How Much Does A Trailer Hitch Cost? [Gooseneck]
When you find that you need to tow more than the average load with your heavy-duty truck, it’s time to consider a gooseneck hitch. The major difference between this and a regular bumper hitch is that you’ll be able to tow industrial-size or commercial loads vs. the average boat, small camping trailer, or other recreational use.
A gooseneck hitch is a professional piece of equipment and it comes with a hefty price tag because of that. You’ll be looking to spend anywhere between $500 to $3,000 for the cost of parts and labor.
Depending on the type of gooseneck hitch you choose and what works best for your truck, the cost will vary. Not every gooseneck hitch goes with every truck or every person’s needs and the pricing of each type, including the parts and labor to install it, are different.
The main idea of a gooseneck hitch is to distribute the weight of a heavy-duty load across the frame of the truck and reduce stress. Each type also takes up space on your truck in a different way.
Over Bed Gooseneck Hitch
This is the least expensive type of hitch but it is not considered a “true gooseneck” for heavy-duty truck enthusiasts. It will still add up to 25,000 pounds of towing capacity to your truck and is relatively easy to install compared to the other types of a gooseneck hitch.
The cost to purchase a kit for an over-bed gooseneck hitch will be approximately $300, depending on the brand you choose and if you get the part alone or the part plus the installation kit. This setup will take roughly 1 to 2 hours to install, depending on the shop you use.
Check around with your local mechanics to see if they will use a pre-purchased part and what their rates are for labor costs.
DIY and the Downside
Out of all the options for gooseneck hitches, this is one that may be possible for you to install on your own, which significantly reduces the cost. If you purchase a part with an installation kit, the tools you need will be listed or included as well as for instructions.
Be sure you know that you can do the job before attempting it because fixing mistakes with this part can become costly. The issue with this type of hitch is that it takes up a lot of space in the truck bed. It is not suspended over the bed but installed on top of it.
If you need to haul a lot in the bed more often than you have to tow commercial loads, you may want to consider a different option.
Folding Ball Over Bed Gooseneck Hitch
The regular over-bed gooseneck hitch has a ball that sticks straight up. The folding ball variation allows the user to stow the ball away within the hitch so that there’s a little more room in your truck bed when you need it.
The parts and installation are both a little more expensive than a simpler over-bed rig. The cost of this kit isn’t much more than a non-folding over-bed hitch.
You’ll probably spend about $400-$600 for a full folding gooseneck hitch and an installation kit. The labor to put this hitch together is a lot more complicated as it involves springs and wheels for the folding mechanism. It’s more prudent to have a mechanic install this setup.
For a professional mechanic, it will likely take 2-3 hours to install this hitch. Check around for the cost of labor per hour to see the full cost of the folding ball over bed gooseneck hitch. In total, this hitch will cost approximately $700-$1,000 or more.
Increased Towing Capacity and Convenience
A high-quality folding ball gooseneck hitch will increase a heavy-duty truck’s towing capacity by 30,000 pounds. It’s not much more than a regular over-bed gooseneck hitch but it could make all the difference, depending on what you’re towing on a regular basis.
The main feature of this type of rig is that the ball folds down so that there’s more room to put things in the bed of your truck without having to remove the entire trailer hitch. While it’s more expensive, this convenience could be worth the price.
Under Bed Gooseneck Hitch
This is the most expensive option but also the most stable and convenient with the highest towing capacity. This is what is more known as a “traditional” gooseneck hitch.
It is attached underneath the truck bed and requires the expertise and tools of a shop and mechanic to be installed properly. There are different types of under-bed gooseneck hitches as well, some fold under the bed, some have double-locking mechanisms, and some are a little simpler.
All of them run between $200-$500 for the parts alone. While that seems like it’s not much more than the overbed hitch options, the cost of labor to have it installed is significantly higher.
A Complicated Installation
The under-bed gooseneck hitch is the strongest option available and the best in terms of stability. Instead of distributing weight across the frame of the truck, it distributes weight across the rear axle.
The durability of the parts is what makes the installation more complicated than other options. A professional mechanic will be needed to ensure that not only the hitch is correctly installed but also that the parts and tools used to do it are adequate for what you’ll be towing, especially if you’ll be doing so on a regular basis.
The time to install is also longer and so the labor costs alone could be in the $400-$600 range or more.
Additional Adjustments May Be Necessary
Many agree that the most difficult part of installing a gooseneck trailer hitch is the measuring. You need to be sure that your tow will clear the bumper from where you install the gooseneck over the bed of your truck.
The measuring is different when it comes to an under-bed model. If the measurements don’t work out, you may need to make adjustments to the bed of your truck.
For instance, you may need to drill a large hole where the ball of the gooseneck hitch goes or you might need to saw parts of the bed to get the perfect fit for your hitch. If you try to do this yourself and it doesn’t work out, the repairs could become very costly.
Fifth Wheel Trailer Adapter
There are benefits to using a fifth-wheel trailer with a gooseneck hitch in order to further distribute weight over an even larger surface area. It puts less stress on your truck and allows you to use it for a lot longer.
However, most fifth-wheel trailers require an adapter to work with a gooseneck hitch and they can be very costly. The most popular options for this adapter are a pin box adapter or an air ride coupler adapter. Either option will cost approximately $1,400-$1,600 or more.
Most adapters can be installed on your own and don’t require much more than a wrench and good lighting. It’s always a good idea to run your rig by your mechanic even if you install it yourself. Mistakes will cost you a lot more than a once-over from a professional.
Purchasing A Used Vehicle With a Gooseneck Hitch
Some used heavy-duty trucks may come with a gooseneck hitch already attached. The owner or dealership may try to use this to bring up the price of the truck.
Before you decide if it’s worth the cost, get a mechanic to check the hitch thoroughly. A used hitch is not likely to appreciate the value of a truck because it will have been used as well.
If a heavy-duty truck with a gooseneck hitch was probably used to tow a load of 20,000-30,000 pounds on a regular basis. Even with the gooseneck hitch, the truck would have had added stress.
It will also cost you to remove the hitch if you choose to install a different type or you simply don’t want it on your truck.
Before You Purchase a Kit
The cost of a gooseneck trailer hitch kit will cost significantly less than going to a mechanic to have it installed. But that’s not always going to be the best-case scenario if you’re unsure that you can install the hitch yourself.
A mechanic may not install the parts you chose to buy if they’re aftermarket or not of the same quality that their shop uses. If you plan to have a mechanic install your gooseneck trailer hitch, it’s better to ask them where to purchase it or if they’ll purchase it for you.
It’s likely they’ll just be happy you asked and some shops will even have discounts for parts available when you purchase through them.
Since the labor is costly and they’ll be the ones doing it, you’re better off asking them because they’ll know best what their tools and expertise can handle. Your best bet on saving on labor costs is going with the option that the mechanic can do the fastest because they know it well.