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etrailer Class III Trailer Hitch Installation - 2022 Toyota Highlander

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How to Install the etrailer Class III 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 etrailer.com class III two-inch trailer hitch receiver. But before we do that, let's check it out and make sure that this is something that's gonna work for you. Right off the bat, I do wanna address one of the big questions that we get asked in regards to these Highlanders and putting a trailer hitch on them and that's if the hands-free lift gate assist is going to work. Unfortunately, today, the model that we have here don't come equipped with that feature so I can't actually show you.

But from my past experience and reading what a lot of other folks are saying, they're not having any issues as far as getting it to operate like it should. Really, the only thing that you're gonna have to do differently is kick your foot to either side of the hitch here. And once you find that sweet spot, everything will open up. When it comes to putting a hitch on the Highlander, it's one of them things where it just makes sense. We see a ton of these here at etrailer.

And I see a lot of them out on the road, people using them to do a ton of different things. These Toyotas are really capable vehicles. So, whether you're planning on pulling a trailer around, a camper, or boat, whatever the case may be, or even just using accessories like a bike rack or cargo carrier, having a hitch back here is really gonna open up your opportunities and what you can actually use your SUV for. One of the things I really like about this setup compared to some of the other hitches is the way it looks, the appearance of it. I think it's the best looking one available, at least in my opinion.

And I say that because for the most part, it's gonna be completely hidden. Really, the only thing you're gonna be able to see here is the safety chain plates and the receiver tube opening. So, does a good job of kind of looking like a factory option. And I think that's also in part to the finish of it. It has this matte black finish.

