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Curt vs. Draw-Tite Hitch Selection for 2013 Subaru Outback Wagon for Use with Accessory Carriers

Question:

The description for the Curt says you must support the hitch with a strap to the car when putting a bike rack or other rack on the hitch. The Draw-Tite does not have this requirement. Can I conclude that the Draw-Tite is a stronger design?? I also noticed that none of your videos for bike racks show a support strap applied from the rack to the car. Should a support strap be used if I install a Draw-Tite hitch? I have a 2013 Subaru Outback

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Expert Reply:

Curt is unique in requiring for their warranty coverage on certain of their hitches use of a support strap for non-trailer loads (items without wheels) such as hitch bike racks or cargo carriers. Curt products are no less well-made than others but they choose to be cautious. Other hitch makers do not have this warranty requirement but absolutely using the Curt strap # 18050 or a similar support strap item on any hitch will only help it withstand the rigors of the road. Call it cheap insurance that is never a bad idea.

Still, given the lower price of the Draw-Tite 2-inch hitch # 75673 along with the freedom from the strap requirement, I suggest this hitch. Installation will be virtually identical to the Curt since both connect to the car at the same exact points. An install video is linked for you. As you view the video you will note that we measured the position of the installed hitch relative to the rear fascia. Any accessory carrier - bike or cargo - should provide at least 7-inches of clearance from the hitch pin hole to avoid any potential for contact between the carrier and vehicle. We include this dimension in the specs for all racks and carriers.

I linked our pages for bike racks and cargo carriers that are rated for a 2-inch Class III hitch. The Thule platform rack that you referenced will be too close to the car when folded up so I suggest instead the Swagman Dispatch # S64684 which will provide a much better fit. Please see the linked video showing this rack in use on an Outback. For cargo I suggest the Curt Cargo Carrier # C18151 which you can use along with anti-rattle lock # 63232.

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