Can You Tow Without A Hitch

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Last Updated on August 2, 2022

Most people don’t consider a towing hitch until they need one. Hitch mounts provide a number of advantages to your vehicle and should be considered an investment. A trailer hitch is simply referred to as a tow hitch. It’s a hitch that’s used to tow a trailer.

If you’re looking to tow a trailer with your new vehicle and discover it doesn’t have a hitch, you’re going to need to have one installed. There are different types of hitches available, including 5th wheel hitches, gooseneck hitches, and others.

When purchasing a new vehicle, it’s possible to miss an absent trailer hitch. But what if you’re in desperate need of a hitch but don’t have one?

Can You Tow Without A Hitch

Do all vehicles come with hitches?

Most vehicles come with an installed hitch, so there’s a good chance yours will also. On the other hand, manufacturers are increasingly opting to leave them off to save money. 

However, installing a hitch in your vehicle is not impossible; you can hire a professional to do that for you or do it yourself. If you have even a little experience with vehicle tinkering or repairs, assembling a trailer hitch on a vehicle isn’t that difficult. 

A standard tow hitch configuration could include removing the spare tire, reducing the exhaust, separating existing vehicle hardware, lifting the hitch into position, and torquing the hitch hardware towards the proper values.

Towing Without A Hitch

It’s dangerous to drive without using a hitch, but it’s doable. You’ll also require a strong rope or chain to tow a vehicle without a hitch. Towing a vehicle with a tow rope or chain can only be used as a last resort, and it should only be done on local roads at low speeds, never on highways. 

Knowing well how to tow a vehicle with a chain or even a rope is critical if you choose this method. Never use any old rope or chain that you happen to have on hand. 

Under the stresses of towing, frayed or thin ropes and rusty or broken chains could easily snap, posing a risk. Check that the rope or chain is not all that too long or short, as this can pose problems. 

Further, if towing with a chain or rope, do not brake suddenly because the vehicle being towed would likely be in neutral with no active brakes and could slam into the tow vehicle, causing damage to both vehicles.

Remember that ropes under a lot of tension can snap or let go; use a rope rated for the vehicle weight you’re pulling.

To begin, secure the chain or the rope to a spot on the vehicle’s front end.

Then, on the other vehicle, try securing the other end towards anything solid.

Someone must be in the vehicle while driving to ensure that it remains neutral. 

You’ll have to maneuver it around corners as well. Only a short distance can be towed to get to work. Also, as previously mentioned, keep an eye on your speed. If you don’t use a hitch, you’re putting both cars in grave danger. 

Even though it is doable, the best piece of advice is to seek assistance from somebody with a hitch or contact a tow truck if needed.

The Summary

While towing a trailer or attaching a plow to a vehicle, towing hitches are extremely useful pieces of equipment. Beyond just towing trailers, tow hitches can be used for a variety of other purposes, varying from functional and efficient to fun and cost-effective.

However, as you may be aware, hitches are not standard equipment on all vehicles. So, before buying a new or used vehicle, ensure it has a towing package. 

Finally, double-check that the hitch’s load capacity matches the trailer’s and cargo’s gross weights. 

Towing your car with a rope or chain was once lawful, and it still is in some places, but it is not legal on freeways. So obviously, you can use them, but only for short distances but never on highways.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Trailer Hitch Compatible with Any Car, SUV, or Truck?

A trailer hitch can be installed on almost any vehicle. From the tiniest electric vehicles to the biggest trucks, these installations are readily accessible.

Is it possible to rent a pickup truck with a hitch?

The majority of rental trucks lack a hitch. In addition, most rental agreements forbid the renter from attaching a bumper hitch to the vehicle. In other words, you cannot rent a pickup truck to substitute the service provided by U-Haul.

Is a bike rack going to require a trailer hitch?

A trailer hitch is required for hitch mount bike racks but not for roof or trunk racks. A trailer hitch could be installed on almost any vehicle, including small hatchbacks, minivans, and large SUVs.

About the Author: Brian Silvestro

Brian Silvestro is the founder and chief editor of OffroadersArena. He spends his free time tending to his BMW iX SUV and explaining its merits to anyone who'll listen.

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