Subaru Outback Hitch Installation: The Ultimate Guide for Easy Setup

  • Post category:Guide & Tips
  • Post published:July 24, 2023
  • Post last modified:August 20, 2023
  • Post author:
  • Reading time:13 mins read
Subaru Outback

Installing a hitch on a Subaru Outback is a straightforward process that securely attaches the hitch to the vehicle’s frame. Following the manufacturer’s instructions and using the proper tools, you can easily install a hitch on your Subaru Outback to increase its towing capacity and versatility.

Subaru Outback owners looking to enhance their vehicle’s towing capabilities can easily install a hitch, which securely attaches to the vehicle’s frame. This installation involves following the manufacturer’s instructions and using the proper tools.

Understanding The Importance Of A Hitch On Your Subaru Outback

  • Increased towing capacity: With a hitch, you can safely and effectively tow trailers, boats, or other recreational vehicles. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities for your adventures, allowing you to bring along whatever you need without compromising safety or performance.
  •  Versatile cargo options: A hitch provides a secure and convenient attachment point for cargo carriers and bike racks. Whether you need to transport camping gear, bicycles, or even a cargo box, a hitch lets you quickly and securely secure these items in your vehicle.
  •  Enhanced off-road capabilities: A hitch-mounted recovery point can be a lifesaver for those who enjoy exploring off the beaten path. If your Subaru Outback gets stuck, a hitch provides a solid and reliable anchor point for recovery straps or winch cables.

Benefits Of Having A Hitch Installed

  • Convenience: With a hitch installed, you’ll have a dedicated attachment point for various accessories, saving you time and effort compared to alternative mounting options.
  •  Improved vehicle aesthetics: A hitch is designed to seamlessly integrate with your subaru outback’s rear end, enhancing its overall look without compromising functionality.
  •  Easy installation: Most modern hitch designs are relatively easy, allowing you to get on the road quickly and hassle-free. You can install a hitch quickly with the right tools and a little DIY spirit.
  •  Increased resale value: If you decide to sell or trade-in your Subaru outback in the future, having a hitch already installed can be an attractive selling point. Many potential buyers value the added versatility and convenience of a hitch.
  •  Peace of mind: Knowing you have a hitch installed on your Subaru outback gives you the confidence to take on any adventure. Whether you’re planning a cross-country road trip or heading off-road, having the ability to tow or carry additional gear safely provides peace of mind.

So why not take the plunge and unlock the full potential of your Subaru outback with a hitch installation?

Essential Tools Required For The Installation

Are you ready to install a hitch on your Subaru outback? Before you begin, ensure you have the necessary tools to ensure a smooth and successful installation. Here’s a detailed list of each tool you’ll need, along with a brief description of its purpose:

  • Socket wrench set: This versatile tool allows you to tighten or loosen bolts and nuts quickly. Make sure you have the appropriate socket sizes for the hitch installation.
  •  Torque wrench: A torque wrench is essential for achieving the proper torque specifications during installation. This ensures that the hitch is securely fastened to your Subaru outback.
  •  Wire brush: Use a wire brush to clean the mounting points and any rusty or rough surfaces before installing the hitch. This ensures a strong and durable attachment.
  •  Drill: Sometimes, you may need to drill holes for the hitch installation. Choose a suitable drill bit size according to the hitch manufacturer’s instructions.
  •  Center punch: A center punch is used to create a small indentation on the drilling point, preventing the drill bit from slipping and ensuring accurate hole placement.
  •  Safety glasses: Protect your eyes from debris, metal shavings, or any other potential hazards during installation. Safety should always be a priority.
  •  Measuring tape: Use a measuring tape to determine the required distances for drilling or positioning the hitch. This ensures proper alignment and fitment.
  •  Marker or chalk: Marking the drilling points or other important measurements with a marker or chalk helps you stay organized and ensures accuracy throughout the installation.
  •  Ratchet straps: Ratchet straps are helpful for temporarily securing the hitch in place during installation. They provide additional support and stability, making the process easier.
  •  Lubricant: Applying lubricant to bolts, nuts, and other fasteners can make installing them easier and ensure smoother tightening. Opt for a suitable lubricant based on the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  •  Spirit level: A spirit level helps you confirm that the hitch is aligned correctly and level during installation. This ensures optimal towing performance and safety.

