Most vehicles have some capacity to tow a trailer or use a hitch rack, even small cars, but a lot of vehicles don’t come with a hitch installed. Luckily, you can almost always get a hitch installed by U-Haul. However, how much does it cost to have a U-Haul trailer hitch installed on your car?
Installing a trailer hitch and wiring through U-Haul costs between $450 and $600, including parts, labor, and taxes. Labor costs run between $150 and $200. The price varies depending on the class of trailer hitch the vehicle needs and whether or not the wiring needs to be installed.
You may not have realized that U-Haul does more than rent moving trucks, but they’re great at installing these hitch racks. We’ll go over how much you can expect to spend to start pulling a trailer or hauling that new mountain bike behind your vehicle.
What Parts Do You Need?
These are the parts you need in order to tow a trailer. We’re also including how much that would cost for a small SUV or car. We used the 2022 Toyota RAV4 for our example since it’s one of the most popular vehicles in America right now.
- Hitch Reciever- $184 (Class 3 Hitch)
- Ball Mount- $24.95
- Hitch Ball- $12.95
- Pin & Clip- $2.95
- Wiring Kit- $70 (Flat 4-pin)
The ball mount, hitch ball, and pin & clip are easily removable from the other parts. You can find these other places, but U-Haul’s are good quality, and you’re not going to find them much cheaper anywhere else.
We priced out how much all of the parts would cost for a 2022 Toyota Rav4 on the U-Haul’s website, and it would cost $311.75 to purchase all of the needed parts.
For a large truck, the price would be closer to $500 for parts, as many trucks need a heavier-duty hitch than a Toyota RAV4.
The hitch receiver is the part that will be bolted to the frame of your vehicle in order to allow you to pull a trailer or use hitch racks like those for bikes or cargo. It will typically look like a bar that goes across the underside of your car and bolts to the sides, and then has a square receiver in the middle.
There are 5 classes of trailer hitches, each with a different towing capacity, with class 1 being the weakest and class 5 being the strongest. You should purchase the one that matches the towing capabilities of your vehicle since a sturdier hitch won’t let you tow more, but a smaller hitch will limit your capabilities.
A regular 1, 2, or 3-class trailer hitch will cost you between $175 and $220. Class 4 and 5 hitches will run $250 and up.
Depending on the hitch class, the receiver will be either a 1.25″ or a 2″ receiver. The 2″ receiver is more common and usually easier to find parts for. The 1.25″ receivers are usually installed on cars or small SUVs. Most manufacturers make racks for both hitch sizes, and a 1.25″ can tow a small trailer. They are not as strong, so always choose the 2″ receiver if your vehicle has that option. You can buy a relatively inexpensive adapter to use a 1.25″ bike rack with a 2″ receiver.
Related Article: What Size Ball Do I Need for U-Haul Trailer?
If you ever intend to tow any trailer, you must have wiring. Even if you only ever plan on using the receiver for a bike rack, it’s still a good idea to get the wiring installed on your vehicle in case you ever need to pull a trailer for a friend or if you move and need to rent a small trailer.
You are required by law to have working brake lights on your trailers in the US, even for the smallest trailers. In order for the lights to work correctly, they need to be connected to the car’s battery and braking system.
Some vehicles will already have the wiring reinstalled on the vehicle even if you don’t have a trailer hitch installed yet. You can tell if your vehicle has wiring preinstalled by going behind your vehicle and looking underneath the bumper near the middle of your car. If the wiring is installed, there should be either a flat 4-pin connector or a 7-pin round connector. Both are a little bigger than a wall plug, so you’ll be able to see them if they’re there. It may have a cover over it as well. If that is the case, you can save some money on the kit and installation.
It costs about $70 to purchase the wiring for most vehicles from U-Haul, and they can install it for you when you get your receiver installed.
U-Haul will sell just the parts for the installation to you, or you can have them install the parts for you. This is one of the only services their technicians do for customers, and they are experts at it.
We got a quote for a hitch install with the wiring for a 2022 Toyota RAV4, and the quote came out to $512 with labor, parts, and taxes. The labor portion of the installation was $200.
U-Haul is fast at these installs, and you’ll set an appointment, and they’ll have it done the same day. For the price, we recommend having U-Haul install it for you when you purchase the parts.
If you want to save money, you can install the parts yourself. There are great videos on U-Haul”s website and YouTube that cover how to install trailer hitches that will walk you through the whole process. If you’re mechanically inclined and have the time, installation for most vehicles is not exceptionally complicated.
We don’t recommend this route for most people, though. To complete the installation, you’ll need to install the wiring. If you don’t have electrical experience, it is best to let a professional do that part.
Having U-Haul install everything is only about $200, which is not very expensive for vehicle services. They will also likely finish the job faster than you and without damage to the vehicle, the hitch, or yourself since they have done hundreds of installs.
If you choose to do the installation yourself, though, we wish you the best. There is a sense of accomplishment that comes with working on your own vehicle, and you will save some money.