Extendable trailer specs

Car Talk: Supply chain throws a snag in the trailer hitch hunt

Dear Car Talk:

I bought a 2022 Subaru Forester in December. I also paid for the dealership to install a trailer hitch.

Well, all these months later, Subaru of America and the dealer are telling me they don’t know when the 2022 Forester hitch will be available.

So do you think it would be safe to have U-Haul or another trailer company install a hitch, or would it be better to wait and have the dealership install a Subaru approved hitch ?

The dealer says the Subaru hitch would be safer because they remove the rear bumper to install, then put the bumper back on after installation. — Brian

The dealer is correct that the best way to install a trailer hitch is to remove the bumper and bumper beam and install the hitch between the bumper beam and the frame (or monocoque) of the car. This makes it part of the structure of the car.

Subaru’s trailer hitch is designed to be installed this way. But not all snags are. There are good aftermarket hitches that simply bolt into the frame under the car. These are much easier and quicker to install. And they might suit what you need. You can check the maximum capacity of any hitch and see if it covers your needs.

For example, if you just handed over a bike rack that requires 300 pounds of tongue weight when loaded, an aftermarket hitch might be fine. But if you’re towing your house or your cruiser, you’ll probably want a sturdier setup.

U-Haul tends to install the simplest aftermarket hitches. But if you can locate a Subaru hitch – online or from another dealership – most reputable body shops can install the Subaru hitch via the bumper method.

If you hear the shop foreman yell, “Hey, have any of you ever put a trailer hitch on a Forester? ” keep watching. But if the Subaru hitch just isn’t available anywhere right now, then you’ll have to choose between a hitch mounted under the car’s frame or wait, Brian.

A question about cars? Write to Car Talk write Ray c/o King Features, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803, or e-mail by visiting the Car Talk website at www.cartalk.com.

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