Planning on Using a Hitch Cargo Carrier? Read This First!

Planning to go on vacation? If your car is not big enough to handle all your baggage, then a hitch cargo carrier will answer your problems. Vacation-goers will find that cargo carriers are an important car accessory.

There are two main types of carriers: a hitch carrier is towed behind your car, and a rooftop version is strapped to the car’s roof rack. Whatever kind, these cargo holders can increase the carrying capacity of your vehicle by as much as three times.

Hitch cargo carriers (sometimes called a hitch cargo basket or hitch mounted carrier) are towed using receiver hitches, square-shaped holes about 2 inches in diameter and are located under the back bumper. People who own vehicles without receiver hitches have the option of having them installed in an auto body shop, but this process requires a lot of time and money.

A hitch cargo basket or carrier has these advantages over its rooftop counterpart.

  • They will not create wind resistance which would interfere with vehicle’s aerodynamics and the amount of gasoline it would consume during the drive, as well as vehicle handling.
  • Places with low head clearance areas, such as parking garages and fast-food restaurants, pose problems for vehicles with rooftop cargo carriers.
  • Vehicles with limited rooftop space, like trucks and pickups, often use them. People who own SUVs find it hard to look for roof racks to fit their vehicle.
  • Rooftop cargo holders are hard to load and unload, and can blow open or come apart during the drive.

However, there are a few things you need to remember if you purchase a hitch basket or carrier.

  • Because they ultimately add to the vehicle’s length by 2 to 3 feet, people usually get into accidents when parking or backing out.
  • This type of hitch carrier, especially the large box types, can consume a lot of storage space.
  • Using hitch carriers usually need adjustments to the rear vehicle lights and to the license plates.

Here are some things to consider when choosing the type of cargo basket or carrier to suit your needs.

  • Are there other people who will help in lifting and loading heavy cargo like bags or tents? If you are limited in terms of this, a hitch cargo carrier, since it is closer ton the ground, is a better choice than a rooftop model.
  • Is your garage high enough to allow a lot of baggage on the car roof? If you often go to places with low head clearances, rooftop carriers are a no-no.

Mary J. Gibson

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