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Which Hitch Receiver Size is Better 1-1/4 inch or 2 Inch

Question:

I was in a severe car accident which damaged by existing hitch and this same model Thule bike rack. When my car is repaired I need to have a new hitch installed and plan to order a new bike rack. My question is, would it be better to have a 1 1/4 or the 2 hitch installed? Is one stronger, safer?

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Expert Reply:

Sorry to hear about your car accident and your hitch and bike rack being damaged. As far as installing a new hitch, the first thought that comes to mind is, because of the accident, are all the necessary attachment points for a trailer hitch on the frame intact. I recommend asking the shop that is repairing the vehicle if, after it is repaired, would it be safe to install a new trailer hitch.

If the vehicle is given the green light for a new trailer hitch, I recommend a 2 inch receiver. A 2 inch Class III or higher trailer hitch will be stronger just by the nature of how much steel is used and the fact that 2 inch trailer hitches are built larger and with more towing capacity in mind.

The safety factor comes into play in terms of how much stress a 2 inch receiver can take when towing or carrying accessories, which is more than a 1-1/4 inch receiver. With a 2 inch receiver, you get the added benefit of having more options in terms of accessories like bike racks and cargo carriers, and also the type and weight of trailers you can tow. If you have the option, I would definitely go with a 2 inch receiver.

The Thule Helium Aluminum 3 Bike Carrier for 1-1/4 inch and 2 inch Hitches - Tilting - Hitch Mount, # TH9043PRO, will work in either the 1-1/4 inch or 2 inch hitch. A review of this bike rack is posted below.

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Follow up Questions

Ed K.

I have a 2019 Buick Encore. I’ve never had a hitch, or a rack. I will be transporting a single XL frame Specialized Roll Hybrid bike 80% of the time, and 20% with a second smaller bike. I def want easy access to my trunk hatch. What hitch and rack do you recommend? Can a handyman install it, or will I need a mechanic?

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

For your 2019 Buick Encore the best hitch available is the Draw-Tite Class II # 36554 , which provides a 1-1/4" receiver (there isn't a 2" option for this vehicle). It's a pretty simple bolt-on installation so a handyman should be able to take care of it without issue. For the rack itself I really like the Kuat Transfer # TS02B , which will secure the bikes by their wheels so the frames are completely untouched. Locks can be added with part # PTSCLK12 .

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