How to Install a Hitch on a Jeep Wrangler (YJ, TJ, Jk, JL)

Last Updated on March 15, 2023 by Will Sabel

The Jeep Wrangler is a series of compact and mid-size four-wheel drive off-road SUVs. The first generation of Jeep wrangler is known as YJ, the second generation is known as TJ, the third as JK, and the fourth as JL. 

You’ve come to the right place if you have a Jeep Wrangler and want to install a trailer hitch. I’ve described how to install a trailer hitch on all Jeep Wranglers in this article. Reading this article will give you some ideas on how to install a trailer hitch. 

This article will assist you regardless of what generation of Jeep Wrangler you own. Because I’ve covered hitch installation for all generations. The process of installing a trailer hitch is as follows.

Jeep Wrangler Hitch Installation

Jeep Wrangler YJ (1986-1995)

Jeep Wrangler YJ

1. Remove bumper 

You have to remove the rear bumper from your Jeep Wrangler to install a hitch. Most of the bumper is attached to the vehicle with two bolts on both sides of the Wrangler. Remove the bumper by unscrewing the bolts. 

2. Clean underneath bumper’s hole

The hitch is attached to the vehicle by five connections on each side. The fifth hitch installation connection point is placed beneath the bumper. You need to use a thread tap to clean that hole (connection point), which will remove all the rust.

3. Place the hitch and attach the hardware 

Lift the hitch and align it with the vehicle’s attachment points. To install the hitch you have to use five attachment points. The fifth attachment point for hitch installation is the hole that is located underneath the bumper. 

Take a bolt with a washer and take it through the hitch hole into the driver’s side.  Attach the bolt with flung nuts from the back side of the hole. The same procedure will repeat on the passenger side. By putting bolts on both sides, the hitch will remain attached to the vehicle and you will not need to hold it with your hand.

Attach the four remaining bolts to the place on both sides. One of them will be placed beneath the attachment point of the bumper. You have to attach the bolts loosely first. After ensuring the hitch is in the correct position you can tighten the bolts.

4. Tighten and torque 

After checking that the hardware is appropriately placed, tighten and torque the hardware according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Jeep Wrangler TJ (1996-2006)

1999 jeep tj sport

1. Remove the frame bolts

You have to remove the bolts that are existing on the frame rail on both driver and passenger sides. There are two attachment points that you have to remove. If your vehicle is older, it is recommended that you apply penetrating oil to loosen the nuts before removing them.

On both sides, there are two attachment points to hold the trailer hitch. One is on the rail’s underframe, while the other is on the side of the frame rail.

2. Clean the weld nuts

Depending on the extent of corrosion on the weld nuts, you may need to clean them with a wire brush.

3. Place the hitch with provided hardware

With the assistance of another person, grab the hitch and place it in the appropriate location, aligning the holes. Attach the provided nuts and tooth washers to the hitch on either side.

Move for the side fasteners after confirming that the weld nuts are keeping the hitch in place. You will need to use a handle nut to fasten the side bolt. Insert the handle nuts at an angle into the access hole and bottom of the frame rail, aligning the nut with the side mounting bolts. Insert a hex nut and a lock washer into the handle. For the opposing side, use the same procedure.

4. Tighten and torque 

After checking that the hardware is appropriately placed, tighten and torque the hardware according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

                Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-2018) & Jeep Wrangler JL (2018 – Present)

The trailer hitch installation for the Jeep Wrangler JK and JL is nearly identical. The difference is that some models require lowering the muffler and removing weld slag, while others do not.

1. Lower the muffler 

If the distance between the muffler and the cross member is less than three inches, the muffler must be lowered using exhaust removal pliers.

2. Remove weld slag

Some models have weld slag between the bumper and the cross member. Remove any weld slag from your Jeep before beginning installation.

3. Position the hitch 

Lift the hitch and align it with the crossmember’s hole.

4. Attach the hardware

The attachment holes are secured with four bolts. Each bolt includes a conical tooth washer. Make sure the tooth washer’s teeth are facing the hitch. Install all four bolts. After that, fasten the flange lock nuts. Utilize a wrench and sockets to tighten the nuts.

 5. Torque  the hardware 

After checking that the hardware is appropriately placed, torque the hardware according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.


Jeep Wrangler trailer hitch installation is very simple. Installing will take between 40 – 80 minutes, depending on your mechanical experience. It should be noted that you will need the assistance of another person to lift the hitch because it is heavy.

I’ve described the installation process of a trailer hitch for all generations above. I believe that anyone can learn a little bit about hitch installation for their Jeep Wrangler by reading this article.

Let’s have a look at our other hitch resources:

Author: Will Sabel

Will Sabel is an avid car enthusiast. When he's not writing for RidersWant, you'll find him cruising the country in a new car. People are always wondering how many cars he has!

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