Most hitches are more expensive than others, but the installation cost is usually around the same. How much does it cost for trailer hitch installation? Before diving into the installation process, it’s important to understand the associated costs. This article will provide an overview of the factors that can affect trailer hitch installation costs and offer insights on how to manage them effectively.
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A trailer hitch offers a vehicle the capability to carry or tow anything from a small trailer to something as large as a fifth-wheel RV depending upon the model and towing capacity. If your current vehicle does not have a hitch, many cars can usually have one installed as an aftermarket part. Towing a trailer with your personal vehicle by installing a trailer hitch is a convenient and much easier way to pull a trailer. If you’re holidaying every weekend during the summer, camping with friends and family, or hauling materials all are possible when your vehicle is better installed with the right trailer hitch.
How much do parts cost for trailer hitch installation?
As most parts like ball mount, hitch pin, trailer ball, safety chains, and wiring harness are relatively affordable, the only major component that costs more than $100 is the trailer receiver. The below-listed parts are all that will be needed to fully install a rear-mounted ball-style trailer hitch with trailer receivers in most vehicles.
The ball mount is the important piece of a trailer hitch that slides into the receiver which connects the ball to the vehicle. There are many additional styles of ball mounts for diverse applications, though most ball mounts simply consist of a piece that will slide into the receiver, as well as a small platform upon which the ball itself will be mounted. The price depends on the brand and quality of the mount generally costs between $10 and $50. Also, almost all ball mounts will have a hole in the part that slides into the receiver to adjust a hitch pin, and some may even be adaptable, which can help keep your trailer level.
The hitch pin is quite simple but remarkably effective and locks the ball mount in place. It’s an L-shaped piece of metal that slides through holes in both the receiver and ball mount, it secures the ball mount so it won’t move. You can get these fairly cheap prices and usually cost below $20.
The next piece of the trailer hitch is known as a trailer ball. It serves as the sole point of physical connection between your vehicle and what you are towing. It’s made of metal with a threaded post that attaches to the ball mount. They come in various sizes including 1 7/8 inches, 2 inches, 2 5/16 inches, and 3 inches. Larger balls tow more weight and are therefore more expensive. The most common ball sizes are 1-7/8”, 2”, 2-5/16”, and 3”, trailer balls cost between $5 and $40, depending on the size.
These metal chains are an essential part of a safe towing setup make sure everything is safe and cover you, your vehicle, and your trailer in the circumstance that the ball connection fails. All hitch configurations use two chains hooked up in an X shape below the ball where the tongue of your trailer is to the receiver. If your trailer ever falls off of the ball, these chains will secure your trailer and stay attached to your vehicle until you can pull off to safety. Safety chains are also not that expensive and cost less than $20.
The final piece is the trailer wiring harness is a collection of wires that connects to both the vehicle as well as the trailer. A trailer wiring harness is used to connect the brake lights and turn signals of the tow vehicle to the brake lights and turn signals of the trailer ensuring that people traveling behind you can see your brake lights and turn signals. A wiring harness costs $10-50 and is necessary to stay legal while towing your camper.
How much do the receivers cost for trailer hitch installation?
The part of the trailer hitch that bolts to the frame is called the receiver, and it’s one of the most important parts of your hitch. Trailer hitches affixed to non-commercial vehicles are sedans, vans, wagons, SUVs, and pickups that fit into one of six trailer hitch classes, ranging from light to super-heavy duty. Trailer hitch usually cost anywhere between $120 to $350, depending on the manufacturer and the classification you choose. Heavy-duty classifications cost more. An additional trailer hitch class, a fifth wheel hitch, is limited to pickups and only for a certain type of trailer called a fifth wheel.
Types of Trailer Hitches
There are several types of trailer hitches commonly used for towing purposes. Here are some of the most popular types:
Class 1 trailer hitch
Most cars and trucks can accommodate this size receiver hitch which is best for compact and midsize sedans and light-duty SUVs. These kinds of hitches are the least rugged of all types and are only designed for cars and crossovers, with a gross trailer weight capacity of 2,000 lbs. Light-duty trailer hitches have a tongue weight capacity of 200 pounds and a 1-1/4 inch receiver tube that carries light cargo trailers, utility trailers, sports trailers, or even micro camping trailers.
Class 2 trailer hitch
Most cars and trucks can also accommodate class 2 regular-duty trailer hitches are a bit bigger and heavier as compared to class 1 hitches. The trailer hitch frame is usually bolted to the bottom of the vehicle’s frame. It has a 2-inch receiver tube and tongue weight is limited to a maximum of 350 pounds. It has a gross trailer weight capacity of 3,500 pounds and can tow most light camping trailers, utility or cargo trailers up to 12 feet, or boat trailers up to 20 feet.
Class 3 trailer hitch
The class 3 hitch is even more capable. It has a 2-inch receiver tube The removable drawbar heavy-duty trailer hitches are affixed to the bottom of the vehicle’s frame. Class 3 hitches are designed for vehicles like an SUV, pickups, or vans they can tow a maximum of 7,500 pounds of gross trailer weight, with a tongue weight capacity of 750 pounds.
Class 4 trailer hitch
The class 4 hitch is one of the most capable receiver’s hitches also called super or extra-heavy-duty hitches. You’ll need a heavy-duty truck or SUV for this size hitch that can handle it but need to check the towing specifications of the particular model to find out. These undercarriage hitches have a maximum capacity for a gross trailer weight: of 12,000 pounds. It has a 2-1/2 inch receiver tube and can tow full-size camping trailers, large boats, and large utility trailers with a class 4 hitch.
