My Trailer Hitch Doesn't Fit

Did you know that a trailer hitch is designed to be able to flex a bit? The mounting brackets are made from a mild steel that allows the hitch to flex with the vehicle after installation.
The Problem: Your Trailer Hitch Doesn't FitBecause of their size and shape, sometimes trailer hitches get flexed during shipping or transport. Some common comments are: "My trailer hitch doesn't line up with the weld nuts or bolt holes in my vehicle's frame." "It looks like my trailer hitch is bent." "I think my trailer hitch was welded wrong."The Cause: Mounting Brackets May Have FlexedBecause a hitch's mounting brackets are made from mild steel, the mounting brackets may flex during shipping. This causes the on-center bolt hole spacing to change, meaning it may appear that the hitch's bolt holes will not line up with the weld nuts on your vehicle frame. If the entire hitch was rigid steel, there would be a greater chance of the hitch being damaged and experiencing stress cracks. Such cracks could cause the hitch to malfunction.The mounting brackets need to be able to flex with the vehicle frame as the vehicle travels over the road and hits bumps or potholes. The hitch also needs to be able to withstand changes in temperature without being damaged.Note: Cracks or chipped paint are signs that the hitch may have flexed enough to be considered unsafe and should be replaced.The Solution: The Trailer Hitch Can Be Flexed Back Into PositionThe trailer hitch can be flexed back into the correct position so the bolt holes will line up with those on your vehicle frame for installation. There are a number of ways to help flex your hitch back into positon.
Hitch Mounting Bracket
The mounting bracket on this hitch has been flexed inward, but can be straightened for installation.
Hitch Mounting Bracket
This mounting bracket has also been flexed inward so that the bolt holes are slightly off and would not install without being straightened out.

Use a Table Vise

A table vise can be used to hold the mounting bracket while the cross tube is used as a lever. This works well whether the hitch's mounting bracket is flexed in or out. The cross tube can be used to flex the mounting arm inward or outward back into the correct position.
Straighten Mounting Bracket with Table Vise

Find an Open Step

If the mounting bracket is flexed inward, a sturdy, open step is a useful tool to help flex the hitch back into position.
Straighten Mounting Bracket with Stair Step

On the Floor

If you don't have a table vise or an open step to use, an inward flexed hitch can be corrected by using two boards while the hitch is on the floor.
Use Floor to Straighten Mounting Bracket

Against a Wall

If the hitch's mounting brackets are flexed outward, and no table vise is available, the hitch can be flexed back into place using a board and a solid wall. Keep the straight mounting bracket on the wall and apply pressure to the flexed bracket using a board.
Use Wall to Straighten Mounting Bracket

On the Vehicle Frame

If the hitch is only off by a small margin, the vehicle frame can be used to align the hitch. The bolts on the non-flexed side can be installed and a pry bar or board used to push the other mounting bracket into place. Once the mounting holes are lined up, insert a bolt to keep the bracket in place.
Use Vehicle Frame to Straighten Mounting Bracket

With a Jack

Sometimes, both arms may be flexed toward each other. In this case, a board and jack can be used to spread the mounting arms back apart.
Use Jack to Straighten Mounting Bracket
Written by: Victoria BUpdated on: 12/13/2019

Questions and Comments about this Article

Dennis K.

Trailer hitch for Hyundai Santa Fe 2021 any word on when?

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

Check out the Curt Hitch # C34ER . This is hot off the press and will fit your 2021 Santa Fe!

Ekrem Z.

I’m having a hard time finding me a 2” hitch for my 2011 VW Jetta, TDI Sport Wagon. Can you please help?

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

Sounds like you're looking for the EcoHitch # 306-X7284 .

Arthur G.

Very informative thanks...

Ragnar M.

MAZDA MX5 2002

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

I believe you're asking about which trailer hitches fit your 2002 Mazda Miata. Here is a link to the selection. I like part # C11749 better because it has a hidden crosstube.


I have a 2008 Buick Enclave and I need to order a Trailer Hitch Receiver along with a Curt Ball Mount for 2" Hitches. I want to be sure what i order. Can you tell me what i would need. I am looking for something simple to pull the lawnmower. Nothing fancy.

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

The Curt Class III Trailer Hitch # 13424 will work perfectly on your Buick Enclave. It offers a simple bolt-on installation and all the needed hardware is included. For a ball mount that will work well I recommend the Curt # C45030 .

Reply from Joe

@ChrisR Thank you for your assistance.

Phillip H.

modell 10366 does not fit my 2008 KIA amanti.

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

I don't recognize that trailer hitch model number. Is this something that you purchased from us?


I wonder can fit for my Buick Encore hitch ? Thank u

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

I don't quite understand. Are you saying the hitch is for your Buick Encore? Have you been able to install the hitch or are you still having issues?

Reply from Kim

@ChrisR Thank ! I don’t have trailer hitch install

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

@Kim Got it! If you can tell me the model year of your Encore I will be happy to recommend the right hitch.

Kelly K.

i received my trailer hitch and am satisfied with the overall product but i have one problem the bolts provided for the nuts that are on the vehicle the bolts are too big i cant get them started i have the holes and wire brushed them i believe the hardware needed on this vehicle is 7/16 bolt does that sound correct?

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

When the bolts seem to be it's usually because of road grime/corrosion getting caught up in the weld nuts on the frame. I recommend using some WD 40 and the wire brush a couple more times. Sometimes it takes a few sessions to really clean them out depending on vehicle age, road conditions, weather, etc. If you can tell me what model hitch you purchased I can verify the right bolt size too.



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