Trimming Around Heat Shield to Install Hitch on 2017 Subaru Forester

Question:

Hello, I have a 2017 Subaru Forester and am looking at trailer hitch options. After watching the installation video for the e98839, I was wondering if I could just do a cut-out around the installation bolts on the left side of the heat shield and then reinstall it. Has anyone reported doing this successfully? Thank you

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Expert Reply:

You could do that if you wish, you'll just want to make sure that the heat shield is NOT sandwiched between the hitch and the chassis of the vehicle at any point.

We frequently hear from folks with concerns about the vehicle being harmed because the heat shields were removed, but once the heat shields are removed, the hitch itself performs that function. The hitch is much thicker and heavier than the flimsy heat shields, so it provides better protection.

You're more than welcome to trim the shield so it fits around the hitch, but I haven't heard of anyone doing so but I'm sure it's happened.

expert reply by:
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Mike L

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