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Should the Heat Shield Be Reinstalled after Trailer Hitch Installation on 2016 Subaru Forester  


Hi, Im looking to install a hitch on our 2016 Subaru Forester. Your instruction video was helpful but I have a question. The video and the instruction shows removal of a heat shield but they never say to put it back on the vehicle. Should the shield be left off? Also, I do not own a torque wrench. Is it really required? Thanks,


Helpful Expert Reply:

For your 2016 Subaru Forester, the installation instructions for the Curt Class III Trailer Hitch # C13144 never say to reinstall the heat shield over the exhaust, which is why it is not shown in the video. If you'd like to reinstall the heat shield, it can be trimmed to avoid the hitch and reinstalled.

The installation instructions for the Draw-Tite Class III Max-Frame Trailer Hitch # 75876 for your Forester state to trim the heat shield to accommodate the hitch installation. I have attached a video of this hitch being installed for you to see how we trimmed the heat shield.

When reinstalling the heat shield, it is important to ensure that none of the shield is trapped between the vehicle frame and the hitch. This is why it is important to trim the shield to avoid the hitch before reinstalling it.

Between the Curt # C13144 trailer hitch and the Draw-Tite # 75876 hitch for your 2016 Forester, I recommend the Draw-Tite # 75876 because it will not require any additional supports when using hitch mounted accessories such as bike racks or cargo carriers. To comply with the Curt hitch's warranty, a support strap # 18050 must be used with all non-trailer loads. The Draw-Tite hitch's warranty does not have this stipulation.

You will need a torque wrench to install either of these trailer hitches on your Forester. The hitch hardware needs to be torqued to the specified ft-lb as listed in the installation instructions. A great option to add a torque wrench to your toolbox is the Powerbuilt Dual Drive Torque Wrench # ALL944001 that offers both a 3/8 inch drive and a 1/2 inch drive. This wrench will read torque from 10 - 150 ft-lb.

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