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Choosing a Class III Trailer Hitch for 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited Platinum

Question:

I want a trailer hitch receiver for my 2015 Highlander Hybrid LIMITED PLATINUM to carry a Yakima Fullswing Hitch 4 bike rack. I do not intend to tow a trailer and I have no experience with trailer hitch selection and installation. After reading reviews I have the following questions: #1: Reviews of the 3 class III and IV hitches Im considering are Curt #13200, Draw Tite Hitch #DT65MR, and Draw-Tite #76156. #2: Two of your reviews have conflicting information. One says all three offer a hidden application and others say various ones extend . #3: Review says Curt doesn't require use of a strap for the 13200 model but other reviews say Curt recommends it. #4: How much do these hitches interfere with the spare tire installation? #5: Removal and leaving off the under body panel like one of your recommendations for the Draw-Tite does not appeal to me. #6: Draw-Tite requires lowering the exhaust with their installation. Does this affect the Toyota warranty in any way? #7: Do I need a pin and clip part? What is it used for. #8: Some of the reviews talk about adjustments to weld nuts, bored holes and bolts. I would not have tools to do this. #9: Perhaps the most important questions are they all compatible with my Hybrid model?

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Expert Reply:

In terms of how the hitch would appear from the rear, the Draw-Tite # DT65MR and Curt # C13200 are practically identical. The receiver tube plus several inches of the crossbar on either side of the receiver tube will be visible from the rear. The Draw-Tite # 75156 has the receiver tube welded to the underside of the crossbar, which means the receiver tube will be visible, but the crossbar will be mostly concealed behind the bumper. It's very common for folks to be concerned about the appearance of the hitch. They're fearful that the hitch will ruin the appearance of the vehicle. In all honesty, if you were to ask these folks how they felt a year later, 9 out of 10 would state that they no longer notice the hitch at all.

Although Curt recommends the stabilizing strap on many of their hitches, there is no such recommendation for the # C13200.

As you can see in the photo I've provided, the hitches will partially obstruct the spare tire as it's lowered. You'd need to push the spare toward the front of the vehicle as its lowering so it'll clear the hitch crossbar. This would apply to all three hitches. The procedure sounds more complicated than it is. I'd recommend practicing it in your driveway where it's safe. That way when you're on the side of a road somewhere, the tire change will be second nature.

The installation instructions the Curt hitch state that the driver's side underbody panel can either be left off completely or reinstalled after being trimmed. I'd advise you remove it and put it away for safekeeping. If you go to re-sell the vehicle or need to permanently remove the hitch for any reason, you will be able to reinstall it. The Hidden Hitch and Draw-Tite hitches state that the passenger side panel can be reinstalled after the hitch is installed, but the driver's side would be left off.

As far as warranty implications go, consumers of aftermarket automotive products are protected by the Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act. This act states, in part, that unless the installation and the part caused a problem then the warranty cannot be voided. I recommend looking it up online. Practically speaking, as long as you keep the exhaust supported from falling and bending or placing stress on the exhaust system, there'll be no worries about warranty implications.

You won't need a pin and clip, which is used to retain a hitch accessory into the receiver tube. The FullSwing bike rack you're interested in uses an anti-rattle shank that doesn't need a traditional pin and clip.

Since you have a brand-new vehicle, the frame mounted weldnuts will be clean. Older vehicles sometimes have issues because over the years road grime and corrosion can make it difficult to get the bolts to thread into the weldnuts, but in your case that won't be a problem.

Draw-Tite and Curt don't have any fit exclusions for the Hybrid model of the Highlader, so any of the hitches will work for you.

Given the similarities between the three hitches, I believe any of the three would work just fine for you, but I'd recommend the Draw-Tite # 75156 model because it will be less visible from the rear of the vehicle.

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expert reply by:
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Mike L

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