Recreational Vehicle Tow Bar Basics
Recreational Vehicle traveling is continuing to grow rapidly all over the world. The traveling home away from home is convenient, comfortable, flexible, allowing the traveller to go to a wide variety of historical sites, beautiful locations and just to get away to wherever. Once the RV is settled down in the campground, RV Park or wilderness area, and you’ve seen and visited all the sites within walking distance or park bus, are you content with sitting watching the grass grow? Wouldn’t it be great to not have to drive your big beautiful RV and just hop in a car to see the towns next door, the nearby historical site, go shopping?
Then just tow your car!
It’s a three part integral system when it comes towing a vehicle- the RV, the towed vehicle and the tow apparatus. There are also three basic towing methods- the transport unit/trailer, with vehicles inside; the tow dolly, where the vehicle rides on two wheeled trailer. Both of these systems are great and useful, but often they can be a hindrance trying to park in a campground or RV Park with your RV and your trailer, usually no enough room, for such a large system.
That’s why the third choice, RV Tow Bars are so popular. The tow bars are stowable, lightweight and allow the RV owner greater flexibility with towed vehicle choice. There are also three types of Tow Bars-
*Rigid A frame- the least expensive, utilizes solid arms, often difficult to attach the towed vehicle to the RV alone often needing two people to perform the task. The towed vehicle needs to be placed in a precise spot due to the inflexibility of the solid arms.
*Self-Aligning Car Mount- greater flexibility in getting the vehicle in position due to the adjustable arms. The tow bar if left on the car could be damaged while left on the car causing safety concerns, can be heavy on the towed car, and might distract from the natural ‘beauty’ of the towed vehicle.
*Self-Aligning RV Mount- this system if becoming more popular every year. It removes the tow ball hitch from the RV, which is often low and strikes the ground when entering parking lots, and can be folded away to keep it safe and secure.
When choosing a type of tow bar and a manufacturer keep in mind where you travel and your access to parts and service for the brand you choose.
It’s also important get a tow bar that is appropriate to work with you vehicle. Points to consider include where the bar can be mounted on your vehicle, the weight of you vehicle and even the type of vehicle you are towing. Front Wheel Drive, manual transmissions can be towed readily; Front Wheel Drive Auto Transmissions probably will require a lube pump as an addition; Rear Wheel Drive vehicles require some sort of release for the drive shaft; certain 4WD vehicles are easily towed. Each car manufacturer has certain vehicles that are set to be towed off the lot as they say- the recommendation is always to check with the manufacturer’s recommendations and whatever works best for you as far as access, serviceability and performance.
Proper care of your Tow Bar system is crucial. It’s a fact that most travelers get a new towed vehicle every couple of years, and a different RV a few years after that, but the tow bar is rarely upgraded. The Tow Bar is an absolute integral part of your towing system and should be treated with the same respect as the RV and the other vehicle. Check all its parts, pins and tighten all the bolts, even replace them where possible- the price of a bolt is far less than a totaled vehicle and loose parts can increase the vibrations that result in damage to all pieces. Make sure you have all the needed accessories and they all work as required such as straps, light connectors and security cables.
So, before choosing your new tow bar make sure you know:
A) If your vehicle can be towed,
B) The RV towing capability,
C) how often you travel and tow,
D) that you have matched the weight capacities,
E) that you have all the needed accessories.
Answer those, choose your tow bar and tow away!