I just bought a 13 foot aluminum boat and trailer and I need to add a
trailer hitch to my 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe 3.5L. I have never owned a boat
or trailer before.
I'm going to check with a Hyundai dealership and I guess a few boat/marina
stores for info on what to do, how it is done, etc.
But, I thought I'd also check here for any help on info anyone may be able
to provide. I would also be curious about how much something like this
Assuming you don't want to do it yourself you might want to check with a
U Haul as the one's in my area will install a hitch for less then a
dealer. Also look in the yellow pages under trailer hitches. After you
get the hitch go to an empty parking lot and practice backing for 1/2 an
hour and you will be good to go.
Thanks. Yes, I do not want to do it myself.
I'm looking in the Yellow Pages now under "trailer hitches" and see U-Haul
places as well as places that only sell and service trailers. I guess a
trailer-only place is what I want. In the ads, I see something called a
Draw-Tite trailer hitch advertised which I am hoping means a hitch that
doesn't stick out far from the back of the vehicle.
And, yes, I will be doing some backup practice. I only had to back the
trailer up one time so far (using a different vehicle) and it was amazing
how complicated it seemed. But, I'm sure I'll learn it and figure it out.
Draw-Tite is a brand. It won't stick out much if you pull the hitch out of
the receiver when you're not using it.
It's a snap. Just remember that you do everything backwards with a two
wheel trailer. Start out right from the beginning, and practice backing up
using your mirrors. Learn to do that from the start and you'll never regret
it. Set out some plastic cones or some other obstruction that you don't
have to worry about damaging (or damaging your trailer or your vehicle), and
go at it. You'll quickly learn how to set up your turn by the way you pull
past the place you want to back into, how to back up to your blind side,
etc. It's just a practice makes perfect thing. It's more intuitive than
you might first think, so just get out there and try it.
Ditto on the hitches.
Backing up - saw a neat video I don't hace hte link for but here goes.
I'm assuming you don't have a stack of plastic cones around. There is
one part I don't remember so you will have to work it out but that is
easy and you will remember it better.
1. go find a big empty parking lot that is striped for parking.
Schools are usually good on weekends.
2. Adjust your mirrors so you can just see the ground by the rear or
wheel in the trailer.
3. pull forward next to a long straight line like a centerline on the
driveway or the division line between rows of cars.
4. Line up the wheel on the line.
5. Put your hand on the top of your steering wheel and watch the
mirrors. Slowly back up. As the trailer starts to swing it will get
bigger in one mirror and smaller in the other. (here is the part
that I was going to work out my self.) As you move your hand to
correct the swing you will either push the trailer into one mirror or
out of the other with your hand on top of the wheel. Figure out which
one and then you will know. ;-)
Small corrections make big differences so take it slow.
If you get too far off pull forward to straighten out.
it helps a lot if you take somebody else along to watch for other
folks getting in the way, etc.
The basic trick is to always put your hand at the same place and watch
the mirror. hand might be top or bottom. Mirror might be push in one
or out of other. I was watching a thing from Britain so it was right
hand drive and is probably backward from the rest of the world but
once you work it out you will always have the skill. I need a trailer
to practice with but I don't have one right now. ;-) If I did I
would give you better directions.
I was taught to "break, then follow". Meaning you have to steer in the
opposite direction that you would in backing a single vehicle, then once the
trailer is pointed in the right direction you steer to follow it making
corrections as needed.
I still recall my first effort at backing an empty boat trailer. Nothing I
did seemed to work so I finally got out and lifted the trailer and moved it
over by hand a foot at a time. Aside from embarrassment, it gave me
determination to learn how to do it right. With practice I could drive a
trailer backward across country if need be.
As stated by northermark, put you hand on top of the wheel and go slow.
Thanks all for the info.
About the trailer hitch:
After going to a lot of places, I found that the boating/marine stores know
almost nothing and just refer their customers to a trailer or trailer hitch
company in their area. I didn't go to a dealership. One company that only
sells and services trailers will do the complete trailer hitch installation
(including parts, labor, electrical connections) for $228. One
boating/marine store referred me to a company that only does trailer hitches
and their charge was about $320. U-Haul seemed the most clueless and wanted
around $350 when all of the "extras" (like the electrical hookup) were added
I haven't done the backup practice yet, but I'm sure it will be fun. I did
see somewhere where someone suggested holding the bottom of the steering
wheel instead of the top while backing up, so I'll see what that's about
while doing the practice backups.
wrote in message
If you put your hand on the bottom of the wheel the trailer will
initially go in the direction of your hand - if you move your hand to
the left the trailer will begin going to the left. If your hand is at
the top the opposite is true - moving your hand to the right the trailer
will go left. Once the trailer has started to turn you need to reverse
the direction of the steering wheel to avoid "jack-knifing" or having
the trailer and tow vehicle forming a sharp V -- not good. I'm sure
with the good advice you've received that you will do just fine. Of
course you need to remember to set you parking brake and if possible
block your wheels when launching as there aren't too many worse ways to
ruin an outing then having you vehicle follow your boat into the water.
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