Can installing a hitch ruin your car’s electrical system?

Recently, I’ve been hoping to install a trailer hitch onto my SUV so I can put a bike rack on the back. I’m planning on taking it to a mechanic to have it installed, but before I do, is there any way that installing a hitch could ruin my car’s electrical system?

Jason Crosby · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
Installing a hitch onto your car can only ruin your car’s electrical system if wiring is installed incorrectly. You’re on the right track by taking your vehicle to a mechanic to have the wiring done. For a bike rack, you don’t need trailer lights—but if you’re planning on towing a trailer or camper, it’s wise to go ahead and have the wiring done, just in case.
One of the reasons that many worry a trailer hitch could ruin their car is because there are occasional horror stories of cars’ electrical systems wigging out because of a wiring job gone wrong. This is a prime example of why it’s best to have a professional perform the work. And if you’ve purchased a new vehicle, take it to the dealership to have it worked on. That way you won’t be voiding any vehicle warranties that could leave you with hefty out-of-pocket repair bills in the future.
Another one of the ways that brake light wiring for a trailer hitch could ruin your car’s electrical system is if the wires that have been installed aren’t properly grounded, meaning your system isn’t a closed, insulated circuit. It’s also possible that wires can become corroded, frayed, or even chewed through by rodents or other animals.
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