Prius Receiver-Hitch

Last Updated: Sun. 8/05/2001



Purpose To allow you to carry bikes without having to sacrifice the ability to open & close the trunk.
Photos Photo Album 14  has 13 photos on it: 3 showing the hitch from behind, 4 close-ups showing the hitch from underneath and in front, and 6 showing a bike-rack holding my bike connected to the hitch.
Custom Built You can't buy a hitch for the Toyota Prius, since the car wasn't intended be used for towing anything. So I had to have one custom built.
Price $250 was the total cost. What I actually purchased was several hitch parts, and then I had them cut & welded together at a rate of $65 per hour.
Who & Where "Burnsville Trailer Hitch" in Burnsville, Minnesota built the hitch. They were fast, friendly, and quite helpful. I highly recommend them for any Prius owners in the area interested in getting a hitch. For the rest of you, bring these measurements and photos to your own local shop. Hopefully, it will be even easier for you than it was for me.
Dimensions Length  =  41 3/16"
Height  =  5 1/2"
Base (the part that bolts to the frame)  =  5 9/16"
Receptacle Length  =  6"
Receptacle Type  =  1 1/4"
Tongue Weight 300 Pounds is probably how much the hitch can hold. The smallest hitches (Class I) can hold 250 pounds. The hitch I had built is bigger, similar to some of the Class II type which can hold 350 pounds.
Muffler The end of the tail-pipe coming from the muffler had to be cut off, since it was just a little too long. It is now:  6 7/8".
Paint The paint on most hitches only lasts a few years. So repainting is required anyway. But since the exhausts now blows slightly on the hitch itself, you'll need to do it more often. Just brushing on a coat or two primer and gloss black paint will provide continued protection from rust. (I very strongly recommend brush-on paint rather than spray.)
Security Since the hitch is bolted to the frame of the car itself, you can easily secure your bikes to the car by just wrapping a cable-lock around the hitch.
Installation When a Prius is shipped from Japan, it is secured to the boat via connectors in the lower corners of the car. Those connectors are bolted directly to the frame. Having a hitch built to bolt into those same holes was a great way of being assured that a strong location was used.
Frame Layout If you look closely at the hitch, you'll notice that it isn't centered even though the receptacle is. That's because the frame offset. It shouldn't affect the ability to support the weight of carrying bikes at all, but it and the placement of the muffler prevented me from using a standard, off-the-shelf hitch.
Cosmetics The fact that the hitch conceals the muffler is kind of nice. It helps to emphasize the fact that the car is so clean.
Towing DON'T DO IT! The Prius was never intended tow a trailer. But you can still enjoy the other benefits of having a receiver-hitch... like carrying bikes.
Alternatives Rather than using a hitch to carry bikes, you can also use a Roof rack (like the one YAMIKA makes) or a Trunk rack (like the two SARIS makes). Each type has advantages & disadvantages. Purchase whatever best fits your needs.
Comments Looking closely at the photos of the bike-rack connected to the hitch on my Prius, you'll notice several ropes. They were used to keep my old, very worn out bike-rack from bouncing around. New, better designed racks won't have that problem, so rope wouldn't be needed.


back to home page       back to top