How-To Guide

How to Choose a Hitch-Mounted Carrier for Your Power Wheelchair or Scooter

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How to Choose a Hitch-Mounted Carrier for Your Power Wheelchair or Scooter

Before purchasing a hitch-mounted carrier, it’s important to understand your vehicle’s limitations, the size of your scooter or wheelchair, and the strength of the person who will be loading it up the most. These factors will determine the carrier that is not only the best fit for your car, but also the best fit for your needs.

Hitch Class of Your Vehicle
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Hitch Class of Your Vehicle

Hitches are classified as class I through class V, and tell you how much weight you can tow as well as what size hitch mounts work with your vehicle. Class I and class II hitches are found on cars and minivans and they are smaller hitches with a lower weight capacity. Class III, IV and V hitches are found on SUVs and pickup trucks and they have a wider opening to handle heavier hitch-mounted products. The easiest way to tell what class you have is to read the label on your trailer hitch. If it’s unreadable or you’re not sure, you can also measure the size of the hitch opening.


Tongue Weight
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Tongue Weight

Fortunately, it’s not as odd as it sounds. The tongue weight is how much weight your hitch can support by itself. The rule of thumb is that it should be no more than 10% of your gross trailer weight rating. So, if you have a Class II hitch, which has a gross trailer weight rating of 3,500 lbs., your tongue rating will be 350 lbs. This means that the combined weight of your mobility scooter, accessories, and hitch-mounted carrier must not exceed 350 lbs. or it will create a dangerous driving situation and possibly cause damage to your vehicle. For the current weight ratings for each hitch class, check out Trailer Hitch Classes and Towing: What You Need to Know.


Your Scooter Size
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Your Scooter Size

You will need to know your scooter’s total weight and dimensions to make sure that when it is on the hitch-mounted carrier it won’t exceed the tongue weight. You should be able to get this information from the manufacturer, or you can measure and weigh your mobility vehicle by hand. Larger scooters or electric wheelchairs may be too large of heavy for the hitch-mounted carrier you have in mind.


Electric Carrier vs Ramped Carrier
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Electric Carrier vs Ramped Carrier

If you know you will be loading your scooter or wheelchair by yourself, or if you have physical limitations, consider an electric lift and carrier. It will allow you to drive your chair on at ground level and raises up for transport. Alternatively, a more affordable choice is a carrier with a ramp. You drive the empty scooter up, and either fold or tuck the ramp away for transport. One convenient feature about both is that the majority of electric and hitch-mounted carriers will fold up to save space while you’re parked and your mobility device is unloaded.