After a few months of usage, this new trailer hitch looks as in the picture below:

enter image description here

The black is removed and the hitch started rusting. Can I still fix this? What could I have done better? Just wipe off dry after usage?

3 Answers 3


It's just a little surface rust so it's essentially a cosmetic problem at the moment. Assuming you want to keep the hitch on the bike all the time (that is after all the point of it) then I suggest that after removing any loose material you wipe grease over it to provide a barrier against moisture. You wouldn't have to do it after every use but whenever you clean the bike/oil the chain. This will also deal with the way the rust makes it harder to fit the trailer to the hitch. It also darkens the remaining rust temporarily, making it less obvious.

Mine is a different design (with a pin going through it) but I assume that yours also doesn't rely on friction (which wouldn't be safe). In fact yours may even move slightly around the hitch, which would abrade the paint.

  • Thank you! I will read up through more rust questions to learn about this friendly surface rust and its more evil friends.
    – zedoo
    Jan 8, 2018 at 14:22
  • 2
    @zedoo - Surface rust and rust are the same thing, it's just that you don't worry about rust for a long, long time except in sheet metal. It's gross looking, but look at any piece of machinery that sees heavy use and you'll see rust. The only way to avoid this would be to use more expensive stainless steel... which also sacrifices a goodly portion of its strength to be stainless.
    – William
    Jan 8, 2018 at 16:39
  • @William-Rem, you can also use a sacrificial anode, which results in the sacrificial anode rusting/corroding instead of the metal you are attempting to protect. It would be unusual to use one on a bike, but certainly doable. They are common on boats.
    – Makyen
    Jan 9, 2018 at 1:22
  • @Makyen - And ocean-based hydroelectric stations!
    – William
    Jan 9, 2018 at 3:48

You could try painting the thing with a "rust converting primer" from an auto parts place. This creates a harder surface than regular paint, though it will need renewal from time to time, and it's a sort of ugly brown color.

But just keeping a light coat of grease (or just chain oil) on the thing should work. (The rust is purely cosmetic -- it does not threaten the integrity of the hitch in any way.)


Looks like the hitch part was painted rather than any stronger process.

You can use it like that for years and it should function fine and safely.

If you want it to look better, I'd take remove the hitch from the bike, and soak it in phosphoric acid overnight to convert the Iron Oxide to Iron Phosphate, which is a stable version of rust.

Other solutions would be to get the hitch bead-blasted or sandblasted, and then immediately powder coat it, galvanise or chrome it. All solutions are likely to cost a lot more than a replacement hitch, but the replacement will rust at the same rate as the original.

  • 1
    A properly-done chrome plating would be largely impervious to the friction issues that wore the original paint off (hence the usage of chrome plating on automotive trailer hitches) but yes expensive and probably not worth it unless the OP plans to pass the hitch on to his grandchildren.
    – Perkins
    Jan 9, 2018 at 0:53

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