Mount the trailer hitch: leave it to the workshop or lend a hand?

Thanks to rental trailer effortlessly relocate the move, start with the caravan in the holiday or take the beloved bike on the bike carrier - a trailer hitch (AHK) is a brilliant car application with many uses. However, it is rarely used when buying a new car as an option. And a second-hand with AHK costs always something more.

Mount the trailer hitch: leave it to the workshop or lend a hand?: trailer

A trailer without a trailer is nothing but a property.

Fortunately, you can retrofit almost any type of vehicle, with the exception of some sports cars, luxury models or electric cars. As an inclined hobby craftsman, one faces the difficult decision of whether one prefers to run a specialist or even dares to assemble himself in the usual DIY manner. Both have advantages and disadvantages, which are highlighted in the following article.

Recommended: installation by a specialist

Convenience is the motivation that should lead one directly to the professional: Suppliers of trailer couplings such as Bertelshofer can be found nationwide with their installation stations. Appointments can be made online or by phone. On site, you can personally convince yourself of the competent way of working of the staff and possibly even more services and consulting services, if you are already there. Likewise, most local garages take care of a professional assembly. There you can also seek advice as to whether a removable, a fixed or a swivel coupling most closely matches your own needs, which model you need and which electrical kit is the right one. This saves a lot of research work.

Mount the trailer hitch: leave it to the workshop or lend a hand?: hand

For irregular use, a detachable coupling is best.

DIY enthusiasts may feel challenged only by the extra cost. After 200 to 500 Euro material costs (stronger couplings are of course more expensive), 100 euros for the appropriate electrical kit and the prices of accessories such as adapters and removable rear carrier makes the installation service an additional cost - depending on the provider, car type, AHK model and effort between 150 and 500 euros. An extra investment that you should definitely ask for a quote before placing an order. However, since most service providers offer a fixed price, the calculation is very transparent.

Alternative: cultivation alone

Although the Internet expressly advised against installing an AHK alone the first time. Since commercial models are supplied with a detailed and sometimes even illustrated instructions, the self-assembly with the appropriate care and skill is within one to three hours (depending on their own expertise) to accomplish. This saves you the external service provider and at the same time learns something else. However, it is indispensable to deal in detail with the selection of a suitable coupling model. With the systems that the respective automaker offers itself, you drive in the best way, since they are in any case compatible and tested.

How to mount a trailer hitch, using the example of a FIAT Panda.

The general procedure for installing an AHK is basically the same, as the above attached YouTube video clearly shows. After an inventory of the scope of delivery, the tool required in the manual must be prepared. Particularly important are a spray bottle with underbody protection for the previous cleaning of the mounting points and a torque wrench, which guarantees the correct tightening torque when mounting the coupling. The first step is to remove the rear bumper (the bumper or the plastic tailgate) and lift the vehicle to the ideal working height by means of a jack. Then you disassemble the base and hang the carburetor. The trailer hitch replaces the original carrier and is bolted to the right and left of the bolt.

A sense of responsibility is required

Critical is the cable set, which has already failed so many hobbyists. The main problem is the correct pin assignment according to the ISO standard. In any case, remember to disconnect the negative terminal of the car battery before connecting the cable harness from the trunk to the on-board electronics - risk of short circuit! When the bulky shock absorber has to be replaced last, it reveals how quickly it can lead to ugly scratches in the paint. But such cosmetic flaws are not the only thing one has to answer for as a DIY AHK fitter.

Mount the trailer hitch: leave it to the workshop or lend a hand?: trailer

A 13-pin AHK electrical kit with accessories.

When one realizes the raw forces of a clutch in operation, it becomes clear that botch and improvisation have lost nothing during installation. Because a faulty attached trailer is not only a financial, but above all a safety risk dar. The devil is often in the detail: So you have to attach a distant Wärmeleitblech after assembly also back to the original position, because otherwise too much heat comes. So you should strictly adhere to the instructions and under no circumstances obstruct broken or damaged during assembly parts, but always request replacement. Although it is not necessary to have the AHK officially inspected (it is sufficient to carry the EC type-approval permanently in the vehicle), a voluntary registration is the ideal opportunity to have the result of his work checked by a competent person.

Mount the trailer hitch: leave it to the workshop or lend a hand?: hitch

Towbars have to endure a lot.

What else is to be considered when dealing with towbars, you will learn here.

Photo Credits:
Cover picture: Pixabay, TheDigitalWay, original picture
Caravan: Flickr Caravan Thomas Kohler CC BY 2.0 Certain rights reserved
Bike carrier: Flickr DSC_0263 sacratomato_hr CC BY-SA 2.0 Certain rights reserved
Electric set: Flickr Ford Ranger T6 - Towbar electrical kit 102 Klaus Nahr CC BY-SA 2.0 Particular rights reserved
Pickup: Flickr Why pickups in the US are also called trucks J CC BY-SA 2.0 Certain rights reserved

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