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Draw-Tite Trailer Hitch Installation - 2018 Volkswagen Atlas

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How to Install the Draw-Tite Trailer Hitch on a 2018 Volkswagen Atlas


Rob: Hey everybody, it's Rob here at etrailer.com, and today we're going to be taking a look at the Draw-Tite Class II Custom Fit Trailer Hitch Receiver on our 2018 Volkswagen Atlas. Now, I think our hitch has a really clean, almost factory look to it, and that's because the crosstube's completely hidden by the bumper, and the only thing we're going to be seeing is the receiver tube sticking out. Now it is a class II, so it's going to give us that 2" by 2" receiver tube opening, and it is going to be great for bike racks, cargo carriers, a lot of recreational uses, as well as some light-duty towing.But regardless of how you're going to be using your hitch, all your accessories are going to mount to the hitch pinhole here on the side. Our hitch is going to accept a standard 1/2" pin and clip. Now these are not going to come with the hitch, but you can find them here at etrailer.com along with some locking devices to make sure your accessories are secure, and anti-rattle devices to cut down on the annoying rattling sound while we're driving down the road.You do need a spot to hook up your safety chain so we can safe and legal. Now we have a loop style welded to the bottom of the receiver tube, and you can see there's plenty of room to get the hooks in place.

If you have what I consider most normal sized hooks, you can see there's no way that we're going to have to worry about hitting the bottom of our Atlas, there's plenty of room to get them hooked on, and really we're far enough away from the pin and clip area that we shouldn't have to worry about interference from that. Now if you have really large, oversized hooks like these, there's still plenty of room to get them engaged, take them off, and not have to worry about getting even close to the bottom of the bumper here.Now if you're looking for a hitch for your Atlas, you probably have something you want to do with it, some kind of task in mind. Now that's where weight capacity is going to be playing a pretty important role, because we want to make sure that our hitch is up to the task we put it to. So we're just going to have a 350 pound tongue weight, that's going to be the maximum downward pressure at the end of the receiver tube. Now to put that in perspective, we can easily carry a couple bikes with us, or put a decent amount of gear on one of those smaller cargo carriers.

And at the same time, our hitch is also going to have a 3,500 pound gross trailer weight rating. That's how much the hitch can pull, but that does include the trailer and the load we have on it. So with all those numbers in mind I do still urge you to double check your Volkswagen's owner's manual, because those are the ratings for our hitch, and we don't want to exceed the manufacturer's rating for our car.Now I'd like to give you a few measurements, and these are going to help you whenever you're looking for accessories for your new hitch, like a bike rack or a cargo carrier. From the center of the hitch pinhole to the outermost edge of the bumper is going to be right about 5". Now that measurement's going to help you when you're looking at folding accessories to make sure you can put them in the upright stored position and not make contact with the rear bumper.

Now from the ground to the inside top edge of the receiver tube opening, is right about 13 1/2". Now at that height, I would definitely recommend a bike rack or a cargo carrier with a raised shank; that way, we get a little more ground clearance out of it. But now that we've seen what our hitch looks like and gone over some of the features, let's go through the installation process together so you can have the confidence to do it at home.To begin our installation, we want to come to the back of our Volkswagen. We're going to come underneath the rear bumper. Now, if we move to the side we'll find the frame rail, and we go ahead and point out the attachment points.

So we're over on the driver's side, but they are going to be in the same locations over on the passenger's side. The very back of the bumper, the rear right where the actual fascia is, we're going to have a hole in the bottom of the frame, and if we move forward, we'll have another hole. Those two holes are going to be our mounting location.If we move just a little bit further forward, we'll have this large, oval hole. This is going to be our access hole to get all the hardware in place. We're going to need to get a carriage bolt, and a spacer block into the frame. Now the spacer block, there's plenty of room to slide it in, but you'll notice real quick that the hole is just a little too small to get the hardware in, so we're going to need to enlarge this. And you can use a file, rotary tool, just about whatever you have, because you can see it's just a little bit too small. You don't want to go crazy opening that hole, you want it just big enough to where you can get the head of the bolt through. Now it's never a good idea to leave exposed metal, so I'm going to come back with a little bit of spray paint and cover it up, hopefully prevent any kind of rust or corrosion. With this side enlarged, we're going to move to the other side of the frame rail and repeat that same process.Now to get our hardware in place, we're going to start with the furthest rear hole and we'll grab one of the pull wires. Going to take the coiled end, and we're going to feed it in the hole, and we're going to want to go towards the front. Now the goal here is to have the coiled end come out the access hole, but you want to make sure the tail end is still sticking out the hole we put it in. We don't want it to go all the way in the frame. Sometimes it may help if you kind of put a small bend in the wire. What I usually do, is I'll estimate about how long I need to put a bend on the end of it, and then put a little downward bend by the coiled end so it'll come poking out once it gets a little closer. Sometimes you just have to have a little bit of patience, and it doesn't hurt if you put your finger in there to try to find the coiled end. But again, try not to drop the pull wire inside the frame, so you want to hold onto the end of it, and make sure that coiled ends sticking out.And then we'll take a square hole spacer block, we're going to slide it over the coiled wire, and since there's so little slack in here, what I'm going to do is slide it over the coiled end and then push it directly into the frame so it's out of the way for now. We'll take a carriage bolt, we're going to thread it onto the end of the wire, we'll push that in the frame. And we'll grab the tail end of our pull wire, we'll start pulling it so we can have the bolt drop down through that block. Now I always like to leave my pull wires attached; that way, it will help prevent the bolt from getting pushed back in, and even if it does, we can just pull it back down. Now it's going to be the same process for the other mounting location and the other side of the frame.So we're going to get all the rest of the hardware in place. And I do recommend getting an extra set of hands to help you lift the hitch up. But we're going to take our pull wires and drop them down from the top of our hitch in the corresponding holes, and we just want to go past our exhaust, line up our hitch so the hardware comes down through. You'll want to remove one of the pull wires, and we'll grab a conical tooth washer, there's little teeth on there. You want to make sure those are facing up towards the hitch. I usually like to kind of push on the washer to help hold the bolt still, and we want to get at least one hex nut on each side of the hitch so it'll support itself. And that's going to be the same combination for the remaining hardware and all the other locations.So now that all the hardware's in place, I'm going to come back with a 19 millimeter socket, you can also use a 3/4" socket, and I'm going to tighten all of it up. Now, I will let you know since that furthest back bolt is right underneath the bumper, it may help if you use a universal extension or a swivel so you can get on there and get a full engagement on the socket. Now you just want to make sure you come back with a torque wrench, I'm going to torque all the hardware down to the specified amount in the instructions. You want to make sure you go back and repeat that for all of your remaining hardware.Once you have all your hardware torqued down, that'll finish up your installation and your look at the Draw-Tite Class II Custom Fit Trailer Hitch Receiver on our 2018 Volkswagen Atlas.


Info for this part was:

Employee Jacob T
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Employee Dustin K
Video Edited:
Dustin K
Employee Robert C
Test Fit:
Robert C
Employee Bradley B
Test Fit:
Bradley B

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