Being able to tow a travel trailer behind your car or RV is crucial if you want to go on an adventure with the family. Not only is a trailer hitch good for towing your travel trailer, but it is also good for moving machinery or other equipment, as well as if you plan on moving to a new home.
You might also be interested in: Best Travel Trailers Under 25 Feet
Given the trailer’s weight, it’s essential that you have the correct trailer hitch mounted on the back of your vehicle. Or else your weekend adventure could end in a disaster. Are you now wondering how much does it cost to install a trailer hitch? Look no further because this post got you covered.
What is a trailer hitch?
A trailer hitch is a device that connects to a tow vehicle and links it to the trailer. You will find many different types of trailer hitches to pick from, depending on what you plan to tow. Many trailer hitches are permanent, but others are removable.
A trailer hitch installation service can help you determine which tow hitch is ideal for your moving situation.
How much does it cost to install a trailer hitch?
Remember that a trailer hitch installation differs widely depending on what installer you pick and the type of towing car you plan to install it on. For the service, you can expect at least $100 to $150 for a standard hitch installation. On the other hand, specifically complex and labor-heavy hitch installations may cost more. Bear in mind that hitch parts are not that cheap either and could cost anywhere from $25 to $200.
I had my trailer hitches installed, equipped with wiring for lights, and it cost nearly $200. If you’re searching for the best trailer hitch, you can get a hitch and light wiring fixed within $300 to $500. If you have brakes on your vehicle, that will add perhaps another $60 in labor and parts.
Shops specializing in towed vehicles are more likely to provide you with a better deal than other automotive repair shops. Further, they’ll be more skilled about your certain needs based on your class, model, and towed vehicle.
The most typical type is the class III hitch. That must be enough for any trailer a minivan could tow. Do you have a smaller trailer? Then a class II or a class I might be suitable. Installing a class I or II trailer hitch would be easier and cheaper, but when possible, I suggest a class III.
Here are some of the parts associated with a good trailer hitch installation:
- Wiring harness
- Pin and clip
- Hitch ball mount
- Class 3 hitch
Often, minivans cannot safely pull over 3,500 pounds on average and will be limited to approximately 100 to 200 pounds of hitch-tongue weight. Further, a hitch might be rated for 200 pounds on the tongue, but I wouldn’t go more than 100 pounds on a minivan without a leveling hitch.
What are the different types of trailer hitches?
For the average hauling or moving job, there are numerous trailer hitches you need to keep in mind. Specialty hitches and mounts are accessible for attachments such as racks, winches, or even snowplows. But many of them fall into a few categories only.
Are you hauling a trailer? Then you will need one of the following types of hitches. Please remember that only some of these hitches are compatible with your average consumer vehicle.
With that being said, a few pickup trucks on the market have excellent towing qualities and can be utilized with a fifth-wheel or gooseneck hitch to efficiently tow boats, big travel trailers, heavy machinery, and more. Furthermore, pintle hitches are often seen on heavy-duty trucks such as military vehicles or construction vehicles and are made to keep maneuverability and control in rough terrain.
1. Pintle hitches
Pintle hitches are considered the most powerful type of hitch we will cover in this guide. Using a hooking style referred to as pintle and lunette, these types of hitches enable a much bigger range of motion.
The pintle is connected to the truck while the lunette is connected to the trailer. Pintle hitches are widely utilized in agriculture, commercial, and military applications where rough terrain or steep angles pose a challenge.
- These heavy duty hitches can only be utilized for vehicles with a towing capacity of at least 60,000 pounds.
- They are designed for off-road terrain.
- Pintle hitches could be a bit rougher and louder to ride with.
2. Gooseneck hitches
Gooseneck hitches are mainly utilized for heavier hauling works and offer a much stable towing experience. In addition, it allows tighter turns compared to the normal ball mount bumper hitch. The good thing about this trailer hitch is that they are often used for livestock trailers, hauling cars, and other commercial trailers.
Like a 5th wheel hitch, these types of trailer hitches are connected to the truck’s truck bed, either below or above. An above-bed gooseneck hitch is connected to the rails on the vehicle, similar to a 5th wheel hitch. On the other hand, the below-bed gooseneck hitches are a more popular option and are suitable for the towing vehicle, and may have extra stabilizing brackets.
