Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

Talk me out of hitch?

I'm taking delivery of a 70D in two days and am looking for a solution for transporting 1 - 3 bikes from time to time. I have a Thule bike carrier that works on the receiver hitch on my current vehicle. I really like this solution (and have the carrier.) I'm seriously leaning towards the http://torkliftcentral.com/trailer-hitch-and-towing/ecohitch/tesla/2012-2015-tesla-model-s-ecohitch approach.

I've read the discussions here and like this option better than the roof rack (I think.)

Anybody give me some strong reasons why I shouldn't go this route?

Thanks in advance for any ideas / insight.

 

Xenoilphobe

Active Member
Jan 2, 2014
4,620
4,546
Fairfax County, Virginia
I have the 2 inch receiver on both cars and have had no issues in over 60,000 miles. I installed the first hitch and the hole is no big deal. I paid U-Haul to install the second one for $325/$375 (I can't remember but I think it was the lower number) Also you can get a "hitch plug" that covers the hole in the car - mine have been exposed here in the Mid-Atlantic states with no issues.

Negatives:

1. I get tailgated by pickup trucks who are getting close to confirm you have a 2" receiver - and the sudden realization that the Telsa has more HP and Torque than the pickup they are driving!
2. Be careful on steep inclines - just setup a geo-locationed air suspension lift on those locations and or remove the hitch (I never have -I like the convenience of alway having it on the car)
3. Be careful with the power lift gate - my bike scratch the SXXT out of my lift gate right below the T on by black car- when my muscle memory tapped the open hatch button before I realized I was carrying two 60 pound Pedego electric bikes!
4. Plan for serious mileage degradation if you drive over 70 with the additional weight and drag and full load of beach gear and people, but I bet the roof rack solution is far worse.
5. Dont overload the 200 Lbs tongue weight - it could affect your air suspension....(never tried that, but I have had 180 lbs on it once - when I tied my mother in law back there (just kidding)...
6. Also be aware you may have to charge perpendicular to the super charger it it isn't one of the new ones that you can pull thru... (had to do that once in Salisbury MD)

Get it you will love having the additional flexibility and also the ability to keep dirty stinky things outside the car... I also use a hitch mounted platform for those things (lawn mower, trash, coolers etc..)
 

mknox

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2012
10,103
1,894
Toronto, ON
Any warranty issues or concerns from Tesla? Even if you say it's only for a bike rack, what if you have drive train problems and Tesla says it's not covered because you're towing trailers against their recommendation (I believe Tesla does say no trailer towing on the Model S???)
 
Any warranty issues or concerns from Tesla? Even if you say it's only for a bike rack, what if you have drive train problems and Tesla says it's not covered because you're towing trailers against their recommendation (I believe Tesla does say no trailer towing on the Model S???)

I asked Tesla about it and that's the answer I got :

Unfortunately we do not have info on the Torklift Ecohitch and cannot recommend its installation or use with the Model S. There is a good chance it could affect your warranty and a bicycle attached to the back of the car would interfere with parking sensors and possibly AutoPilot. The only rack we can recommend is the WhispBar.
 
Any warranty issues or concerns from Tesla? Even if you say it's only for a bike rack, what if you have drive train problems and Tesla says it's not covered because you're towing trailers against their recommendation (I believe Tesla does say no trailer towing on the Model S???)

Thanks for the great insights so far. I've seen lots of threads and pictures of folks having installed it. I sure don't want to risk the warranty issue. Perhaps I'll ask my DS tomorrow but I bet he'll give the same answer that llavalle got. Probably a risk I'll decide to take (as many others seem to have.)
 
Any warranty issues or concerns from Tesla? Even if you say it's only for a bike rack, what if you have drive train problems and Tesla says it's not covered because you're towing trailers against their recommendation (I believe Tesla does say no trailer towing on the Model S???)

To tow a trailer you would also need a wiring kit installed in your S, for powering the trailer brake / running lights, at minimum. Perhaps also a brake controller installed for trailer brakes. As long as it is clear that you don't have these, it would be a pretty good argument to illustrate that you are not towing a trailer and only using it for a bike rack.

