Top-Rated Hitch-Mounted Cargo Carriers – Car and Driver


What size and class of clutch receiver does my vehicle have?

Understanding your vehicle’s drag is extremely important hook receiver size and class. There are four main classes of coupler receivers with distinct weight capacities and receiver tube sizes. Class 1 and 2 receivers both use 1.25-inch receiver tubes, while towing up to 2,000 pounds and 3,500 pounds, respectively. You will mostly find it on smaller cars. Class 3 and 4 use 2-inch receiver tubes and can tow up to 8,000 pounds and 10,000 pounds, respectively. These are the most common receivers and can be found on most SUVs and half-ton full-size pickups. Class 5 uses 2.5- and 3-inch receiver tubes and can tow up to 18,500 pounds and 21,000 pounds, respectively. You’ll find it on full-ton and extremely heavy-duty trucks. It’s a good idea to refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual and double-check the size of your receiver by measuring.

Many load carriers are designed to work with 2-inch receivers, although there are a range of receiver tube adapters available that can help get the job done.

Are hook-mounted load carriers safe?

If hook-mounted load carriers are installed correctly, then yes—they are safe. However, you can add things to the carriers to protect your luggage even more. This can be done by strapping down your gear, buying a carrier with high walls, throwing a waterproof protector over it, and—best of all—getting a locking carrier to keep everything safe.

Hook mounted load carriers with reflective lights help your load be more visible to other drivers, especially at night. Always be careful when maneuvering around a loaded cargo carrier as it can be difficult to see if you are about to hit something. The load can also block your backup camera, so make sure your head is turned when reversing.

Do mounted cargo carriers need lights?

Only if the carrier and his luggage block the rear lights of your vehicle. If so, you will need to install a light kit. Even if it doesn’t block your lights, installing a light kit might be a good idea to increase the wearer’s visibility to other drivers.

How much weight can a cargo carrier carry?

This depends on the rating of both the hook rack and the carrier itself. The stronger the connector (also designed as its class rating), the more it will carry. Along with rating the carrier based on the weight limit set by the manufacturer, this is how you will find your carrier’s weight limit. Typical carriers will hold 150 to 300 pounds depending on the hitch class, but you can also find carriers that will hold more than 500 pounds when paired with the correct hitch rack.

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