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Draw-Tite Max-Frame Trailer Hitch Installation - 2022 Toyota Highlander

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How to Install the Draw-Tite Max-Frame Trailer Hitch on a 2022 Toyota Highlander

Hey everybody, Ryan here at etrailer. Today on our 2022 Toyota Highlander, we're gonna be showing you how to install the Draw-Tite trailer hitch receiver. But before we do that, why don't we just take a minute, check this out and make sure it's gonna be the right hitch for you. When it comes to the Highlander, these SUVs are awesome. They're super capable and people do a ton of different stuff with them. So personally, if I was looking for a hitch I want one that would allow you to do just about anything.

And the set up like this one is gonna allow you to do just that. And honestly, they're really good looking SUVs too, almost sporty looking. And so I feel like the looks would be important to me as well. And even though this one's completely visible, so you're able to see the whole hitch, it really don't look too bad. It sits up nice and tight against the bottom of a bumper and the bends in it just flow with our vehicle.

And so, like I said, for being visible, really not too bad. If you're looking for something that is a little more hidden, there's some hitches out there that the main body of the hitch will sit up behind the bumper and the only thing you'll be able to see is your receiver tube opening. Those look awesome. And there's a trade off to that though. So those aren't quite as capable as a hitch like this in terms of what it can handle and whatnot.

It's still pretty impressive. And you'll still be able to use your bike racks and your medium duty, general purpose towing and stuff. But if you're looking to push the limits a little bit and say, if you're towing something really big, a big boat or camper, something like that. With this one being rated a little bit higher, this might be the one to lean on, that way you just have a little bit more breathing room whenever your towing those heavy the items. I do want to address some of the more common questions that we do get asked.