Are you looking for more customization, power, and stability? Then a below-bed gooseneck is the best way to go. This type of hitch is often seen on farms.
- A gooseneck trailer hitch can haul at least 38,000 pounds.
- This is ideal if you are going to be switching hitches frequently.
- They are less common in the market.
- You need to have them custom installed into the vehicle.
- You would need to employ a professional to do the installation.
3. 5th wheel hitches
This type of hitch was designed to move along with the towing vehicle, and it can swivel and absorb shocks. One of its benefits is that it offers a hassle-free towing experience for heavy-duty towing work. You will often see this hitch used by car haulers, tractor-trailers, and cargo carriers.
You can carry more weight with this hitch than with a standard ball hitch. However, make sure your tow vehicle can deal with the supplementary weight. The maximum weight capacity is at least 30,000 pounds. It also works by connecting the trailer to the truck through a kingpin mechanism. Thus, the coupling system is a part of the hitch instead of the trailer.
A 5th wheel hitch is connected either over or slightly in front of the axles in the truck’s bed. The weight is distributed between the rear axle and the cab, and the hitch is in constant contact with the trailer plate. That means it’s a secure way to haul a trailer.
- This hitch makes the trailers more stable than ball-type hitches.
- You can haul more weight with a 5th wheel hitch. They’re mounted closer to the center of the truck’s gravity and spread the weight evenly.
- It makes it simpler to turn corners and back up.
- You often need to take the tailgate off to tow the trailer.
4. Weight distribution hitch
These hitches are made with a bit more control in mind. It’s still considered a receiver hitch, so it can be connected to a standard vehicle and be used with racks, trailers, and others. You can rebalance whatever you are hauling and increase sway control at the same time.
This is excellent for hauling bigger trailers or any trailer where you wish more sway control. Many people use this for travel trailers. It works by distributing the trailer’s weight between all the axles of the vehicle.
- No more swaying while in the midst of your drive.
- Having a weight-distribution hitch will ensure you drive safely while towing the cargo.
- It increases towing capacity.
- It has an even weight distribution.
- Rebalancing the trailer’s weight doesn’t increase the maximum weight the towing vehicle can tow.
5. Bumper hitch
This is the most common and simplest type of trailer hitch available. Bumper trailer hitches come standard on most SUVs and trucks. Or else, it is relatively simple to mount a bumper tow ball attached to the rear end receiver hitch of most trucks and SUVs. Further, even other small cars and some sedans can be utilized with a bumper hitch.
The main options you have with a bumper tow ball mount are drop length (rise length) and the style as well. Keep in mind that a basic bumper hitch is excellent for smaller towing tasks such as trailers, luggage racks, or bike racks.
- A bumper trailer is littler and lighter in weight. That can be a big advantage for someone seeking their perfect trailer hitch on a budget.
- Depending on its size, you can tow it behind your SUV or RV.
- It won’t let you tow as much as other trailer hitches.
The different types of trailer hitches available to you are:
- Pintle hitches – The most powerful type of hitch, common in agriculture, commercial, and military applications.
- Gooseneck hitches – Used for hauling heavier vehicles and trailers. Often used for livestock trailers, and other commercial trailers.
- 5th wheel hitch – Used for towing heavy trailers, such as a 5th wheeler. Can be installed in the bed of a pickup truck.
- Weight distribution hitch – Similar to a regular trailer hitch but allow you to adjust the weight distribution of your trailer for more control.
- Bumper hitch – Also commonly referred to as a ball hitch. This trailer hitch is the most common type available.
Now that we know the five different types of trailer hitches available, the cost to install a trailer hitch varies. Depending on your needs and the intended towing vehicle, you may go for a standard ball hitch or perhaps a 5th wheel hitch.
Installing a standard bumper hitch will cost anywhere between $150 and $300 depending on the towing vehicle and the class you choose. On the other hand, a 5th wheel hitch may cost upwards of $2000, in some cases even more.
Hi I’m Tom! I have been a camper enthusiast ever since I went camping with my family as a kid, love everything that brings me closer to nature. Photographer, RV owner, husband and father, trying to help others interested in camping on this blog.