If you're about to buy a trailer hitch so you can tow something with your car, you're going to find you have a wealth of options. Choosing the hitch can seem complicated, but if you have some parameters in place when you start searching, you can narrow the field down quite a bit rather quickly. Much of the information you need concerns how not to damage your car or the hitch when you install the hitch or when you try to tow something. As you start to look for hitches, take a look at these three issues to ensure that you are not only choosing the best hitch for your car, but that you are also ensuring your car will be a safe place on which to install the hitch.
Your car can pull only so much weight before the back part of the car becomes damaged. Hitches, too, have weight limits before they end up either breaking or becoming severely damaged. Hitches are rated according to Gross Trailer Weight, or GTW. Passenger cars can generally take Class I and Class II hitches, which tow things like personal watercrafts and small trailers. Class II hitches should be used for heavier cargo. However, the class of the hitch won't matter if your car cannot tow anything -- a potential issue with very light economy cars -- or if the cargo you want to tow is much heavier than a Class I or II hitch can handle.
A dealership for the manufacturer of your car should be able to tell you what the highest towing weight is for your make and model. Compare that to the GTW of the cargo you want to tow. If both match up -- the GTW is within your car's towing range -- get an appropriate hitch. If the cargo's GTW is much heavier than your car can handle, you'll have to either reduce the amount of cargo or rent a car or van that can handle that much weight, and then get the appropriate class of hitch.
Check under your car to ensure the area where the hitch will connect does not show signs of corrosion. No matter what your car is able to tow normally, it could fail badly if corrosion is present because the corrosion will weaken the metal that the hitch attaches to. If you see corrosion, take your car into the hitch specialist and see if he or she can look at the amount. You may have to get the metal part replaced by a repair shop before you can attach a hitch safely.
Center Hitch Connection and Hole Location
You also have to find a hitch that has its connections in the right places so you can fit them on your car. Cars with towing capability should have holes underneath where the hitch connections go. If you choose a hitch that isn't fitting into those holes, take a look at the hitch itself first. Sometimes those connections can get a bit bent, and you may be able to bend them back enough yourself. Other times, the hitch just will not work with your car, and all you have to do is find another model of hitch.
If you're towing for the first time, go to a hitch supplier, such as Geny Hitch, and work with the staff to determine cargo weight, corrosion amounts, and hitch connection placement. It's better to get guidance from experienced salespeople than try to do this yourself for the first time.