And honestly, it almost matches our plastic bumper perfectly. So, it kind of just flows and kind of blends in. With that said, one of the other benefits is the clearance it's gonna give us. So, I know a lot of people use folding type accessories, right Bike racks and things like that. And this hitch gives us awesome clearance. It actually just comes out, I mean, just a hair past our back bumper here. And what that's going to allow you to do is take those folding accessories, put them in that upright position, and not have to worry about them hitting the back of your Toyota. Since this is a class III hitch, it is gonna have that two-inch by two-inch receiver tube opening. Really common size. Ton of different accessories will work with it. At the end of it, we're gonna have a reinforced collar for a little bit of extra support. And it is going to use that standard 5/8 pin and clip. Now, keep in mind, a pin and clip doesn't come included. If you need one though, not a huge deal. You can just grab it right here to etrailer. The safety chain openings are gonna be a little bit different. They're a plate style and they actually sit flat. I kinda like it. The holes aren't huge but they are gonna provide us with enough space to use just about any size hook that we might have. The hitch is gonna give us some pretty good weight capacities. As far as the maximum gross tongue weight rating goes, that's gonna be 500 pounds and that's gonna be the amount of weight that's pushing down on the hitch. So, pretty high number and you should be able to use just about any size bike rack or cargo carrier that you'd want to, for example. As far as the hitch's maximum gross trailer weight rating goes, that's gonna be 5,000 pounds and that's gonna be the amount of weight that is pulling on the hitch. So, weight to the trailer plus anything that you might have on it. I do always like to suggest it's never a bad idea just to grab your Toyota's owner's manual. That way, you can make sure your Highlander can pull that much weight safely. And with that said, if you're gonna be pulling a trailer, you want the lights to work. That way, people around you know what's going on and you'll be safe and legal. And to accomplish that, you can always grab some trailer wiring. While we're talking about weight capacities, I do just wanna throw this out there for those of you that plan on pulling some really heavy stuff. Things like a big camper or something like that, for example. There's another hitch available. The CURT hitch. If a high weight capacity is gonna be your main concern, like I said, you're pulling really heavy things, that one might be definitely worth looking into. It has really high weight capacities and it also allows you to use what's called a weight distribution system. And that's gonna be a separate component that'll help kind of keep your trailer and your Highlander nice and level whenever you're towing it down the road. So, I know that won't apply to everyone. But like I said before, people use these Highlanders to do a lot of different things, so I figured it was worth at least mentioning. Let's go ahead and just grab a couple of measurements. That way, we can try to figure out which hitch mounted accessories are gonna work out best for you. If we go from the ground to the top inside edge of the receiver tube opening, that's gonna be right at about 16 1/2 inches. So, if you plan on pulling a trailer around, chances are pretty good you can use a ball mount that has a straight shank. If you go from the center of the hitch pin hole to the edge of the rear bumper, that's gonna be about an inch and a half. And we kind of talked about this a minute ago, but you can use that measurement to figure out exactly if any of those towing accessories can be stored in that upright position without hitting the back of your Toyota. I do just wanna touch base on fitment on different sub-models and everything like that. So, this hitch is gonna work with all the different sub-models, including hybrids like we have here today. So, no issues there. The only thing that you may run into an issue with is if you have a full size spare tire. So, if the spare tire under there has a rim that is bigger than 18 inches, then you might run into some interference issues there. But with that said, I've yet to come across one of them. Chances are pretty good yours doesn't have that huge spare, but it's definitely worth taking a quick peek underneath and checking that out. That way, you make sure you get what you need actually. But other than that, at the end of the day, a hitch you really can't go wrong with. I mean, I think it looks awesome and it's gonna allow you to do those things that you've been wanting to do. So, should definitely keep you covered there. Now, as far as the installation goes, really not too bad. A couple things you have to kind of loosen up and give you a little bit more space to work. But essentially, the hitch is just gonna kind of slide into place and bolt right up. So, really shouldn't run into any snags or give you a whole lot of issues. But speaking of that, why don't we go ahead, pull into the garage and put it on together now. To begin our installation, we're gonna be underneath the back of our Toyota. And first thing we need to do over here on the driver's side is remove this underbody panel. And so, there's gonna be a few different fasteners that we need to pull out. The first style will be like these, the push pin type. And to get these out, you'll take a flathead screwdriver or even a trim panel tool if you got one, pop the head of the fastener out, and that'll let you remove it completely. And so, we'll just kind of work our way around here. Looks like we'll have one more there. Get that one out. And then we're gonna have some screws as well. So, one there. It's a 10 millimeter. Kinda looks like we're gonna have two here as well. And what we can do if we move up kind of in this opening here by our spare tire, we're gonna have some more plastic nuts. And you can take a 12 millimeter and a lot of times, you can just do these by hand. And they're not actually gonna come off. A lot of times, they'll stay with the panel. But if they're giving you any trouble, what you might have to do, just kind of apply some downward pressure on it while you're unscrewing these. Get it free. And after we get this one, it should be the last one. If not, not a big deal. We'll find the other one so. Felt like it came free. And we could go ahead and just work this out and set it to the side for now. Now, if we look on the bottom of our frame rail here, we're gonna have some plugs and we need to pull those out. So, you just take a screwdriver and get all these removed. And once we have them out, we're gonna do the same thing over on the other side. So, on the driver's side here, there's total of five of them. On the passenger side, there will only be four. Now, if we move over here to the passenger side, if we look, we're gonna have this little metal bracket. And we need to get that out of the way, so the hitch the will go up here without any issues. And there's two bolts. One of them will be a 10 millimeter. Remove that. And then we can switch over to a 17 millimeter socket and pull this one out. I can drop this bracket down and get it out of the way. So now, we're gonna have a tab here under our bumper and we're gonna have one on each side. So, you're gonna do this over on the other side as well. But you're gonna pull out this fastener. Pry that out. And then you're just gonna kind of bend this tab down a little bit. And that'll give us an some extra space of making it easier to get our hitch up into place. Now, let's just go ahead and go over our attachment points and our hardware that we're gonna use to secure the hitch. It's gonna be the same set up on each side. And you're gonna have a total of three. So, this weld nut, this weld nut, and this one. And even though they're covered, sometimes not a bad idea if you wanna spray them down with some penetrating oil. Just use a brush like this and clean out the threads. That way, if there's any junk in there, won't interfere with our bolts. And the hardware combination that you're gonna use is just gonna be a bolt. You're gonna put on a conical tooth washer. Make sure that the teeth on the washer are gonna face up towards the hitch. And so, when we're holding our hitch up here, you're just gonna take these. And these are simply just gonna thread into those factory weld nuts. Now, with an extra set of hands, we can take our hitch and get it into position. On that side there, you are gonna have to kind of go up and over the exhaust and bend it. That little air deflector deal, out of the way as well. Then the hitch will kind of slide up into position. Once we have it lined up, we gonna take the hardware. We wanna get at least one started on each side hand-tight. That way, the hitch will support itself while we work on the rest of them. So, once we get the rest of our hardware started and hand-tight, we'll come back with a 19 millimeter socket and snug everything down. Once everything's snug, you need to make sure and come back with a torque wrench and tighten down all of 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, go to your local auto parts stores and they'll have one available to rent. Now, we can come back to these flaps. Line those back up and re-secure them. Now, we can trim out our underbody panel. You can also just leave this off if you want. It's not gonna hurt anything, but we're gonna trim ours. There's a diagram in the instructions that kind of gives you an idea where to cut. And I also like to kind of just hold it up there, roughly in place. Gives you a better idea. So, I marked out the spots that I need to cut. I'm gonna use a Dremel tool to do this. You can probably use a pretty heavy-duty pair of snips, or jigsaw, something along those lines. But go ahead and get all this cut out of here. With the panel trimmed out, now we can go ahead and get it reinstalled the opposite way that we had removed it. And that'll finish up our look at of the etrailer.com trailer hitch receiver on our 2022 Toyota Highlander..


Info for this part was:

Employee Joshua S
Video by:
Joshua S
Employee Chris R
Video by:
Chris R
Employee Thomas T
Video by:
Thomas T
Employee Jacob T
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Employee Shane H
Test Fit:
Shane H
Employee Conner L
Test Fit:
Conner L
Employee Ryan G
Test Fit:
Ryan G

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