Now that you have an idea of the essential tools required for the installation, you can gather them before getting started. Having these tools handy will make the process more efficient and less stressful. So, let’s dive in and get your subaru outback equipped with a hitch!

Preparing Your Subaru Outback For Hitch Installation

Before you begin the hitch installation process for your Subaru outback, it is important to prepare your vehicle properly. You can ensure a successful and safe installation by inspecting the rear bumper and undercarriage and ensuring your vehicle meets the hitch installation requirements.

Let’s take a closer look at these key steps:

Inspecting Your Vehicle’S Rear Bumper And Undercarriage

  • Check for any damage or corrosion on the rear bumper and undercarriage, which could impact the installation process.
  •  Make note of any existing trailer wiring or hitch components that may already be installed on your outback.
  •  Ensure sufficient space and clearance around the rear bumper area to accommodate the hitch installation.

Ensuring Your Vehicle Meets The Hitch Installation Requirements

  • Verify the maximum towing capacity of your Subaru outback to determine the suitable hitch class for your needs.
  •  Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for specific instructions and guidelines for hitch installation.
  •  Choose a hitch compatible with your Outback’s model year and trim level.
  •  If your Outback has additional features, such as a rear-view camera or parking sensors, ensure that the hitch installation will not interfere with their normal functioning.
  •  It is recommended to consult with a professional installer or refer to Subaru’s official guidelines before proceeding with the hitch installation if you have any doubts.

Step-By-Step Subaru Outback Hitch Installation Process

Exploring The Different Types Of Hitches Available For Subaru Outback

Choosing the right hitch is crucial for towing with your Subaru Outback. Several types of hitches are available, each with its own advantages. Let’s explore them:

  • Receiver hitch: This is the most common and versatile option for Subaru outbacks. It consists of a square receiver tube that mounts to the rear frame of the vehicle. Receiver hitches are available in various classes, depending on their towing capacity.
  •  Towing hitch: A towing hitch is the way to go if you need to tow heavier loads. These hitches are specifically designed to handle larger trailers and higher towing capacities. Towing hitches often have a weight distribution system to help evenly distribute the load.
  •  Fifth wheel hitch: Ideal for hauling heavy RVs or horse trailers, fifth wheel hitches are mounted in the bed of the truck rather than at the rear. They provide excellent stability and maneuverability when towing large loads.
  •  Gooseneck hitch: Similar to fifth wheel hitches, gooseneck hitches are also designed for heavy-duty towing. They are installed on trucks with a gooseneck ball that extends out from the bed. Gooseneck hitches provide a high towing capacity and is commonly used for horse trailers and gooseneck RVs.

Removing The Rear Bumper Cover For Better Accessibility

You may need to remove the rear bumper cover to install a hitch on your Subaru outback properly. This will provide better accessibility and ensure a secure installation. Here are the steps involved:

  • Locate the fasteners: Identify the fasteners securing the rear bumper cover in place. These are typically underneath the vehicle and may be screws, clips, or bolts.
  •  Remove the fasteners: Using the appropriate tools, carefully remove the fasteners one by one. Keep track of each fastener and set them aside in a safe place for reinstallation later.
  •  Release any retaining clips: Some bumper covers may have retaining clips that need to be released before the cover can be removed. Gently pry these clips with a flathead screwdriver or a trim removal tool.
  •  Disconnect any electrical connectors: Depending on your vehicle’s features, electrical connectors may be attached to the bumper cover. Carefully disconnect these connectors, taking note of their positions for reconnection later.
  •  Remove the bumper cover: Once all the fasteners, retaining clips, and electrical connectors are detached, carefully pull the bumper cover away from the vehicle. Be cautious not to damage any other components or sensors in the process.

Removing the rear bumper cover gives you better access to install the hitch securely and ensure a proper fit. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions specific to your hitch model and always prioritize safety throughout the installation process.

Proper Wiring For Your Subaru Outback Hitch

If you plan to install a hitch on your Subaru outback for towing purposes, it’s essential to understand the wiring process. Proper wiring ensures that your trailer’s lights and signals work correctly and keeps you and other drivers safe on the road.