Class 5 trailer hitch
The class 5 hitch is considered to be a heavy-duty hitch that is only suitable for trucks and SUVs and is the most capable receiver hitch. It has a 2-1/2 inch receiver tube and can tow up to 17,000 pounds.
Class 6 trailer hitch
The class 6 hitch is the same size as the class 5, but it can tow up to a gross towing capacity of 22,000 pounds and can only be installed on dually trucks, or trucks with a chassis cab. Class 6 hitches are reserved mostly for commercial use more towing capacity than Class 5 hitches.
Fifth-Wheel Trailer Hitch
A fifth-wheel trailer has a distinct kind of hitch from the other classes of trailer hitches. On the trailer, it is mounted higher typically, about 45 to 49 inches high when the trailer is level. Fifth-wheel trailers must be towed by a pickup truck or a flatbed truck. The U-shaped hitch is located at the center of the truck bed, similar to the way that commercial transport trailers attach to the back of semi-trucks. The weight capacity for fifth-wheel hitches is 30,000 pounds.
Note: Always know how much your car can tow before towing. If your car is not capable of towing the desired amount of weight, you may find that you can do a lot more damage to your vehicle. You can find the amount of weight, termed as Tongue Weight and Gross Trailer Weight, that it can pull on the car’s official website or inside the car owner's manual.
What is the Labor cost for trailer hitch installation?
Once you’ve found the hitch you need if you’re not installing your trailer hitch by yourself and decide to take it to a professional to do it. You should get your trailer hitch installed by contacting your mechanic or trailer shop. They provide you with a range of prices counting on how challenging it is to install the hitch. The noteworthy thing here is to know how many hours they’re quoting for the job to complete so you can compare this to what they estimate. The price varies with an incredibly wide range as per the report some labor rates are lower end $47 per hour for a simple installation and $215 per hour for a more complicated installation.
What is the average cost for trailer hitch installation?
Many dealerships will charge a lot more than a local place and a local mechanic. The cost of having a hitch installed will depend on the type of hitch, the make, and model of the car, and the workshop performing the job. For this reason, it’s essential to assess all your options, as well as get quotes from multiple different installers to make sure that you’re not paying any more than you should be for your trailer hitch installation. The average total cost to install a trailer hitch is about $250 to $850 price range depending on the type of hitch you need and the make and model of your vehicle.
Factors Affecting Trailer Hitch Installation Costs
Several factors come into play when determining the cost of trailer hitch installation. It’s important to consider these factors to get a better understanding of the overall expenses involved. Here are some key factors to consider:
1. Type of Hitch: The type of hitch you choose will significantly impact the installation cost. The complexity of the hitch design and the additional components required can affect the installation process and cost. Receiver hitches, which are the most common type, are generally less expensive to install compared to more specialized hitches like a fifth wheel or gooseneck hitches.
2. Vehicle Compatibility: The make and model of your vehicle can influence the installation process and costs. Some vehicles may have specific requirements or limitations that could affect the installation procedure. For example, certain vehicles might require additional modifications or reinforcement to accommodate the hitch, which can increase the installation cost.
3. Labor Charges: Professional installation services usually involve labor charges, which can vary depending on several factors. Labor costs can be influenced by geographic location, as prices may differ from one region to another. Additionally, the expertise and experience of the installer can affect the cost. Highly skilled installers might charge higher rates but offer superior workmanship.
Note: Considering these factors will help you estimate the installation costs more accurately. However, it’s worth noting that prices can vary, and it’s advisable to consult with installers or shops to get specific quotes based on your vehicle and the type of hitch you intend to install.
How to save the cost of trailer hitch installation?
You can save some amount while decreasing the cost of trailer hitch installation. This is a relatively easy job that only takes less than an hour to complete. Consider trying to install it yourself before calling a shop. Many kits will come equipped with detailed instructions that are very easy to understand. Each kit can fit a different make and model, so it is essential you know which kit is going to fit. If it is not meant for your car, you could encounter problems or cause damage to your car. Also reaching for a local mechanic if you do not know how to install can even save some amount in labor service charged by the mechanic.
Maybe you’ve just purchased a new trailer, or you’re a long-time tower that’s just purchased a new vehicle without a trailer hitch. Either way, you’re probably interested in getting a trailer hitch installed, which is not a costly thing to do, at least as far as car upkeep and transformations. Proper budgeting for trailer hitch installation is essential to ensure a smooth towing experience. Understanding the factors that influence the cost can help you make informed decisions and manage your expenses effectively.
To reduce trailer hitch installation costs, consider researching and comparing prices from different installers or shops. You may also explore purchasing a hitch that includes installation services or look for promotions and discounts offered by installers.
Ultimately, whether you choose to install the trailer hitch yourself or opt for professional installation, prioritize safety and ensure that the installation is done correctly. A properly installed hitch will provide peace of mind and a reliable towing experience.
By being aware of the cost factors and taking the necessary steps to manage expenses, you can enjoy the benefits of a well-installed trailer hitch and embark on your towing adventures with confidence.
Aaron Bennett is an accomplished author and a true aficionado when it comes to pickup trucks. With an unwavering passion for all things automotive, Aaron has dedicated his life to exploring the world of pickups and sharing his expertise with others. As the proud owner of several powerful machines, he has spent countless hours behind the wheel, navigating rugged terrains and conquering highways with unrivaled enthusiasm.