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Vehicle Squeaks After Trailer Hitch Install

Question:

I recently installed a Draw-Tite 36284 hitch on my 2002 Subaru Outback wagon. I torqued all the bolts to the indicated settings. Now, when Im driving the car without towing anything Im getting a lot of squeaking. Is there anything to do about that, or is it just how it is when you have a hitch receiving on a vehicle? Thank you.

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Expert Reply:

When you install a hitch on a vehicle you end up bracing the rear chassis of the vehicle as the hitch attaches to both side of the frame and provides basically like a cross-bracing. What that can end up doing is causing the vehicle to have a stiffer feel to it. When torqueing the hitch down it can also cause the frame to position in a slightly different manner which can cause different interior or exterior parts to contact in a different way.

Basically what I am trying to say is that the hitch went in and stiffened up the rear chassis of your vehicle and now it different parts of the vehicle are making contact and causing the noise you are describing. This doesn't happen everytime, but it happens occasionally. Especially on vehicles that have a few years on them.

What can make this problem even worse is if one side of the hitch was jacked up in the air when the final torqueing of the bolts was made as the hitch will want to hold the chassis in the flexed position it was in when the bolts were tightened. What you could do is wait till the vehicle is on the ground with the suspension fully loaded to make the final torque passes on the install hardware to prevent this.

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Jameson C

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