How Much Does It Cost to Install Trailer Hitches? 

Sometimes, your vehicle can’t carry everything you want to haul inside the cabin or truck bed. A trailer hitch expands your capabilities, and some trucks can tow an additional 10,000 pounds, or even as much as 17,000 pounds. To get this extra capacity, a hitch needs to be bolted to your frame that allows a trailer to be connected to your vehicle.

What does trailer hitch installation cost? There’s a large range in price from around $250 to $1,300 or more. Naturally, it varies depending on the vehicle and the type and class of hitch. Some vehicles are fitted with a trailer hitch from the factory but it may need to be replaced if it’s damaged, while others need one installed or upgraded to connect the right type of trailer.

Here’s what you should know about the pricing to expect for a trailer hitch.

Installation cost for different types of trailer hitches 

What type of trailer hitch do you require? That’s one of the primary factors for determining how much you’ll pay for the parts and installation. They split into three broad categories: receiver hitches, gooseneck hitches, and fifth-wheel hitches. 

Receiver hitches 

By and large, receiver hitches are the type you’ll find on almost all vehicles towing a trailer for non-commercial purposes. These hitches install underneath the rear bumper and bolt to the chassis or frame. Receiver hitches are manufactured from high-grade carbon steel in most cases, and they’re painted or powder coated black to protect them from the harsh environment they’re exposed to.  

A receiver hitch is available in five grades for non-commercial use:  

  • Class 1 hitches are for compact cars and sedans for up to 2,000 pounds of gross trailer weight. 
  • Class 2 hitches are for passenger vehicles like crossovers and have a GTW of up to 3,500 pounds. 
  • Class 3 trailer hitches are intended for mid-size and full-size SUVs and trucks with a GTW of up to 8,000 pounds. 
  • Class 4 hitches are for full-size vehicles and are rated to haul a gross trailer weight up to 10,000 pounds. 
  • Class 5 hitches are for 3/4 ton and 1-ton trucks with GTW of up to 17,000 pounds. 

Parts cost 

Generally, receiver-style hitches increase in price as the class gets higher, but minimally considering the capacity differences. Depending on the model you drive and the class you need, you can expect to pay between $150 and $400 for most receiver hitches. 

Service cost 

Installing a receiver hitch is usually a straightforward job. They’re almost always fitted and pre-drilled for fasteners that use existing bolt holes in the frame, and they’re commonly vehicle-specific. Some models might need a section of the rear bumper trimmed for the receiver to extend out of, but there aren’t many models that require intensive modifications. Installation tends to be between $75 and $150, although some shops may charge less or significantly more. 

5th-Wheel hitches 

Some trailers have a coupler that drops down from an elevated segment, and one type is a 5th-wheel coupler. These are for heavier-duty trucks, mostly 1-ton models and up, and the trailer coupler slides and locks into a yoke head with a U-shaped wear plate mounted in the truck box.  

5th-wheel hitches range up to about 30,000 pounds capacity, so they naturally need to be secured extremely well. The hitch is usually bolted through the truck bed to the chassis over the rear axle, which requires drilling and/or cutting.  

Parts cost 

The parts for a fifth-wheel hitch are the biggest part of the job. Expect to pay between $700 and $1,500 for a standard 5th-wheel trailer hitch kit that includes the hardware and mounting rails, although there are some models that are quite a lot more.  

Service cost 

Installing a 5th-wheel hitch can be a relatively fast job that can cost as little as $75 or it could be hours of work including cutting. If it’s a complex installation, it could be a few hundred dollars to get it fitted, adding up to $400 or more. 

Gooseneck trailer 

A gooseneck trailer hitch is used for very similar functions and trailers as a 5th-wheel, but the major difference is that the ball mount is in the truck bed and the coupler is on the trailer. The hitch is fastened to the truck chassis through the bed, and a ball extends upward for the trailer to connect to. Gooseneck hitches tend to be more for commercial or agriculture usage, and the parts and installation ranges from about $700 to $1,000 or so. 

Parts cost  

Depending on the kit you choose, the parts for a gooseneck trailer hitch range from around $300 to $800 or so.  

Service cost 

For most types of gooseneck hitches, you’ll need to cut and/or drill through the bed to fasten the hitch to the frame. Similar to the 5th-wheel installation, you can expect it to cost a few hundred dollars to fit this type of hitch. 

Can I install my own trailer hitch? 

For a DIYer, the job of installing a trailer hitch is certainly possible at home. You’ll need space to work under your vehicle’s back end as well as tools that can securely torque the bolts in the frame. But since safe towing requires that the trailer hitch is installed properly, you shouldn’t do it yourself if you have any doubts about your capabilities.   

If you decide that it’s too big a job to tackle on your own, let AutoZone help you find qualified professional mechanics through our Shop Referral Program.  

FAQ/People Also Ask 

Is it worth it to install a trailer hitch?

If you plan on towing a trailer or using a bike carrier, a trailer hitch is an excellent investment.

Can I install a trailer hitch by myself?

You can install a trailer hitch yourself, but you’ll need to follow the procedure in the instructions exactly so the hitch works like it should.

How long does a hitch installation take?

Installing a hitch could be something that takes an hour or less, although some vehicles need modifications that can extend it by an hour or two.

Is installing a hitch difficult?

Most hitches are direct-fit and use existing bolt holes in the frame. Installation isn’t difficult per se, but it needs to be done correctly.

Is it illegal to drive around with a hitch? 

It typically isn’t illegal to drive with a ball hitch installed in a receiver. However, you could be held liable should it cause excessive damages in a collision.

What is the difference between a tow hitch and a trailer hitch? 

A tow hitch and a trailer hitch are simply different terms for the same thing.

Does installing a hitch damage your car? 

Since trailer hitches use factory mounting locations, there usually isn’t any damage to your car unless the bumper needs a cutout.

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