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Comparing Factory Hitch and OEM Hitch for 2018 Subaru Outback Wagon  


For my 2018 Subaru Outback which is better the factory hitch option or an aftermarket one?


Expert Reply:

For your 2018 Subaru Outback Wagon an aftermarket hitch like the Curt # C13206 is easily the better option. You'll have a much lower price to pay, better capacities, and you won't have to deal with the super shallow hitch pin depth that Subaru has on their factory hitches. This makes fitting accessories like bike racks more difficult so aftermarket hitches are definitely the way to go over the factory hitches.

For trailer wiring you'd then want the T-One kit part # 118467 which is a confirmed fit and is our most reliable option. I attached an install video for this as well.

expert reply by:
Jameson C



The factory hitch is the best option. The aftermarket options are pushed by folks looking to profit themselves. I’ve had both. The factory is cleaner fit. The aftermarket options promising more capacity are bull. The hitch doesn’t change or increase vehicle capacity. It’s a sales pitch only. Also, the aftermarket hitched (my experience via Curt) are much less integrated and rust badly over time. Your vehicle will look like a big chunk of rust below the rear bumper well before the car itself shows age. Stick with the factory integrated hitch.

Etrailer Expert

Jon G.


The biggest problem that I've run into when trying to help people pick out an accessory when they have the OEM Outback Wagon hitch is how shallow the receiver is in regards to the hitch pin. A lot of bike rack manufacturers have a specific distance required from the receiver opening to the hitch pin hole and for some reason Subaru likes to make the hitch pin hole closer to the end of the receiver so a lot of bike racks can't be used. I would agree that it looks a little more clean since it sits "inside" the fascia of the vehicle.



Valid point. Our Yakima bike rack is ancient at 20yrs, but fits fine. Then again, 20yrs ago we had a Subaru too :). My main point is that aftermarket hitches are sometimes pushed as enabling higher tow capacity than factory when the vehicle itself determines tow capabilities not the hitch. Obviously, you want the hitch to meet that capacity, but a higher capacity hitch doesn’t change tow capacity. I will admit that aftermarket can be lower cost and many times easy install for DIYers.

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