Hitch Step Buyer’s Guide
- One possible problem when hauling cargo to and from the truck bed is the high ground clearance, which can be easily solved with a hitch step.
- A hitch step is attached to your vehicle’s hitch receiver and can be used to provide an extra step that makes it easier to access your truck bed or compartment.
- Any large vehicle will benefit from a hitch step including SUVs and MPVs.
- A hitch step can provide several other benefits to your vehicle like providing an extra layer of protection to your bumper or complementing its exterior appearance.
- Aftermarket hitch steps come in various materials, finishes, styles, features, and installation designs. Be sure to consider them before making a purchase.
- Typically, an aftermarket hitch step will cost you anywhere between $50 and $270.
There are tons of benefits in owning a truck. It has both power and size, making it ideal for several applications that you won’t be able to tackle using a regular sedan. You can use your pickup truck for off-road driving and towing trailers or boats. With a truck bed, your truck is also more than capable of transporting heavy goods or cargoes. The only drawback when it comes to hauling things to and from a truck bed is the high ground clearance, which makes the loading and unloading more difficult. Fortunately, this problem can be easily solved with the help of a hitch step.
What is a hitch step?
A hitch step is a device that is used to create an extra step beneath the truck’s rear bumper. Its main purpose is to make sure you can easily access the truck bed when loading and unloading cargo in the truck bed. It is attached to your vehicle’s hitch receiver and comes in a variety of styles, shapes, and finishes.
Who needs a truck hitch step?
Anyone with a large vehicle can benefit from using a hitch step. It doesn’t have to be a pickup truck. Crossovers, SUVs, and MPVs can be installed with a hitch step as long as they have a hitch receiver. Once installed, this device can make the access to your vehicle’s trunk a breeze. It is especially helpful if you always use your compartment to haul gear, luggage, or other items.
Benefits of a tow hitch step
Whether you own a truck or SUV, life as a large vehicle owner can be easier with the help of a hitch step. By simply giving you a boost when accessing your truck bed or compartment, tasks like hauling heavy cargo can be done in a better and more efficient way. But aside from this, there are several other benefits that you can get from installing a hitch step. Here are some of them:
Allows you to easily reach the roof rack
Vehicles with higher ground clearance than regular cars make it a pain to store and secure items on the roof rack. With a hitch step, your reach will be extended since there’s an extra step that you can use to get to the roof rack. This will also allow you to have a more comfortable and stable position when loading and unloading cargo, which helps prevent any accident or injury when doing such a task.
Removes snow from your vehicle’s roof won’t be a problem
In some states, it is illegal to drive your vehicle with snow on the roof. If you don’t want to get pulled over by the authorities, make sure to regularly remove ice or snow on the roof of your ride. This task can be a pain if you don’t have a hitch step installed. A hitch step will allow you to see and reach the top of your vehicle and make cleaning more convenient.
Provides another layer of protection to your bumper
The hitch step can also provide protection to your bumper in case of a fender bender. If you are rear-ended by another vehicle, this component will be hit first since it extends beyond the bumper. This can save the rear end of your vehicle from any dents or dings. It can also prevent any damage to your bumper in case you make a parking miscalculation and hit a wall or an object when you are backing up your truck or SUV.
Complements the look of your vehicle
A hitch step can also be used as an embellishment to your vehicle’s exterior. With so many shapes, designs, and colors available, you can surely find one that can complement the look of your ride.
Things to consider when looking for an aftermarket receiver hitch step
If you don’t want to spend your hard-earned money on the wrong component, you might want to take your time when looking for an aftermarket hitch step. You should also consider the following factors before you make a purchase.
Material and Finishes
Aftermarket hitch steps are usually made from heavy-duty steel or aluminum. This allows them to have the durability and capacity to carry your weight when loading and unloading cargoes. Having such high-strength material also prevents the hitch step from incurring damage from low-impact collisions.
Hitch steps also come in various finishes like powder coating and chrome to protect them from harmful elements that can cause rust and corrosion. Choosing the right finish is also crucial if you want your hitch step to accentuate the appearance of your vehicle.
Style and Features
Aside from materials and finishes, hitch steps also offer different styles and features. Some have a tubular design that has a rubber step for a more secure footing. Others look like a running board that offer a wider area to step on with metal threads to improve grip. There are also folding hitch steps or flip-down steps that provide a steady platform raised at a relatively lower height that you can step on. You can also find aftermarket hitch steps with built-in LED lights, which can help improve your vehicle’s visibility at night.
Installing a hitch step shouldn’t be too complicated. Most hitch steps available in the market today employ a no-drilling installation design. This means that you can easily attach one to your vehicle’s hitch receiver and secure it using a mounting hardware such as a pin and lock as well as brackets and fasteners. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time installing a hitch step or hire a professional to do it for you, make sure to get one that has an easy-to-install design.
How much is an aftermarket hitch step?
You can typically get an aftermarket hitch step for a price that falls anywhere between $50 and $270. It is often available as a single component, in sets of two, or as a kit. If you want to further protect yourself, you should buy a product that is backed by a brand warranty.
Additionally, you can use our website’s vehicle selector to speed up your search for the right parts and accessories. All you need to do is to plug in your vehicle’s year, make, and model to narrow down the search results to components that fit your ride.
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.