp the hitch to the truck frame with the C-clamps. Bolt the hitch to the frame.
  • Now tighten all the bolts.
  • If there are any electrical wires and connections, then fix them according to the instruction manual given along with the trailer hitch. Test these electronic connections after they have been installed.
  • Tighten all the loosened parts of the truck, like the bumper and the exhaust system.
  • Bring the truck down to normal level using the jack, and then remove the jack.
  • Test-drive your truck to see if everything feels alright.
There are a few things to avoid while installing trailer hitches to your truck. The first thing is that one should never weld the trailer hitch to the truck. One should not make any modifications to the hitch, or drill holes into the hitch as this will weaken the hitch and affect its load-pulling capacity. Take care that while drilling holes into the truck frame, you do not drill holes through any other parts of the truck.