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2020 Nissan Kicks SV
39 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Following my recent experience installing and using my trailer hitch I wanted to provide some information for anyone looking to have one installed or install themselves.
I see there are 2 other posts about trailers, but I did not want to necro-post.

Firstly, Always check with your local dealer to confirm that any accessory will not void your warranty. Both my local dealers did assure me that if properly installed, a hitch WILL NOT void the warranty of the kicks. However, hauling a trailer WILL void the warranty.
Based on this knowledge, I decided to forgo installing any kind of wiring harness, even a non-invasive cabling kit. This is too prove to the dealer that I at no point can/will haul a trailer, as it is unlawful in my province to haul a trailer without working lights.

The kicks is a sluggish car to begin with, any kind of additional weight will impact performance. Remember to give yourself ample time to merge with traffic. It is better to wait for a bigger opening than blowing your CVT.
Speaking of the cars drivetrain, the car is only rated for a payload of 950lbs ish. The only hitch currently available for the kicks is a class I (1 1/4 rated for 2000lbs hauling, 200lbs tongue). Just remember your hitch will be able to out perform your car :p

etrailer has a really good tutorial video that I followed for my installation with a few variations. For this reason, I will not be posting pictures, however you can reference the video.
The overall installation was extremely easy, and only took 2 guys about 2 hours. I strongly recommend you have an additional person to help thru the entire process, even though etrailer only recommends help when putting the hitch in place. The following instructions will be supplemental to etrailers video.

Materials/Tools Used
  • Car Ramps
  • Cordless Drill + Conical Rasp
  • Rotary Tool + Round and Conical Grinding Stones
  • Circular Saw w/ Grinder disc (I Strongly recommend you use the correct tool, angle grinder) couldn't find my grinder
  • Ratchet Set + 15/16 Socket for speed nuts
  • Pry Bar
  • PL100
  • Can of Rubberized Coating
Without access to a car lift I found that car ramps are way safer and in my opinion easier to use than a jack and jack stands. I was unable to locate any accessible jacking point in the rear of the car, so I went out and bought a pair of car ramps. It should be noted, you CAN install the hitch without jacking the car, but there is limited wiggle room.
As for popping off the exhaust, Spray some PL100 in the hangers and push them off with a pry bar, or long screwdriver. I use PL100 as it will not degrade the rubber, but any generic silicone spray should work too.
etrailer used a die grinder for enlarging the holes, I found that an aggressive steel rasp that I bought for $5 worked really well and quickly at enlarging the holes. We then went back and cleaned it up with the rotary to even out the hole and smooth the edges. It is worth noting the thickness of the steel will bastardize your rasp and it will need to be chucked out after.
In etrailer's video they use a pair of snips for cutting the heat shield. I personally find that snips can leave a jagged edge and be difficult to use on textured metal. So to save time and have a cleaner cut, I used my circular saw with a grinder cut off wheel. (You really SHOULD use an angle grinder!) I also noticed the suggested cut out pattern is kind of a poor suggestion. I would recommend cutting a rectangle that is not as long as depicted and closer to the rear most (closest to bumper) speed nut. Otherwise when you put the heat shield back up there is a huge buffer to space at the forward most (closest to rear axle) section and it looks ugly.
As my car was undercoated from the dealer, albeit by a child with tourettes, I wanted to keep the underside looking neatly undercoated so I picked up a can of rubber and evened out the dealers job and hit the areas the hitch will make contact. My car now looks so much nicer under her skirt.

I read a post on here about a person who was having evap warnings after a hitch install. The evap shouldn't need any kind of support while working near it, but be extremely careful not to hit the hoses with any cutting tools. Do not lean anything on the canister either. And be careful when pulling it off not to put to much stress on the connections. I have had no issues since installing my hitch.
etrailer uses a strap to hold un the exhaust while working in the area. This is excessive. There is no way that the exhaust can fall and hurt you if you rest it on the rear axle. Additionally there is no strain on the exhaust system. You can forego the strap.

Use, Observations and Final Thoughts:
I christened my hitch by using a hitch mounted basket and towing around a 50lb inflatable boat to a camp site. There was no noticeable change in vehicle handling or weight distribution. I feel like if I did max out the tongue weight with 200 lbs, it might rebalance the car, and only then be noticeable.
When the basket is installed, you can see quite a noticeable upward angle to the basket, which I appreciate as it maintains ground clearance for offroad my camping and fishing locations. I also hate seeing cars with droopy sad hitches.
The kicks has rear assisted braking and parking assistant. The hitch does not impact this, as it tucks away completely under the car. However any accessory on the back will trip the rear braking. This is not an issue for standard driving however backing in anywhere you will not be able too. You MUST turn off your rear braking prior to trying to backup. With the kicks you must turn this feature off everytime you start your car, there is no option to turn it off for any kind of duration. Additionally, your rear alarm will be going off and you need to press the ok button on your steering wheel to turn it off.

For those of us without roof rails I would strongly recommend the hitch and basket as at the end of the day it only cost me $500 CAD, about the same as a pair of crossbars.
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