Importance Of Wiring For Towing Purposes

Proper wiring for your Subaru outback hitch is crucial for a smooth and safe towing experience. Here are the key reasons why wiring is important:

  • Safety: Wiring allows your trailer’s lights, turn signals, and brake lights to work in sync with your vehicle’s lights, making it easier for other drivers to see your intentions on the road.
  •  Legal compliance: Many countries and states have laws that require trailers to have operational lights. Proper wiring ensures that you are compliant with these regulations.
  •  Convenience: With properly wired lights, you can easily check if your trailer’s lights are working before hitting the road, saving you from potential headaches and hassles during your journey.

Now that we understand why wiring is important, let’s take a look at the wiring process for your subaru outback hitch.

Understanding The Wiring Process For Your Hitch Installation

Installing a hitch on your Subaru outback involves several steps, including wiring. Here’s an overview of the wiring process:

  • Identify the wiring interface: Your Subaru outback may have a wiring interface designed explicitly for hitch installation. This interface allows for easily connecting your trailer’s lights to your vehicle’s electrical system.
  •  Choose the right wiring harness: To ensure compatibility with your subaru outback, you’ll need to select the appropriate wiring harness for your specific model and year. These harnesses are designed to integrate with your vehicle’s existing wiring system seamlessly.
  •  Connect the wiring harness: Once you have the correct wiring harness, you can connect it to your subaru outback’s wiring interface. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation, ensuring all connections are secure and protected from moisture and debris.
  •  Test the lights: After wiring the harness, it’s crucial to test your trailer’s lights to ensure they function correctly. Check all the lights, including headlights, turn signals, brake lights, and reverse lights, to confirm that they work as intended.
  •  Secure wiring and protect it: To prevent damage and ensure the longevity of your wiring, make sure to secure it properly using zip ties or electrical tape. Additionally, consider using protective tubing to shield the wiring from hazards such as road debris or sharp edges.

Safety Tips And Post-Installation Considerations

When it comes to installing a hitch on your Subaru outback, safety should be your top priority. To ensure that your hitch is installed correctly and secure, follow these key points:

  • Position the hitch correctly: Before installation, position the hitch in the correct location, aligning it with the pre-drilled holes on your Subaru outback. This will ensure a proper fit and avoid any unnecessary adjustments later on.
  •  Tighten the bolts securely: Use the appropriate tools to tighten the bolts that secure the hitch to your Subaru outback. Ensure they are tightened to the recommended torque specifications to prevent movement or potential damage while towing.
  •  Double-check the wiring: If your hitch includes wiring for trailer lights, ensure the connections are secure and functioning properly. This will help you maintain good visibility and safety while towing.
  •  Test the hitch’s stability: After installation, give the hitch a gentle shake to test its stability. If it feels loose or wobbles, recheck the bolts and connections to ensure everything is tightened properly.

Tips For Maintaining And Caring For Your Subaru Outback Hitch

To keep your subaru outback hitch in optimal condition and ensure its longevity, consider these key points for maintenance and care:

  • Regular cleaning: Remove any dirt, dust, or debris from your hitch, especially in the receiver tube area. This will prevent any buildup that could affect the hitch’s performance and cause rust or corrosion over time.
  •  Lubricate moving parts: Apply a suitable lubricant to moving parts, such as the hitch receiver and trailer ball, to reduce friction and ensure smooth operation. Regular lubrication will also help prevent rust and prolong the lifespan of your hitch.
  •  Inspect for damage: Periodically inspect your subaru outback hitch for any signs of damage or wear. Look for cracks, dents, or loose components, and address any issues immediately to prevent further damage and ensure safe towing.
  •  Consider weather protection: If your hitch is frequently exposed to the elements, consider using a weatherproof cover or applying a protective coating to prevent rust and corrosion caused by rain, snow, or road salt.
  •  Follow weight capacity guidelines: Adhere to the guidelines specific to your hitch model and Subaru outback. Overloading your hitch can cause damage to your vehicle and compromise your safety on the road.


Installing a hitch on your Subaru outback is a practical and convenient way to enhance its versatility and functionality. Whether you’re planning a family vacation, going on a weekend camping trip, or need extra space for carrying bulky items, a hitch can significantly expand your vehicle’s hauling capabilities.

The installation process is relatively straightforward, and you can easily complete it at home with the proper tools and instructions. By adding a hitch to your subaru outback, you can tow trailers, attach bike racks, or mount cargo carriers.

Upgrade your Subaru outback today and unlock its full potential with a hitch installation.