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Is a Class 1 trailer Hitch a DIY job for someone who doesn't weld?

Through a string of unexpected circumstances, I’ve managed to leave my small utility trailer at my brother’s house in Maryland, and the vehicle I used to tow it with is no longer available to use. My sister-in-law is sick of seeing my utility trailer in her yard, and I don’t blame her.

In an effort to expedite the trailer’s retrieval, I’m considering doing something I’ve advised other people not to do in the past: install a trailer hitch on a small compact car. I’d rather not get into the question of whether this is a good idea, but I understand some of you will weigh in anyway. That’s fine. The trailer weighs about 350 lbs., and I’d only be hauling it empty. After I get the trailer home, I might use the hitch for a bicycle rack, but I just want to get the trailer home so I can rent a truck locally when I need to use the trailer.

The question I’d like to pose is: Is a Class 1 trailer hitch like this one a simple bolt-on application, or should I pay U-Haul to install one?

I’m pretty sure I can install the wiring harness/adapter myself, but if the hitch installation involves any welding, I’m going to have to pay U-Haul’s $117 installation fee, which actually seems pretty reasonable. I can handle a simple bolt-on installation myself.

Yes, a class 1 hitch is an easy install. I put one on a Saturn coupe and pulled a small utility trailer of about 700 lbs. Easy bolt-on affair.

I have installed a class 4 hitch myself on a Ford van. Also a simple bolt-on affair, with bigger bolts!

The wiring for lights can be a little more involved, however, depending on how the lights in your car are configured. You will need 4 wires - running lights, brake, left turn and right turn. The ground goes through the trailer hitch ball, unfortunately!

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I agree with Mustangman. Installing a hitch like that has been quite simple on the half dozen that I have worked on. I suggest that you carry the wrenches necessary to tighten the hitch to the chassis and the ball to the hitch and after a few miles of towing check to make sure nothing is working loose. There isn’t enough redundancy in the hitch pictured to ensure it won’t work loose and drop without warning. Those I have installed had side brackets that ran 10+ inches front to rear with 2 bolts on each side.

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@Rod_Knox brings up a good point. Make sure to re-tighten after a bit of towing.

I’d add, if the kit doesn’t come with nyloc nuts, go buy some and use those instead. The kits usually have lock washers but I don’t trust lock washers. Use nyloc nuts AND the lock washers - and check them after a bit of a tow!

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In DK and UK, a 2014 Civic 1,8 gti sos vvt and what have you is approved for 3080 pounds trailerweight with brakes and 1200 without, with max. 165 pounds on the ball so no problem. Is it a hybrid or cvt - no towing according to Honda
But the hitch in Your picture is a no go for anything heavier than a shopping bag i my world - not even for a bikerack.

This is a proper hitch:

You’ll also need a wiring harness to plug into the car. Otherwise the car will/could start behave very strange.

If You are not sure of how to install it, let pro’s do it. Btw. no welding required.

I’ve always had a hitch on my cars and they have saved my rear bumper several times when somebody hit me. One time my Saab was hit by a Golf and the Golf was totaled, I got by with a new(used) hitch and a scratch in the rear gate.

Now, can somebody explain to me why the colors in the pic are inverted?

can’t explain it, but I can invert it for you.

Just to add further confirmation, I installed a Curt hitch on my Camry. Bought it online and it arrived in two days. Simple bolt on, no drilling or welding required. Bought a drawbar and one of those universal ball kits. Also, the harness adapter that simply plugs in line with the existing wiring in the car. I tuck the trailer connector inside the trunk when not in use. I have towed small boats, utility trailers and such with it. That small trailer is no big deal, you’ll be fine.

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Thanks a lot, but the orig. pic had the parts black on a white background.

Thanks for the suggestion, but that hitch you’ve got there looks like at least a class 2 hitch, and according to my shopping and research, the only hitches that are a direct fit for my car (a '98 Civic) are class 1 hitches.

A Civic -98 is approved to 2640 pounds with brakes/1200 without here and in UK and only hitches that equals or exceed that number is legal and it looks like this:

HONDA CIVIC VI Hatchback 11.95 - 02.01

I’ve done several hitches and no problem. However wiring is an issue. I’ve had good luck with and they have installation videos that you can look at to see if that’s what you want. Good price, good service.

Interestingly my wife’s cousin in Norway just got a new BMW and we were talking about using it to pull a trailer. No problem over there but in the US supposedly cars are not rated to pull trailers. Same car, essentially. Little cars pull pretty good sized campers and utility trailers over there so I really can’t believe that hardly any car couldn’t handle a 1-2000# utility trailer.

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Check this one out. Wasn’t sure of your car year but this site is easy to use and bought from them before-

3 out of 10 difficulty rating…

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Um, those were the guys I mentioned. Bought from them and reliable, but check the wiring issue. Mine you couldn’t just tap into so I bought the control box. Those other hitch balls though are European design for some reason, not sure why. Maybe its the lift on small cars or something but thats all they use in Europe-but not here.