How Do You Fix a Hitch That Won’t Latch? Detailed Guide 2024

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When you’re planning a road trip or hauling a load, you want to be sure that your hitch is in good working order. But sometimes you will feel that the hitch is not properly latching or locking. It is indeed a frustrating problem especially if you’re new to the hitches.

Although it is inconvenient, it can also be dangerous when you’re driving with an unsecured load. If you’re experiencing this problem, then chances are high that you’ll be thinking of replacing the whole hitch. don’t worry – you don’t have to replace the entire hitch as I have got a solution for you.

How to fix a hitch that won’t latch? To fix a hitch that won’t latch, you will need to clean and properly lubricate the latch mechanism with oil or grease. Putting lubricant helps in making the movement of parts smoother and helps the hitch latch to engage properly.

In this blog post, I will cover the most common reasons a hitch won’t latch, as well as some DIY solutions which will help you in solving the problem. So, let’s get started without wasting any more time.

Related Article: How to Remove Rust From Inside Trailer Hitch Receiver?

Understand the Issue of Hitch That Won’t Latch

Before going down into the explanation, you should know about the problem of hitch latching. A hitch latch is a mechanism that connects the trailer hitch to the hitch ball of the towing vehicle. It actually ensures that the trailer is securely attached to the vehicle during transportation. 

When the hitch is properly latched, it prevents the trailer from becoming disconnected from the towing vehicle, which could lead to accidents, injuries, or damage to the equipment being transported.

But sometimes, due to different reasons (We will explain in the upcoming section)  the hitch won’t latch, which means that the hitch mechanism is not securely fastened onto the hitch ball of the towing vehicle. This can be a serious problem, as an unsecured hitch can lead to accidents, injuries, or damage to the trailer or other vehicles on the road. 

Common Causes of a Hitch That Won’t Latch

Before I take you to the solution, it is important for you to have the proper knowledge or reason that causes the improper latching of the hitch. 

Actually, there are more than one common reasons why a hitch won’t latch. In the below section, I will talk about the reasons that will help you understand why your hitch is not latching or locking perfectly. 

  • Over time, dirt and debris can accumulate in the latch mechanism, making it difficult for the latch to close properly.

Note:  This is a common problem for people who use their hitch frequently or who live in an area with a lot of dust and dirt.

  • Rust can cause the latch mechanism to stick, making it difficult to close the hitch. I must say this rust issue is common when you drive or park your vehicle near areas with a lot of moisture.
  • The pins and clips that hold the hitch together can become worn or damaged over time causing the hitch not to latch. You should keep an active eye on the pins and clips and if you feel they are worn or damaged, you should replace them with new ones. 

DIY Solutions: How to Fix Hitch that Does not Latch?

After reading the upper section where I taught you about the causes of the hitch latch problem, you will pretty much have an idea of how you can fix this problem. If you are still confused, don’t worry as I have got your back.  In the section below, you will get some DIY solutions.

  • I said earlier that improper latching of a hitch is mainly due to dust and debris so you will need to remove it. Use a wire brush or a toothbrush to clean all dirt or debris from the latch mechanism. Then, lubricate the mechanism with a silicone spray or light oil. This can help to loosen any stuck parts and make it easier to close the hitch.

Note: You will need to make sure the hitch receiver and the hitch ball are clean. Dirt, debris, and rust can prevent the latch from engaging properly

  • If you note that rust is causing the latch to stick, you can remove it with a wire brush or a rust remover. Be sure to clean and lubricate the latch mechanism after removing the rust. I recommend you apply grease or oil to the hitch ball, and inside of the hitch receiver to ensure that all the moving parts are moving more smoothly which will allow the latch to engage properly.
  • Regular inspection of pins and clips is very important. If you see that the pins and clips that hold the hitch together are worn or damaged, then you will surely need to replace them. You can purchase replacement parts at most auto parts stores or online.
  • Don’t forget to check if the latch mechanism is working fine or not. Sometimes, the latch mechanism itself undergoes the problem. Check to see if the latch is stuck, misaligned, or damaged. If you notice any issues, make sure to realign or adjust the latch mechanism.

These were some DIY solutions to consider when you face the problem of hitch latching.  To prevent future problems with the hitch, you should keep it clean and lubricated. After each use, be sure to wipe down the hitch and lubricate the latch mechanism.

Call the Professional when you fail to Fix

There are many DIY solutions for a hitch that won’t latch, but if you fail to fix the problem by my given methods, then chances are high that the issue is severe and you will need to ask for help from a professional mechanic.

Look, before starting to solve the problem, the number one thing is to know the cause of the problem. If you’re not sure why the hitch won’t latch, it’s best to call a professional. They’ll be able to diagnose the problem and provide a solution.


If you are facing a problem in your hitch, don’t worry as everything has a solution. In the case of a hitch that won’t latch, then it is not a problem to be worried about. In this guide, I have given you a complete do-it-yourself solution that will work perfectly to get out of trouble. I hope that my words will be helpful to you.

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