Over the past 40 years, I have hitched up boat and travel trailers of all sizes hundreds of times — and damaged a few bumpers in the process. Two years ago when I bought a new SUV, I was determined not to damage this one.
To protect my SUV’s bumper, I fabricated a shield from ½-inch plywood. I lined one side of a 12×18-inch sheet of plywood with carpet. I then cut a notch along the edge in the center of the 18-inch side of the plywood wide enough that the plywood can fit snugly over the shank just in front of the ball mount. To use the shield, I place it over the shank with the carpeted side toward the bumper.
With the carpet facing the SUV’s hatch (or the tailgate if using this on a truck), the bumper of the tow vehicle is protected if the driver overruns the ball.
After the coupler is engaged, I remove the plywood and place it on the ground, carpet side up. Now it becomes a comfortable place to kneel down to connect the chains and electrical cord located under the bumper.
Ron Presdorf | Saline, Michigan