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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2013
I purchased the Curt 13534 Receiver hitch for my 2012 Toyota Highlander Limited after carefully reviewing several other brands of hitches. I preferred the square tubing hitch (Reese) over the tubular Curt, but I changed my mind due to the "U" configuration of the Curt designed hitch. I THINK I made the correct choice. Curt has the inverted "U" on their hitch which fits above the muffler's tailpipe and behind the bumper (if looking at it from the rear of the vehicle). The others designs I reviewed have the "U" fit underneath or below the tailpipe itself, lowering ground clearance somewhat, but I guess it could also give protection to the tailpipe too. I just chose the Curt because the "U" was out of sight and made the hitch less noticeable upon installation, which I think it does.

I purchased the Curt Receiver hitch ($143.68) on a Wed. night and by Fri. noon, it was sitting on my front porch with "Free Shipping". It comes in a sturdy box with very little, if any, package "padding" on the inside. All the bolts and installation instructions were securely taped inside the receiver itself. The box was in good shape when it arrived (by UPS) and there wasn't any hidden damage to the receiver itself. From the time I opened the box until I put up my tools it took me almost two hours to install the hitch. I read over the instructions first then started the installation. I installed the hitch with my vehicle sitting on level ground with no jacks or lifts. I first removed the under body panels which requires a Phillips screwdriver (for one screw on each panel), a flat head screwdriver (to remove the push fasteners [2-3 on each panel]), a 10mm socket (not noted in instructions) and 3/8" drive ratchet (for remainder of bolts on these panels) and a 14mm socket to remove a bolt on the passenger side panel. The instructions also suggest a 5" extention for the ratchet, but that will be too short in a couple of instances. I used a 10" extension to reach a couple of the bolts securing the panels. It won't take you that long to remove the panels (20-30 mins max). The instructions tell you to either leave the panels off entirely or to trim and re-install. I trimmed and re-installed primarily to keep debris from collecting under the body of the vehicle which could be thrown up from the rear tires. On the passenger side was air conditioning hoses that I didn't want damaged either from road debris. The instructions, for the driver side (d.s.) and passenger side (p.s.) panel show pictures of where to trim each. The driver side panel took me the most time to trim because I didn't trim as aggressively as the instructions suggested so as to maintain the integrity/sturdiness of the panel itself. The driver side panel DOES NOT need to be trimmed, in width, as much as the instructions indicate. There is a fairly large hole in the d.s. panel (used to allow access to the tow hook, which is removed in the hitch installation) and I used a Dremel tool (a hack saw blade could have been used too) with an attached cut-off wheel (#426) to cut a 1-1/4" wide slot (instructions say 2.5" wide, but that is too wide) from almost the front of the panel to almost the back of the panel (including the hole for the tow hook). The instructions tell you to trim off the entire inside back corner of the panel (so you can mount the panel after the hitch is bolted on), but I just measured and cut a slot wide enough for the verticle hitch support to fit thru and slipped the panel over the hitch support before bolting on the hitch. The 1-1/2 slot allows you enough room to later place and tighten up the bolts holding on the hitch support. I had to do some trimming again to the d.s. panel (after placing one bolt to securely hold the hitch in place), but I used the Dremel tool to do this also. I did not have to do any trimming to the passenger side panel as it will fit snuggly next to the hitch support. I then removed the 2 tow hooks which were very securely fastened with two bolts each using the 17mm socket. You will also have to remove 3 rubber/plastic plugs from p.s. and 1 from d.s. that protects the threaded mounting holes for the hitch (very easy).

Two people would have been easier, but I laid on my back under the vehicle with the hitch placed on my stomach area. I then carefully raised the hitch and fitted the inverted "U" over the tail pipe then over the tab on the underside of the bumper. I then rested the "U" on the muffler support and placed one bolt in the p.s. verticle hitch support to hold it securely to the vehicle frame. I then slipped the d.s. body panel over the d.s. verticle hitch support of the hitch and then placed another bolt into the d.s. hitch support to hold it securely. I did not have to pry the hitch in any way, but with the two bolts (1 each side) in place (not tightened fully) the hitch was easy to move to align and to secure the other bolts. I then tightened up the hitch mounting bolts/washers (supplied with hitch) to torque specifications (49 lb-ft) (3 on driver side, 4 on pass. side), using a 17mm socket and the ratchet extension (d.s. only due to d.s. panel in place) once the hitch was positioned correctly. I then installed the body panels with the screws/push pins/bolts they had been originally installed with. The push pins (especially the d.s. panel outside pin) took a little extra effort to reinstall in the body panels.