In casual conversation with my local SC manager, he didn't think it was a big deal that I have a hitch for bikes only - but I know it may not be his call in the end.
 

mknox

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2012
10,103
1,894
Toronto, ON
To tow a trailer you would also need a wiring kit installed in your S, for powering the trailer brake / running lights, at minimum. Perhaps also a brake controller installed for trailer brakes. As long as it is clear that you don't have these, it would be a pretty good argument to illustrate that you are not towing a trailer and only using it for a bike rack.

Unless you're doing something like this with it :wink:

screenshot-2014-01-26-16-39-44.jpg
 

ChadS

Last tank of gas: March 2009
Jul 16, 2009
3,381
2,824
Redmond, WA
At least in the US, it is not a warranty issue. Automakers can not "void" a warranty simply because you have a third-party accessory.

Of course, they are not required to "recommend" third-party accessories, as per the text from Tesla that llavalle showed above. They also don't have to fix any problems in the third-party accessory, or any problems caused by the third-party accessory. That latter part is where the confusion comes from. They don't have to fix problems caused by the accessory, but they can't just decide they won't honor their warranty because the accessory is there.

That's the law in the US, anyway. Of course there have been a number of reports of dealers/manufacturers not honoring their warranty anyway, then the owner has to decide if it's worth filing a lawsuit.

In fact, a Tesla employee made and installed the hitch in my Roadster; Tesla later briefly offered a hitch as a Roadster accessory. Torklift Central provided the hitch for my Model S; in fact they used my car to design it. The Tesla employees that have seen my hitches all thought they were pretty cool. I do not use them for towing.
 
Last edited:

Xenoilphobe

Active Member
Jan 2, 2014
4,620
4,546
Fairfax County, Virginia

KJD

OD 7/27 MYLR Red/Black 19's/ No FSD/ Del 11/20
Supporting Member
Dec 14, 2013
1,423
1,200
SLC, UT
I might be interested in doing this with my car. I really like the bike rack on the hitch instead of on the roof.

The only thing I worry about is how much ground clearance will you loose with this set up. Can others comment about this ?
 

ChadS

Last tank of gas: March 2009
Jul 16, 2009
3,381
2,824
Redmond, WA
The L-shaped piece with the receiver hole is just held on with a single bolt. So if you generally drive around with it off, you don't lose any ground clearance at all.

When it's on, it's snuggled up against the bumper, so it hangs down by however thick it is (about 2"). However, it's in the center, and there are some mini aero fins closer to the side of the bumper that hang down a ways, so you don't really lose that much.

We have just taken to leaving ours on, and it has not been a problem at all. However, we do have the air suspension and often raise it when parking.
 
The only thing I worry about is how much ground clearance will you loose with this set up. Can others comment about this ?

The hitch is flush to the car, so the loss of ground clearance is equal to your chosen hitch size (2" or 1.25"). Because my concern was similar I chose the 1.25" hitch. There are lots of bike racks available for that size. But I do admit I have bottomed out and had the hitch hit the ground on about 2 occasions that I can think of over the last 2 years. Not too hard though. It has happened only when going probably too fast for some crazy steep driveway entrances and was entirely avoidable. I should have raised the suspension ahead of time but just forgot. The hitch is strong though and took the knocks very well - ha ha!
 

lucian

New Member
Aug 25, 2016
1
0
San Francisco
I have had the Torklift hitch installed for about 1.5 years now. Its solid and they have good customer support, so recommend them. I have only used it to carry a Yakima Swing Daddy 4 hitch bike rack. I DO NOT have air suspension. I live in San Francisco and have scraped the hitch receiver enough and hard enough that I don't leave it on. Further, the bike rack is very close to the ground because it sticks out perhaps 18" from the hitch receiver and so any steepness to a driveway or speed bump and the bike rack hits the ground. At Mammoth Village Lodge, the driveways into the underground parking lot where the Tesla chargers are located are so steep that I about destroyed the red hand knob at the bottom of the rack by going in and out 4 times.

I haven't attempted a trailer yet and am a bit worried about it. But I will still do it. My car works for me, not the other way around :)

In retrospect, I should have gotten the air shocks with the trailer hitch. Still use it routinely, but wince a lot.
 

Products we're discussing on TMC...

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top