Wednesday, May 16, 2007

U-Haul hitch

I just got a hitch installed on my Nissan Sentra. Not to tow anything (the car is utterly incapable of that). But to be able to attach a bike rack to the back of the car. I don't really trust those things with straps that attach to the trunk. Using the roof rack wasn't an option either. Lifting the bike to the roof might be OK for me, but not for my wife. The hitch looked like ideal solution.

So I asked at U-Haul ("the hitch experts"). They said no problem. We have a hitch that fits your car and we'll need about an hour to install it. It seemed OK. I actually expected them to finish in less than half an hour for something as simple as needing 8 bolts and nuts to attach.

Well, it ended up that custom made for my car hitch doesn't use existing holes for stabilizer bar. The holes Nissan put there specifically for attaching the hitch. Yes, Nissan Sentra comes from factory with holes for hitch installation. In case you wondered what those two holes under the spare tire are for. They needed to drill new holes using totally dull drilling bit. It took them well over half an hour just to drill those holes. Hm, probably closer to an hour. Total installation time was 3 and a half hours. For 8 bolts and nuts. It would probably be longer if it wasn't for me helping the technician towards the end. With my help, he got the last four bolts tightened in 5 minutes flat.

It's partly me to blame for not asking up front if drilling is required for the hitch they sell. Although I have a feeling nobody at U-Haul would be able to answer that question, and would probably told me it isn't required. They didn't know that they'll need to drill until they actually lifted the car and started installation. There were couple of other brands of good quality hitches available for ordering online, some of them specifically stated "no drilling required" in description. I should have went with one of those and installed it myself. Or paid local mechanic to install it.

Oh well... Lesson learned for the next time I need a hitch.

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