Forget voting booths, message boards and yard signs. If you've ever been in bumper-to-bumper traffic, you know that the rear of your vehicle is the place to speak your mind. Whether you want the world to know which sports team you support or what your "other car" is, bumper stickers allow drivers to really fly their true colors. Increasingly, many types of hitch covers are right there on the front lines of free speech as well.
Hitch covers perform one main task: They cap the drawbar receiving tube. The more basic covers are little more than clip-on plastic caps -- sometimes designed to hinge open or hang prone when a drawbar is in place. There are even color-matched designs that look like part of the vehicle molding. Other designs, however, actually insert into the tube and lock into place, and these give designers a lot more freedom to get creative. A quick Internet search or trip to your local auto shop will give you just a taste of all the options out there. Love sports? Latch on a team logo or the head of a beloved mascot. Feeling patriotic? Attach your flag of choice. If you can think of a popular logo, there's a good chance someone wants to help you put it on your vehicle.
What's that? You want to attach a spinning boat propeller or a plastic human hand to the back of your truck? Well, these trailer hitch designs are out there, as are more practical covers, such as the HitchSafe, which features a lockable drawer to stow your valuables in or hitch covers that feature a bottle opener. You can even hook up some hitch covers to your vehicle's power and light up the night with glowing skulls and flashing logos. As with their cousin the bumper sticker, hitch covers allow drivers to push the boundaries of good taste. Does your trailer hitch need a pair of fake animal genitalia? If so, you can rest easy knowing you can purchase them in just about any color imaginable.
Of course, even the perfect hitch cover is a waste of time if it won't fit. Trailer hitches generally fall into one of five different classes, numbered I to V. Receiver tube dimensions on these hitches range from 1.25 inches (3.18 centimeters) for classes I and II, to as much as 2.5 inches (6.4 centimeters) for class V. Class III trailer hitches are the most common, however, with 2-inch (5-centimeter) tubes. Before you spend as much as $200 on a hitch cover, you're going to want to measure your hitch tube and check the product details. Luckily, most cover manufacturers are well aware of the different sizes out there and frequently include alternate mounts to ensure their flashy design will fit any vehicle.
One you have the perfect trailer hitch cover, you still have to attach it to your vehicle. Read the next page to learn how.