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Old 09-19-2019, 12:01 PM
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Spiderman is offline
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Installing a hitch on a leased car


Thinking about putting a trailer hitch mount onto a (leased) car specifically to be able to use an already owned hitch mounted bike rack. Assuming the car is turned in (& not purchased) can the hitch mount be turned in with the car w/o any issue? If we remove it first, are the mounting holes typically considered 'damage' to the vehicle that will cost extra in fees? In short, what, if any, costs should this be anticipated to occur at lease termination, & any idea how much they may be? It's a Dodge Charger if that helps narrow the answer down.*

I've both purchased all of my cars & always had roof racks on my cars so I've never dealt with the installation of a hitch mount but the addition of a fattie to the stable would mean a couple of hundred dollars in a new tray specifically able to handle the wider tires, which is more than the cost of the hitch installed & she can't carry any bike on her car currently.



* Yeah, yeah, I know, RTFL; however, it's not my car, I don't have the paperwork.
** No, a trunk mount isn't an option as they both prevent accessing the trunk & more importantly are not theft proof.
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Old 09-19-2019, 01:04 PM
Dag Otto is offline
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Go to etrailer.com and look for hitches for the car. They have pretty good descriptions of the installation requirements for each hitch. I did a quick look for a 2108 Charger and the installation were rated from moderate to difficult, but didn't require drilling so I doubt installing one could be considered damage. I've installed a couple of hitches for bike racks. Temporary dropping of the exhaust was, in my case, simply removing a couple of the rubber hangers to allow the muffler to drop a few inches for clearance. Not hard at all.

One of my hitches is 1-1/4", and the other is 2". My Thule rack can be changed to go on either size, and it's solid on either hitch. Don't get hung up one one size or the other if your rack is also adjustable.

So, how fat?

Last edited by Dag Otto; 09-19-2019 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 09-19-2019, 01:08 PM
PastTense is offline
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You should contact the company you leased the car from.

My gut reaction is that you need something temporary rather than drilling holes.
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Old 09-19-2019, 01:34 PM
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& that's why I asked; I assumed they were drilled; glad to know it's not which means that it shouldn't be an issue after it's removed if/when she gives the car back.


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So, how fat?
4.7".
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Old 09-19-2019, 01:43 PM
Dag Otto is offline
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Reading some of the comments on the hitch site leads me to believe that not only are the holes you need already in the frame, they are also threaded. In other words, designed to mount the hitch.

That's fat.
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Old 09-19-2019, 04:21 PM
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Curt Mfg is a big producer of hitch and towing products and similar to that etrailer site you can see what they have for any model vehicle by going to their site and putting in your year, make, model, and trim. If they have something for your Charger you should be able to download the instructions right from their site to see how to install it. In the last few years I've installed hitches on three different vehicles and all have been simple bolt-on deals.
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Old 09-20-2019, 02:40 PM
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I'd strongly agree you need to check your specific lease before doing anything. Towing and adding hitches should be mentioned somewhere.

I had a leased Chrysler car a few years ago and my lease expicitly said that under no circumstances was I allowed to use the vehicle for towing.

I asked about adding a hitch for bikes, but they told me that they had no way to tell if I had used the car to tow something or just hold bikes. A hitch was a hitch as far as they were concerned and if they spotted any evidence of any hitch being added that was considered adapting the vehicle for towing and I'd be forced to pay penalties upon hand-in.

They said they specifically checked for signs a hitch had been added when a car was returned.
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Old 09-20-2019, 03:43 PM
Tired and Cranky is offline
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Check your lease is the best advice but Dodge dealers around here advertise the tow capacity of their SUVs in the lease ads. They seem to believe that people leasing trucks at least might want to tow with them. This Chrysler Capital Example Lease Agreement I found online doesn't mention towing at all. It understandably mentions excess wear but using a car to tow within its rated capacity seems to me to be normal wear. I don't know what your actual lease agreement says though.

installing the tow hitch might require some modifications to the rear bumper cover or removal of some trim or wind deflector panel. If you don't fix or replace that at the end of the lease, they could dock you for that as excess wear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GMANCANADA View Post
I'd strongly agree you need to check your specific lease before doing anything. Towing and adding hitches should be mentioned somewhere.

I had a leased Chrysler car a few years ago and my lease expicitly said that under no circumstances was I allowed to use the vehicle for towing.

I asked about adding a hitch for bikes, but they told me that they had no way to tell if I had used the car to tow something or just hold bikes. A hitch was a hitch as far as they were concerned and if they spotted any evidence of any hitch being added that was considered adapting the vehicle for towing and I'd be forced to pay penalties upon hand-in.

They said they specifically checked for signs a hitch had been added when a car was returned.
I don't doubt your experience but it does surprise me. First, if the lease really banned towing, it would be up to them to (1) prove that you used the car to tow, and (2) prove that the towing caused damage. There isn't some universally agreed amount of wear that towing will cause to every car. Second, the fact that they can't tell whether the hitch was used for towing or for a bike rack also means that they can't tell whether there was any towing related damage. Finally, towing requires changes to the wiring whereas a bike rack usually doesn't so if the car had evidence of a hitch but no evidence of wiring changes, I would say that shows you weren't using the car to tow.
  #9  
Old 09-20-2019, 03:51 PM
Joey P is offline
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There's a way around the lease end issues. Instead of turning your car in, tell them you want them to buy it from you (or use it as a trade in). I've done that the past few times I was at the end of a lease and came out ahead. The trick is to wait until the value is above the payoff amount. When I turned in my previous lease, they essentially handed me a thousand dollars. I'm sure it made a difference that I was getting another car from them, but it still eliminates any surprise charges for damage/worn tires/installing a hitch etc.
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Old 09-20-2019, 08:41 PM
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@Tired and Cranky - I understand your comments, I have friend's with leased SUV's and trucks and they tow all the time, but the OP specifically notes they have a leased car, not an SUV or truck. That's why I shared my leased car experience.

I had a mid-sized sedan with a 4 cyl. motor, it was not designed for towing. The terms of the lease said I could not tow or install any hitch (that could be used for towing). I'm sure my dealership added the hitch install clause because, as you correctly note, they had no way to tell if someone ever towed or what they towed. They were going to do a simple visual inspection and get more money out of me if they saw signs of a hitch.

I didn't challenge them or question them to "prove I towed" since a) I was free to go somewhere else if I didn't like that clause, and b) we had a second vehicle that we could use for bikes and I didn't give a shit.

The point I'm making is simply that the OP should check their lease before they install anything.
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