How to Install a Trailer Hitch on Your Subaru Forester: A DIY Guide for Car Enthusiasts

Subaru Foresters are versatile vehicles, perfect for both city and outdoor activities. And, if you want to take your outdoor activities to the next level, adding a trailer hitch is a must. A trailer hitch is an easy and affordable way to expand your car’s capabilities, allowing you to tow a trailer or carry cargo. In this DIY guide, we will show you how to install a hitch on your Subaru Forester, step-by-step, so you can save money on installation and improve your car’s versatility.

Tools and Equipment Needed

Before you start the installation, make sure you have all the necessary tools and equipment. Here’s what you will need:

  • Trailer hitch kit (compatible with a Subaru Forester)
  • Wrench set (metric size)
  • Socket set (metric size)
  • Torque wrench
  • Masking tape
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Measuring tape
  • Safety glasses
  • Rust remover (optional)


  1. Remove the Spare Tire

Before you start working under the car, remove the spare tire to make room for yourself. To remove the tire, use your wrench and loosen the lug nuts.

  1. Clean the Mounting Area

Take a close look at the mounting area where the hitch will attach. If there is any rust or debris, clean it with rust remover and remove any dirt or grease. You want the area to be clean and rust-free to ensure a solid connection between the hitch and the car.

  1. Measure and Tape the Mounting Holes

Using the measuring tape, measure and mark the location of the mounting holes on the bumper, to ensure proper alignment of the trailer hitch. Then, apply masking tape over the marks to keep them visible.

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  1. Attach the Brackets to the Hitch

Align the brackets with the pre-drilled holes on the hitch and install them using the bolts, nuts, and washers provided in the trailer hitch kit.

  1. Attach the Hitch to the Car Frame

With the help of a friend, hold the trailer hitch in position and connect it to the car frame using the bolts, nuts, and washers provided in the kit. Tighten the bolts and nuts with the torque wrench, as instructed in the kit’s manual.

  1. Cut a Hole in the Bumper

If your trailer hitch requires a hole in the bumper, use the drill and drill bits provided in the kit to make the hole. Make sure to follow the instructions in the kit’s manual to get the right size and position of the hole.

  1. Test the Hitch

After completing the installation, test the hitch by applying a small amount of pressure to make sure it’s secure and stable.

Troubleshooting Tips

  • If you encounter any difficulty during the installation, consult the manual provided with the kit.
  • If the holes do not align properly, use your wrench to loosen the bolts and reposition the hitch.
  • If you encounter any rust or debris while installing the hitch, use rust remover to clean the area.

Safety Precautions

  • Wear safety glasses throughout the installation to protect your eyes
  • Avoid working on your car when it’s on a slope or uneven ground
  • Keep a first aid kit nearby in case of any injuries
  • Make sure to properly torque the bolts and nuts as instructed in the manual to ensure a safe and secure connection.
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  1. What is the towing capacity of a Subaru Forester?

The towing capacity of a Subaru Forester varies depending on the year and model. For the 2012 Forester, the towing capacity is around 2,400 lbs.

  1. What is the maximum tongue weight for a Subaru Forester hitch?

The maximum tongue weight for a Subaru Forester hitch is typically around 200 lbs.

  1. Can I install a trailer hitch on my Subaru Forester myself?

Yes, you can install a trailer hitch on your Subaru Forester yourself, provided that you have the proper tools and equipment and follow all safety precautions and instructions carefully.

  1. How long does it take to install a hitch on a Subaru Forester?

The installation time can vary depending on your experience and the complexity of the kit you’re installing, but it typically takes around 1-2 hours to install a hitch on a Subaru Forester.

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Billy Covington

With a passion for all things automotive, Billy is our go-to expert on Subaru performance upgrades and modifications. He's been featured in several car magazines and blogs, and his extensive knowledge and expertise make him a valuable member of our team. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys playing guitar and writing music.

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