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Trailer Hitch Installation - 2013 BMW X3 - Curt

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How to Install a Trailer Hitch on a 2013 BMW X3

Today, on our 2013 BMW X3 well be installing the Curt hitch, part number C13107. This is what our hitch will look like once its installed. Next, well go ahead and take a couple measurements to assist you in selecting accessories for your new hitch. From the center of the hitch pin hole to the outer most edge of the bumper is four inches. From the top of the receiver tube opening to the ground is 11-3/4 inches. This will assist you in selecting accessories such as a ball mount, a bike rack, or a cargo carrier.

Now lets go ahead with installation.The first step of our installation, well be removing the underbody trim panel where there will be multiple fasteners securing it, both along the front and back edge. Once the fasteners are removed, well go ahead and take it out from underneath the vehicle and set it aside for reinstallation later. Next, well move behind the drivers side rear wheel. Here, there are two fasteners underneath the underbody panel and one inside the wheel well thatll need to be removed. Next, inside the drivers side wheel well well need to remove the seven rivets that secure the wheel well trim to the wheel well.

These are plastic rivets. To remove them, well take a punch, knock out the center through the rivet, then remove the head of the rivet. Lets go ahead and knock the centers through first on all of them, then well go back and remove the rivets. To remove the head of the rivet, were going to go ahead and use our trim panel tool. You could also use a flat bladed screwdriver.

To make it easy, well get underneath the trim panel itself first to loosen the head of the rivet, and then get behind the rivet and remove it. Now this will allow us to pull back on the wheel well trim panel, then expose two fasteners that hold the bumper cover to the wheel well area. Well go ahead and repeat the same process on the passenger side.Next, well move to the driver side taillight assembly. Well need to remove the taillight assembly as there is a fastener underneath that will need to be removed. To remove the taillight assembly, well remove the plastic panel covering up the fasteners.

This panel will pop out of place and well just be using a plastic pry bar to assist in removing it. Then, well set it aside and now you can see the two fasteners securing the taillight assembly. Well remove the fasteners, and then pop this taillight assembly out of its position. Note, the tolerances are very tight around these fasteners and it may be necessary to get a flat bladed screwdriver in behind them to help walk the taillight out of its position. Note, underneath the taillight there is an alignment pin be careful not to break. Well go ahead and disconnect the wiring from the taillight assembly. Pressing on the locking tab on the connector, removing it, and well set the taillight assembly aside for reinstallation later.Now weve gained access to the fastener, well go ahead and remove it. The next step is to remove the reflector in the bumper. Underneath the reflector is another fastener that will need to be removed. Well go ahead and repeat the same process on the passenger side. With all our fasteners removed, were ready to go ahead and remove the bumper cover. Well work our way around the wheel well to the rear of the vehicle on both sides, and then go ahead and remove the bumper. Be careful if your vehicle is equipped with rear sensors as youll need to disconnect the wiring before you can completely remove it. This application is so equipped, so well go ahead and remove the connector. To do that, well press on both locking tabs, both top and bottom of the connector, and then remove it from the manufacturers wiring. Now well go ahead and set the bumper cover aside.Our next step is well need to remove the inner plastic bodies above the bumper. There are a total of four fasteners securing each, one on the driver and one on the passenger side. Well go ahead and remove the fasteners and set the plastic bodies aside. Next, well need to remove the rear bumper. There are four nuts securing the rear bumper in position. Well remove the nuts and then the rear bumper setting it aside.Now we can go ahead and install the hitch over the same studs that we just removed the bumper from. Then, well reinstall the bumper and resecure and torque it to specifications. Now were ready to go ahead and reinstall the plastic bodies that we removed from above the bumper. However, theyll need to be notched out to go around the hitch flange. To do this, well set them in position and then take a paint marker and mark out the area thatll need to be cut out. Then, using a rotary tool well cut out these areas so that we can go ahead and reinstall them. After our initial marks and cut out, well go ahead and attempt to install the inner plastic moldings. However, as in this case, well need to cut out an additional area, so well go ahead and mark it and cut it out and trim to fit around the hitch flange. Now with it completely cut out, were ready to go ahead and reinstall it. With the drivers side reinstalled, well go ahead and put our wire connector back in place. Next, well move over and repeat the same process with the passenger side.With both sides installed, were ready to go ahead and reinstall the bumper cover. As we set the bumper cover into place, well reconnect our wiring, and then go ahead and start snapping it into place. Well start near the taillight housing and work our way towards the wheel wells. With everything snapped back into place well go ahead and start reinstalling the fasteners starting with the reflector fastener and then the taillight. Once we have our fasteners in place, we can go ahead and reinstall our reflector and taillight, resecuring the taillight and putting the plastic trim over the taillight fasteners. Next, well move to the wheel wells. Here, we can install the fasteners securing the bumper cover to the wheel well area. Then, well go ahead and put the wheel well trim back into position. Next, the supplied the plastic rivets without installation kit, well go ahead and reinstall the wheel well trim.Our final piece to reinstall is the underbody trim panel that we first removed. However, before we can reinstall it well need to cut out the section around the hitch. As per the instructions, well find the center of the underbody trim panel, measure each side of it evenly, and then make a mark. Then, well check our depth according to the instructions and draw lines forming the area to be cut out. Now Ill go ahead and use my rotary tool to cut out this section and go ahead and install it. With that done this will complete the install of our Curt hitch, part number C13107, on our 2013 BMW X3.

Robert E.


Ive ordered the hitch for my 2012 BMW X3 what size rivets do I need to reattach the wheel well trim? And, will a regular rivet gun which uses metal rivets work with plastic rivets? Or do I have to purchase one for these rivets.

Etrailer Expert

Rachael H.


This hitch is actually discontinued from Curt, but the replacement # C13316 that is confirmed as a fit for your 2012 BMW X3 has the rivets included with it. There are 16 nylon rivets included that are M6 in size.