Choosing the Right Hitch Step
A hitch step is a piece of equipment that makes it easy to step up into the bed of your truck, which is usually not easily accessible due to its elevation from the ground. Paired with a towing ball mount, it lets a vehicle owner tow a trailer, boat or camper. In any case, in selecting the right hitch step, there are a few factors to consider. If you're planning to use it tow equipment, you have to know your vehicle's towing capacity and the total weight of the load you're planning to haul. Add excess capacity as allowance, and you're on your way to choosing the right hitch step for your car.
Besides the usual hitch step, a hitch step paired with a ball mount is also available. The hitch step and ball mount combo is very useful as it lets you tow your trailer without removing the step.
Determining the right type of hitch step
If you are going to use the hitch step to tow equipment, it is good to weigh your load beforehand to determine which one you should purchase. It is advisable to do some research beforehand-the type of hitch step you should use depends on your vehicle type and the total weight of your load, plus a few pounds as allowance.
Some basic features to consider when buying a new hitch step are:
- Easy installation and removal
- Ability to support the gross trailer weight
- The material it is made of, which is preferably stainless steel
As hitch steps are designed to be durable enough to withstand the great pressure of trailer loads exerted on them, warranty usually lasts up to 3 years-some manufacturers even offer a 50,000-mile warranty.
Other features to look for
It is standard for hitch steps to have no-slip treaded material as their step pad, so make sure the one you are going to buy has this feature. Easy installation, as well as removal-you might not want it to interfere when parking your vehicle?is a must. Some aesthetic aspects to consider are hitch style, finish, and color, so choose one that best fits your taste. A number of hitch steps are designed to be unobtrusive and can be hidden under your bumper. You might want to consider this, if you don't want to have to attach and take off your hitch step every now and then.
How to Install a Hitch Step
As most trucks have beds that are a step higher than the ground, a ladder-type assembly is needed to access the rear of the truck. A hitch step allows you to access the bed of your truck safely and conveniently. A hitch step and ball mount combo additionally gives you the ability to tow a trailer.
It is usually a very durable piece of material, but because it carries a great amount of load, it will eventually give in to physical damage. Even hitch steps made of high-grade aluminum alloy can give out if the owner makes the mistake of placing a load that is beyond the hitch step's weight capacity. We have put together a quick DIY guide to installing a replacement hitch step.
Difficulty level: Easy
Tools that you'll need:
- Mechanic's gloves
- Adjustable wrench
Step 1: Know the desired tow capacity beforehand. Use a commercial scale to measure the gross full-load trailer weight. This weight, along with the vehicle type, will determine the type of hitch step you need to use or the job, so make sure you have purchased the right one.
Step 2: Locate the hole of the step bumper, and push the shank of the tow ball into it. It should be a good fit, since the shank is almost the same size as the hole.
Step 3: Place the lock washer and nut on the stem of the ball hitch and tighten it using your hands. Using an adjustable wrench, tighten the nut down. This should press the lock washer down into place.
Most hitch steps fit into a standard 2" hitch receiver, but some drilling may be required if the bumper has been changed from stock to an aftermarket product. For safety reasons, do not exceed the tow rating of the hitch.