Most helpful positive review
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Fits like a glove
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.