How to Install a Trailer Hitch on a Toyota RAV4by Alibaster Smith
The V-6 Toyota RAV4 has enough torque to warrant using a trailer hitch and has a stated towing capacity of 3,500 lbs. (1,587.57 kg). However, the RAV4 didn't always come equipped with one because the inline 4-cylinder model is not rated for towing. Fortunately, there are placeholders on the frame that allow a hitch to be installed on V-6 models.
Locate the hitch area on the rear frame of the RAV4 (it is under the vehicle). There should be several holes on the rear cross-member, which is the main rear frame support for the RAV4.
Align the mounting bracket holes of the hitch kit to the mounting holes on the frame.
Slide the bolts through the mounting brackets and the cross-member and bolt the hitch bracket to the frame. use the torque wrench to tighten the bolts to the torque specifications listed in your hitch kit's instructions, normally between 35 and 45 ft.-lbs. (47 to 61 Newton-meters).
Test fit the hitch. Align the hitch with the frame and mounting brackets to make sure that the hitch is symmetrical to the vehicle before inserting the retaining bolts.
Position the hitch flat against the frame and align the mounting holes on the hitch assembly to the mounting holes on the RAV4.
Bolt the hitch to the reinforcing mounting bracket and cross-member. Tighten the bolts with a torque wrench to the maximum torque recommended by the hitch kit, normally between 125 and 150 ft.-lbs. (170 to 203 Nm).
You will need to make sure that your RAV4 is equipped with a brake and light controller for over-the-road trailers, campers, etc. If it is not, you will need to have this wiring installed on your RAV4 at a Toyota dealership or qualified service station.
- You must use the hardened steel bolts supplied with your hitch assembly. Failure to do so could result in damage to your vehicle, the hitch assembly or whatever you are towing.
Items you will need
- RAV4 hitch kit
- 1/2" socket wrench with socket set
- Torque wrench
- Toyota RAV4 Repair Manual 1996-2005; Bob Henderson, John H. Haynes; 2007