The hitch looks great on the back of the vehicle and is not obtrusive at all. The receiver extends approximately 2 inches past the bumper, horizontally. You probably could hit your leg on it, but not just normally walking past the vehicle. For me, there was no extra drilling, prying, or forcing the hitch to get the holes aligned as some have complained about. The hitch fit like a glove and looks great under the back of the car. My wife was pleased with the hitch and it's her car! We are both pleased with the appearance and quality of this hitch and it does not interfere with the spare tire stored underneath the vehicle.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2011
I got this hitch last week. As mentioned by the other users, the package is a little under cushioned with almost no packing material to protect the hitch. The hitch broke a hole on the box but it is fine without any damage. I took the advise of another reviewer to put a tool box under one end of the hitch and worked to put the screws on to the other end. I worked with the passenger side first because there are more screws to put on and it need a little more fiddling. I always work to solve the more problematic side first and deal with the easier side later. I have a 2010 toyota highlander. There is a video specifically dedicated to the installation of this hitch on youtube. Before you start, you will need to remove the rubber guard panels on both rear sides of the vehicle covering the installation sites. That is very easy as you only need to remove some screws and pop the panels out. Then you remove the tow hooks to expose the installation hole to put the hitch on. Everything was straight forward until I started to put screw on the other side of the hitch. I ran into the same problem mentioned by the other reviewers that one side of the hitch does not align exactly with the holes where you put your screws in. That is real big problem because you will have to pull real hard on one end of the hitch to align the holes between those on the hitch to the ones on the vehicle so that you can put the screws on. I was so frustrated that it was almost a job impossible to be done since the hitch itself weighs about 39 lbs, until I used a little trick. I put the vehicle tire jack between the spare tire and the hitch to push the hitch into alignment with the holes on the vehicle. There was no problem after that once the alignment problem was solved. I almost wanted to give a 4 stars to the hitch because the misalignment, if I had not solve that problem!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2012
I installed this trailer hitch on a 2010 Highlander Hybrid. I followed the advice of several people who also left reviews. As you can read, many people who leave reviews mention how the holes do not line up properly and then write about a creative way to force it into place. After several different attempts, I was finally able to bolt the passenger side in first, then wedge a the car jack between the spare tire and the driver's side of the hitch. I had to use the jack to exert a tremendous amount of force to bend the hitch so it would fit. At the same time I had to use another car jack, to push it upward with enough force to get it into place. Then I had to use a 2x4 between the hitch and the rear of the frame to force it slightly backward.

The amount of force required to flex the hitch and mount it undoubtedly puts a mechanical stress on the hitch and/or the frame of the car.

My conclusion from this experience is that these hitches are not manufactured in a consistent manner, do not fit the highlander properly and there is a possibility that you will purchase one that absolutely will not fit on your car.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2013
Great product! I did read several reviews, both good and bad. I focused on the reviews of individuals that gave the hitch a positive review. There is a wealth of helpful information in those reviews. Sometimes I wonder if people are reviewing the same product. Then I realize that in life, bad things happen to good people and there are just some miserable folks that complain about everything.

There was one beast of an issue that no one mentioned and it was probably not an issue for most. You may need an impact wrench to loosen the bolts holding the brackets in place. Reading prior reviews saved the torque wrench that I purchased to put the hitch on….I surely would have tried to use it to take the bolts off. A review educated me on the fact that a torque wrench is used to tighten, not loosen. Don’t make the mistake I did and purchased a $49 one from Home Depot, then a $79 from Lowes; neither could loosen the bolts. Served as a great example of getting exactly what you paid for, so I have no complaints about the cheaper models not being able to undo the bolts. I finally got one for about $135.00 from Sears, you get what you pay for. And I know someone is going to say he/she did it with a regular wrench/socket.

You definitely should get a 2nd person to help. This is what worked for me. I placed the hitch just under the vehicle in the mounting position. I tied a rope to the circular ends. I raised and tied off the driver’s side, half way between the ground and the undercarriage. I hoisted the passenger side up and over the muffler, then tightened. I then went back to the other side and brought it up closer to the body. If you put it too close at the start, you will not have enough play to get the other side up and over the muffler. I started with the bolts on the driver’s side, enough to safely secure it, but plenty of play to adjust the hitch. Then I did the same thing for the passenger side. I placed all but one bolt on the passenger side. When looking up at the hitch, I am referring to the side bolt closer to front. Not the one facing the ground, the one facing the side panel. I fought with trying to get that thing on for an eternity. There are two hoses in the way, but a zip tie finally secured them out the way. To make a long story short, I got the 2nd hand, my wife. She convinced me to start over and start with that difficult bolt first. Problem solved. Having left the ropes tied made it that much easier to start over. I did hold in place while she threaded the bolts, so another person is still advisable. At the end, you just untie the rope and slip it off.

I have already used the hitch and it works great.

Putting back the cover on the passenger’s side required no cutting. I would definitely recommend doing that at the minimum to protect the hoses. I have a 2010, so maybe there is a slight difference in models making cutting a requirement. The Driver’s side is another story. In summary, cut the cut-out large enough to get over the hitch. Then cut the back of it so it can go over the hitch. Then secure cut portion with a zip tie. Now you are cutting so you can get over the back end only. Think of it as cutting a rubber band, placing it over, then using tape to put back together. There are separate bolts at the back end to secure each part to the undercarriage. Nothing will dangle even if you don’t use a zip tie. Hope this helps as other reviews helped me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2013
Got this for my 2010 Toyota Highlander Hybrid and had the help of my brother, who is a mechanic. Install took maybe 30 minutes total from start to clean up. We didn't use the jack or have issues with bolts/sides not lining up easily. We started on the passenger side. He screwed in a couple bolts loosely on that side then switched to the driver side. Then we tightened them, alternating sides. I held the hitch roughly in place while he put the screws in. Maybe 1 person could do it but 2 people will definitely make it easier and quicker.