One of them has to do with fitment, so hybrids. Will this hitch work with hybrids And the answer is, yes, it will. But there is a model that this won't work with and that's the XSE. If you have one of those, hitch isn't gonna bolt up, but there are other options available that you can choose from that will work with the XSE. So make sure to use our dropdown menu and select the appropriate submodel that you have, that way you get what you need the first time. And I also wanna mention the hands-free lift gate assist feature. So some of these models, you kick your foot underneath and the hatch opens up. Before I even put the hitch on, what I always try to do is get that to work to see if the vehicle even has it. And today it did not. So this one doesn't have the feature, but I can tell you from past experience when you put the hitch on, a lot of times, it'll still work. You'll just have to play around with it a little bit, kicking your foot to either side of the receiver tube. And once you find that sweet spot, you usually can get everything to open up. With this hitch being a class three, it is gonna have the two-inch by two-inch opening. Really common size, ton of stuff will work with it. Reinforced collar there at the end of it for a little extra support. It is going to use the 5/8 pin and clip. And safety chain openings are actually really big, super easy to get to. So whatever size hook your trailer has, chances are good. It'll work. It is gotta have a pre-attached bracket on the hitch too and that's for trailer wiring. You can mount up to it. Brings me to the next point. If you're gonna be pulling a trailer around, you can always grab some trailer wiring that way you can get all the lights to work. Now I'm gonna give you a couple of measurements and you can use these to help figure out which hitch mounted accessories will work best. From the ground to the top inside edge of the receiver tube opening, that's going to be about 16-1/2 inches. So if you're playing on pulling a trailer, chances are pretty good. You can use a ball mount that has a straight shank or one that even has a very small rise in it. From the center of the hitch pin hole to the edge of the rear bumper, that's actually going to be zero. They're gonna be pretty much even. And so just like we talked about before, you shouldn't really have any issues using any of those folding type accessories. Something else I did notice with this setup is the receiver tube opening is actually to come out past our bumper just a little bit and that's gonna work out real well for those of you that are using folding type accessories. That'll give you all that space you need to fold them upright and not have to worry about them hitting the back of your Highlander. But other than that, at the end of the day, hitch you can't go wrong with really. And it looks decent and it's gonna be able to get the job done, whatever it is you're trying to do. As far as the installation goes, it's really not too bad. There's a handful of steps, but nothing crazy. So pretty straightforward. And as long as you take your time, really shouldn't run into too many issues. But speaking of that, why don't we go ahead and put the hitch on together now. To begin our installation, we're gonna be here underneath the back of our Highlander. And first thing we need to do is remove this underbody panel over here on the driver's side. This is the panel we need to remove. There's gonna be several different types of fasteners. So we'll just work our way around. We'll have a push pin one right here. So you take a flat head screwdriver, pry the head down and work the whole fastener out. And one right here and do the same thing. And I think that's it for push pin. So working our way around, we'll have a fastener there. That's a 10 millimeter head. Looks like you can also use the Phillips screwdriver. We'll take that screw out. And then two right here. And then it feels like it's all that's securing it on this end. But I do know that we will have two more fasteners up along this edge up top here. Here's the other two fasteners. These are 12 millimeter nut. And with these, you can just do them by hand. Will stay connected to the panel, but it should come off of the stud. And sometimes you'll have to apply a little downward pressure while you're turning this to get it to come free. Once getting stuck, you can just go to the next one. Usually if you get one of them started, it'll come off. You can go to the other one then and work at it some more. Once those are released, I think we should be able to work this down and set it off to the side. With the panel out of the way, that will expose plugs in the bottom of our frame. We're gonna remove these. Just take a screwdriver and pop this all out. And once we have these out, we're gonna do the same thing to the other side of our vehicle. We are going to need to loosen up our exhaust bracket there by the tailpipe. And I don't think it'll be an issue, but to be on the safe side, I'm gonna support the exhaust. I'm just going to take a strap and run it from side to side that way we can control how fast and how far the exhaust will come down. What we need to undo are these two bolts right here. You see the exhaust bracket and it's bolted to the frame. So I'm gonna use a 12 millimeter socket to pull those out. We're gonna have this bracket and we're just gonna remove it. So there's a 10 millimeter head bolt. Pull that out and then we can switch out to a 17 millimeter and remove this bolt and get all this stuff out of the way. If you have a big bead of sealer there, it's not a bad idea just to remove a little bit of it. Sometimes it can get in the way and then it's a pain trying to get the hitch up. So I've just gotten the habit of just removing it beforehand. Just a little bit of it. And usually that's pretty sufficient with this stuff. I just use a scraper like this or flathead screwdriver, whatever works best for you. So I'll probably go something like this and do the same thing over on the other side. Back over on the passenger side, if you take this square bracket, the holes are gonna line up with the holes in the side of the frame that we are using to originally hold our exhaust hanger up. So what you're gonna do with this line it up and then you're gonna take the factory hardware and I'm just gonna get this started in place, hand tight for now. And then eventually our exhaust bracket will end up bolting into it. So leave it hand tight in case it puts in our way or we need to be able to move it around to get it in position, whatever the case may be. From this point on, anything we do to one side we're also gonna do to the other side 'cause it'll be set the same way. But each one of our frame rails, we're gonna have three attachment points. So this one here, this one here, and then this one and these are all threaded inside of there. Even though they are covered, it's not a bad idea to take a tube brush or some penetrating oil and just run it through there, help clean them out. Especially if they're rusty or anything. Ours are in really good shape. So not really a big deal. But the hardware that you're gonna use is a bolt, a conical tooth washer. Make sure the teeth on the washer face up. And so when we're gonna hold the hitch up, these are gonna go through the hitch and then simply just thread in there. So those are just gonna thread right in and hold the hitch up into place. Now with an extra set of hands, we can take our hitch and raise it in a position. And just like we talked about, we wanna get at least one bolt started on each side, hand tight. That way the hitch will support itself while we work on the rest of them. Let's go ahead, and once we have all of our hardware in place and hand tight, then we'll come back with a 3/4 inch socket. 19 millimeter will work as well and snug everything down. Now we need to make sure to come back with a torque wrench and tighten down the hardware to the amount specified in the instructions. If you don't have a torque wrench, you can always grab one here at etrailer. Or a lot of times, you go to your local auto parts store and they'll have one there available to rent, usually for free. We can bolt our exhaust bracket back up. So it'll line up with the new bracket you put on. You're gonna take the new bolt, and push it through. And then conical tooth washer, teeth facing our bracket, followed by the hex nut, and do the same thing for other opening. And then we can come back snug these down and torque them as well. So I got these tightened and torqued. 12 millimeter for the heads of the bolts and then for the nut to prevent it from spinning, I used the 13 millimeter wrench to hold it. So that's done. And with the exhaust supporting itself again, we'll go ahead and get our strap out of the way. Take our underbody panel that we removed and trim it out. So I held it up and mark where we needed to cut. So we'll have a spot here and eventually we'll have to come in and cut a spot back here. I wanted to get this out first though to give us a better idea back here. So I marked that out. Pretty thick plastic, so I'm gonna use a Dremel tool. Pair of snips or other type of power tool you might have will work as well. We just need to get this material out of here. I did cut this portion of our panel out as well to clear the hitch. And with this all done, now we can reinstall the panel the opposite way that we removed it. So here's what the panel's gonna look like once it's cut and reinstall. And with all this now complete, that'll finish up our look at and our installation of the Draw-Tite trailer hitch receiver on our 2022 Toyota Highlander..

Info for this part was:

Employee Joshua S
Video by:
Joshua S
Employee Jacob T
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Employee Chris R
Video Edited:
Chris R
Employee Shane H
Test Fit:
Shane H
Employee Ryan G
Test Fit:
Ryan G
Employee Bradley B
Test Fit:
Bradley B

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