There always comes a time when a traveler wants to take more on a trip than the vehicle can carry, whether it’s extra luggage, a thoroughbred racehorse or the contents of an apartment, moving across the coast. If that’s the case, a consumer should be aware of the availability and prices for a trailer hitch. Trailer hitch cost is usually nominal, and doesn’t need to add a lot to the travel budget either in price or trailer hitch installation cost.
Adjustable Trailer Hitches, Priced By Type
There are primarily three kinds of hitches, each with its own set of prices, but the basic trailer hitch cost is within the same price range. The types of hitches include the rear-mounted receiver ball, which is a standard piece mounted on the back of the truck or towing vehicle; this is the least stable of the kinds of hitches, but also the most economical to find hitches for, and also the easiest to install, for the most economical trailer hitch installation price. The second and third types are the standard fifth-wheel hitch, which uses what is called a “king pin” connection, and the gooseneck, the type that fits over the receiver ball, each with their own separate trailer hitch cost.
Each of these hitches, when attached, should provide a solid connection to the vehicle being towed; in addition, they should be properly wired at installation so that the towed vehicle’s signal lights will match those of the towing vehicle.
Typically, the easiest moves are done by bumper towing, using the hole in the hitch (found in the back of most trucks and SUVs) which accommodates a standard trailer ball. These retail for $10 to $35 and higher in trailer hitch cost, but they are operated without bolting the hitch to the chassis of the towing vehicle, hence their economy. Basic wiring added to the setup will add between $15 and $50 to the basic trailer hitch installation cost. This setup can accommodate 2500 pounds towing.
The receiver ball hitch bolts to the chassis of the towing vehicle; it costs between $50 and $300 for an economy model; the higher-end longer lasting ones can run $350 to $700 in trailer hitch cost (one should remember this as a lifetime investment). They can easily tow up to 5000 pounds.
Fifth-wheel hitches run between $300 and $1200 for the hitch alone, and the trailer hitch installation price on this particular model can run between $200 and $500 (again, for the life of the device on the vehicle). This is the only hitch that needs such installation, since usually one must cut a hole in the truck bed to accommodate the hitch.
Trailer Hitch Classes
There are five distinctive trailer hitch classifications, each with its own trailer hitch cost, and they range from class I to class V.
Class I typically tows up to 2,000 lbs in Gross Trailer Weight, 200 pounds in Tongue Weight; it will work with such hitch accessories as cargo carriers, ball mounts and bicycle racks. Available in both square and tubular designs, it retails between $8 for the least expensive bumper tower, up to $100 for higher end trailer hitches.
Class II is rated for 3500 pounds, and can work with tube cover accessories in addition to the ones mentioned for Class I. It typically sells at around $65 to $200 high end, with an addition $100 to $200 in trailer hitch installation price if one wants it professionally installed.
Class III, for trucks, vans and SUVs, hauls up to 6000 pounds, is compatible with accessories such as adapters and ball mounts, and it sells from $150 to $250 for an average trailer hitch cost. Installation for this model can add $150 to $250 to the trailer hitch installation price.
Class IV rates at 12000 pounds and more GTW, and allows for adapters and hitch balls/shank attachments; it typically sells for $300 to $500, and the trailer hitch installation price averages $200 and up.
Class V trailer hitches are designed for heavy duty vans and trucks, which can tow larger trailers; it can handle up to 18,000 pounds GTW. Class V can cost from $400 to $650 and more, and trailer hitch cost can top out at $15,000. The trailer hitch installation price can add up to $500 for this particular class of trailer hitch.
Trailer Hitch Kits
In case one is particularly handy, and averse to spending so much installation money on a professional mounting job, there are several trailer hitch kits available throughout the internet; a quick look at Amazon yields simple installation kits priced from $35 and up (for a trailer coupler and hitch pin set) to $55 and up for an LED trailer light kit. These kits will assist the handiest man in connecting the trailer to the vehicle and also connecting the light fixtures and wires to the trailer, so that signal safety is preserved.
Trailer Hitch Sizes
Trailer hitch sizes are determined by the consumer measuring the height and width of the hitch’s opening (a square connector fitted to the fastening pipe); more easily, most hardware stores sell these connectors in predetermined sizes.
Most Class I and Class II vehicle trailer hitches are one and one-quarter inches (1” x 1 1/4”), and their sizes of hitches are typically priced between $100 and $200 in trailer hitch cost. The larger models such as Class III, IV and V, if not custom made, will accommodate a trailer hitch opening of 2 inches by 2 inches (2” x 2”), and, as noted, these size hitches are between $300 and $650 on average.
Trailer Hitch Installation Cost
As previously noted, Class III through Class V trailer hitches usually involve a trailer hitch installation cost of some sort. Professional installation can add to trailer hitch cost by some $200 to $500, depending on the hitch installed.
Trailer Hitch Accessories
Speaking of Amazon and websites of automotive sales, a plethora of accessories can be ordered at reasonable prices, either from the bigger dealers or from smaller website stores specializing in trailer hitches (or Home Depot and similar sales stations can accommodate customers who want a brick and mortar experience).
Trailer hitch covers, for example, are quite inexpensive, retailing from $5 to $15 at most (usually for a vinyl all-weather hitch cover); trailer hitch extension pieces, which assist in adding maneuverability to the drive, are priced from $25 to $75, depending on the class and length desired; a sway control kit or system can run from $35 to $150 and higher (the latter working to achieve equal weight distribution as well as minimal swaying). In addition, one can add on bike racks, luggage carriers and the like, from $25 to $150 adding to the basic trailer hitch cost.