How To Remove a Trailer Hitch

Updated: Jan. 31, 2024

Remove a rusted trailer hitch with penetrating fluid and air power.

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Remove a rusted trailer hitch with penetrating fluid and an air chisel, not a sledgehammer. It's easier and won't bend or break anything.

Tools Required

  • Air compressor
  • Hammer

Materials Required

  • Penetrating spray

Project step-by-step (3)

Step 1

Spray the rusted joint

When the ball mount on your trailer hitch is rusted in place, don’t whack at it with a sledgehammer. Here’s what to do instead. Buy a can of CRC Freeze Off penetrating spray and an air chisel fitted with a “hammer bit.” Generously spray the opening to the hitch receiver then insert the spray straw deep into the corners of the receiver and spray liberally. This style of penetrating fluid chills the metal, causing it to contract to help break the rust seal.

Spraying The Rust Remover Spray On Trailer Hitch's JointTMB Studio

Step 2

Rap with an air hammer

Use an air chisel fitted with a hammer bit to knock everything loose. The air hammer will break up the rust, spread the penetrant and free up the ball mount. Rap the sides, top and bottom of the hitch receiver for 15 seconds with blows from the air hammer. Spray again. Repeat the rapping until the ball mount loosens.

Air Hammer With Bit on Grid BackgroundTMB Studio

Step 3

Remove with hammer

Once it’s free, just tap the rusted ball mount out with a hammer. If you plan to reuse the rusty mount, coat it with a rust converter or waterproof marine grease.

Loosening The Trailer Hitch With The Help Of Air HammerTMB Studio