Last Updated on June 20, 2023 by Will Sabel
A Hitch installation on a car is a great decision. But it can become a little tricky when the car is a leased one. Then the dealership’s rules and regulations will be involved. And clearly, it won’t be simply your own decision to make. Now, can you install a hitch on a leased car or is it illegal to do so?
The answer is yes. You can install a hitch on a leased car without any problem unless the lease company has some issue with tow hitches. Also, you need to ensure fulfilling a few conditions if it’s allowed by the dealership. And so, you must check those terms and conditions from the agreement to be fully sure about the hitch installation.
There are some things to check if you figure out the installation is allowed. I would like to share those in this guide along with other information that one must know before actually installing a hitch on a leased car.
Even If It’s Allowed, Make Sure To Check These
Once you go through the terms and conditions to confirm the possibility of installing a hitch with the leaser’s permission, there are some other fact-checkings you still need to do.
1. If the tow hitch installation needs to cut a section on the car’s rear plastic bumper, you need to give it a second thought. Some modern cars may not require a big hole.
But a few would have a Grand Canyon size gap that looks too obvious. After removal, the hole being visible can create problems.
2. Always get a suitable tow hitch for the leased car. You want to check the trailer weight and the size of the car before deciding on the tow hitch class. A wrong class tow hitch can void the legal permission you have to use a hitch.
3. The removal of the hitch can get you in a liability issue if the dealer or lessor is aware of the installation. You need to plan for removal done by an authorized vendor, the leader, or the dealer to avoid problems.
4. The type of hitch you can install, and the location of the installation could be specified in the manual, don’t forget to give it a check.
5. And lastly, avoid over-accessorizing the vehicle. A hitch might be extremely necessary for your purpose of using the car but try to keep the overall mod done to the vehicle as low as possible.
According to RealCarTips, Leasing companies have a limit on the retail value they assign for each model. If you over-accessorize the vehicle, you're going to be paying for equipment that you'll only use for 3 or 4 years.
6. If you are going to use an aftermarket tow hitch, it’s best to confirm those are certified. Any hole drilling step required for installation may invite issues with the lease company.
Most companies don’t mind a specified number of wear-and-tear but drilled holes don’t fall under those. Also, try avoiding poor quality aftermarket options that come with too basic wiring loom as those damage the control unit of a car.
Can I Add a Bike Rack to a Leased Car?
Most lease companies would allow adding a bike rack to a leased car. But again, you should confirm that by checking the terms and conditions for acceptable modifications.
Also, if you are considering installing a hitch on a leased car for adding a bike rack (most people do) then be sure you need to. Because tons of bike racks available don’t require a hitch. I love the for the same benefit and not to mention how
And you can directly hang those on the back. Not to mention, these are quite secure to use. Also, you can try top racks if the leased car is allowed to have one on. The Thule ProRide XT Roof Bike Rack is a classic popular non-hitch bike rack that goes on top.
However, if you already have a bike rack that requires a hitch, then it’s a different story.
Alternatives to Hitch Installation For Leased Cars
Roof Racks: These are installed on the roof of the car and can carry bikes, kayaks, cargo, and other types of equipment. Roof racks don’t require any modifications to the vehicle’s structure.
Trunk-mounted bike racks: This type of racks attach to the trunk of the car and provide a way to transport bicycles without needing a hitch.
Interior cargo organizers: These are designed to keep items organized and secure inside the vehicle. They prevent the need for extra storage outside the car. They can be fitted easily and won’t damage the vehicle’s interior.
Suction-cup bike racks: Similar to roof racks, these racks use suction cups to attach to the roof of the car. These allow you to transport bikes without drilling holes or making other permanent modifications to the vehicle.
Tow Bar: Tow bars can be used to tow one vehicle behind another without the need for a hitch. You should check the weight limits and compatibility of the tow bar with the leased vehicle before use.
Rent a pickup truck or trailer: For occasional use, you could consider renting a pickup truck or trailer when you need to transport bulky items or equipment. This eliminates the need for installing a hitch on your leased car.
When considering any alternatives, you should always consult the terms of your lease agreement and ensure that any modifications to the vehicle are allowed by your lease company.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a leased vehicle?
A leased vehicle is a type of vehicle that is borrowed from a dealership for a specific period of time. After the lease agreement ends, the individual has the option to return the car or buy it outright. Note that, a leased car is not the same as an owned car.
Can you put wheels on a leased car?
Yes, you can put wheels on a leased car. However, most lease companies demand the vehicle to be returned in the condition when you first got it. So, returning to stock is still necessary when the lease time is up.
Is it possible for all leased cars to tow?
No, because some vehicles are not designed for towing and some are restricted from doing so by the dealership. Some dealerships don’t allow towing to protect the vehicle from added strain.
If it’s not allowed to install a hitch on a leased car, Is there any option for transporting bikes?
In this case, you can use a roof or trunk-mounted bike rack for transporting bikes. Because these types of racks attach to the trunk or roof of your car and don’t require a hitch to be installed.
What modifications can you make to a leased vehicle?
Temporary modifications are allowed to a leased vehicle. But keep in mind, the mods cannot be permanent. You have to undo all those before returning the vehicle.
Is a license mandatory to install a hitch on a leased car?
Yes, the license is mandatory to install a hitch on a leased car, to prove that you have taken help from a person who is an expert enough to not cause harm to the vehicle.
Can you attach a tow bar to a leased car?
You may add a tow bar to your leased vehicle during the rental period. But any modifications would require approval from your finance company. Before returning the car at the end of your agreement, you may need to remove the tow bar without causing any damage to the vehicle.
So, can you put a hitch on a leased car? I hope by now you have the answers along with a good idea of what else to take care of with hitch installation on a leased car.
I’ll be taking your leave for today. But I’m going to return with more hitch content soon, so stay tuned!
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