I also like that this hitch has the bar going OVER the muffler and not under. I just don't like the way it looks when it's under - I've seen them on other cars and it probably also lowers the clearance of your vehicle from the road by having that bar under like that. What if you ran over something like a large rock and it just hit that stupid bar because it went under your muffler and not over? You never know.

Overall, I'm very happy with the purchase. Easy install and no issues using the hitch yet. I've only stuck a bike rack in it but it seems like a solid hitch. Inexpensive and great quality for being made in USA. That's kind of crazy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2013
Amazon says that this hitch will not fit a 2013 Highlander SE. The goods news that it fits perfectly. This is a top quality hitch and in my opinion looks much better than the stock Toyota model. I had a friend to help with the installation, and think it would be difficult to install alone. The tolerance is precise and it helps to lift both ends together to start all the bolts before the final tightening. Here are a few things to consider that might help:

Both plastic protective covers can be replaced. Only a small piece of the driver side needs to be cut out. Don’t cut too much. A half inch down the right side works. I used a utility knife and steel square.

If you lower the spare tire on its steel cable to the ground and push it towards the front of the car it will give you more room to work. There is no need to disconnect.

I ordered the Curt T-Connector 56034 and installed with no problems. The 10 amp Micro-Fuse that is supplied will not work. Pull one of the other 10 amp fuses and you can see the difference. Also there is a hole in the car body behind the driver wheel well, sealed with a plastic cap. It is a great place to run the wires back to the hitch.

Also check out the ball mounts at HD. I found a 2 inch Reese ball mount with a 7000 capacity with a 1/2 drop that I think looks and works great.

Good luck and happy towing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The hitch fits well and was easy to install. I installed it by myself without a lift. I supported the driver side end of the hitch by a jack stand and screwed bottom bolts on the passenger side first all the way in, but not fully tightened. On the driver side the hole closest to the bumper aligned perfectly and I screwed a bolt there, but the other two holes did not align, so I used the scissor jack trick described by others (putting a scissor jack between the spare tire and the left hitch plate to move it in place) to align all holes. I inserted and fully tightened all bolts from the bottom and then two side bolts on the passenger side. I also installed CURT Manufacturing 21728 2 In. Black Rubber Tube Cover with 4-Flat Holder to cover the receiver hole. I tested that the spare tire can be removed. It took me about an hour from start to finish, and this was my first hitch install. Interestingly, my 2009 highlander did not have under bumper panels to remove and to reinstall.

I took one star off because of packaging. The box was ripped exposing the receiver and one outer corner of the square opening was scratched to the metal (I can fix it with touch up paint, but why should anyone? Or Curt should include touch up paint in the box.). I am surprised that after so many complaints Curt has not redesigned packaging to protect their product better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2012
I read the instructions and some of the reviews, plus I watch the youtube.com video (very good) for this. I installed one bolt on the passenger side and then tried to put a bolt on the driver's side - couldn't do it. I undid the one on the passenger side and then put the bolts in for the driver's side and didn't have any more problems -- I could install it on the passenger side, no problems. But you will need someone else to hold it up while you get the first bolts in.

One more point ... the video I watch for the Highlander 2008 removes the underbody panels for both sides, but then re-installs only the passenger side. You can re-install the driver's side, but you have cut out a larger hole. Once you do that you can re-install it. That is on the instructions that came with the hitch.

One even more point ... the video for my make and model car didn't have some hoses that were in my way for the two upper bolts -- maybe it was the Sport edition. But installation wasn't a problem around the hoses.

No review for the hitch itself - I just installed it and I'll have to see how it goes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2013
I just installed this hitch reviver on my 2008 Highlander. What an irritating experience! It barely fitted. Welded crooked, the screw holes off by as much as 1/2". It took a crow bar, two jack lifts and an hour of swearing to force it on. I thought I just got a lemon unit... but then I proceeded to trim the under body mud protectors according to included instructions. To my dismay, the recommended cut was too wide on one side, not wide enough on the other. For Christ's sake, how difficult can it be to measure this properly!? The recommended trim on the picture is off by two inches! Sloppiness all around! And to top it off, they proudly slap a sticker on this junk "Made in the US". Scheme on you Curt Manufacturing.... Chinese would do a better job.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2011
I'm quite happy with the end result, and product. It was relatively easy to install - but beware - you need two people. One person to hold the hitch in place while you attach two bolts. Once I got two in place, everything else was easy enough to put into place. The product seems to be high quality - I'll have to update this review when I start lugging things around.

One comment on the packaging - this product is clearly meant to ship directly to autobody/installer shops. The packaging is basically the hitch in a box, no foam. The fedex guys weren't so gentle when they delivered to my door. The box was pretty banged up, but there wasn't any noticeable damage to the hitch.
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