Recreational Vehicle Tow Bar Basics: How to Get the Best Value in Towing a Car Behind Your RV

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!

Where To Get Elusive Auto Parts

In some cases you may find it hard to get auto parts for your car. This is usually common if you own a classic car. The reason as to why you might find it hard to get your parts of interest is because many stores tend to stock parts of only the most popular vehicle models.

While this is usually the case, there are a number of things that you can do to ensure that you find the elusive auto parts for your car. Here are some of the things that you can do:

Join car clubs and online car forums

Joining a car club ensures that you are in touch with people that you have several things in common with. Here you will meet people that might be having the same problems as you. When you meet someone who owns the same car as you, you must ask him/here where he gets his parts.

This way you will easily learn some of the places where you can get your parts. The members in the club might also be auto part sellers; therefore, you will easily get parts for your car.

Finding an auto club is easy. This is because all you need to do is to visit the Ads section in car magazines and you will most likely find a car club in your area. You can also search online. Here you need to look at the authoritative websites and blogs.

Hunt online

You should use the internet to your advantage. When online you should visit some of the online auto stores and see what they have to offer. If you find good online stores, you should bookmark them and visit them regularly to check for any updates.

It’s also recommended that you contact the online stores and ask them if they have the parts that you are looking for.

Visit scrap yards in your area

If there is a scrap yard in your area, you should make an effort of visiting it. This is because you can easily get good quality parts at very low prices.

Get a newly manufactured part

If all your efforts to find auto parts have hit a rock, you should consider getting newly manufactured parts. Here you need to visit manufacturing companies and ask them to custom make the parts for you.

While you will get high quality parts using this method, you should be prepared to pay hefty prices.

Car Maintenance And The Theory Test – Part One

Knowing where to find certain features on a vehicle, and how to maintain them, has become part-and-parcel of the driving theory test and practical driving exam. It is therefore essential that you know your stuff.

Being able to know the difference between your car battery and your car bonnet will prove significant when it comes to answering test questions and taking your practical driving exam.

In your theory test you may be asked a question regarding a vehicle’s battery. Would you know what to do if the battery was flat in order to get the car started again?

Before you begin your practical driving exam the instructor will lift the car bonnet and randomly select two features that you will need to identify. Your instructor could ask you how to check the oil level, so knowledge of vehicle maintenance is certainly worth having.

Basic Vehicle Maintenance

Part one of this series covers basic vehicle maintenance. Any number of questions could emerge in your theory test relating to vehicle maintenance, but here’s a list of the most common themes covered in the exam regarding vehicle maintenance:

· Lights

· Brakes

· Steering

· Exhaust systems

· Seat belts

· Demisters

· Wipers Washers

What You Need To Know

· How all lights and indicators function

· How your windscreen wipers and windows operate

· How to monitor exhaust emissions

· Know how to check seats, seatbelts and head restraints

Further to the items above, you also need to familiarise yourself with all the warning displays on your vehicle instrument panel. It’s not uncommon to encounter questions on the theory test related to a vehicle’s dashboard panel.

When starting a car, if there is a problem with the vehicle, your instrument panel will indicate the source of the problem. It could be a low oil level for example, so as part of your theory test and practical driving exam you would need to know how to add oil to a vehicle.

Tyres are also another common theme when it comes to vehicle maintenance. Knowing your tyre pressures and being able to identify when a tyre is so worn that it needs changing, could be the difference in passing your theory test and practical driving exam.

For instance, do you know what the legal tread limit is for a tyre used on a car being driven on the road? Well, now is the time to find out…

You will also need to know what impact damaged tyres could have on the rest of a vehicle. For example, under-inflated or over-inflated tyres will affect steering performance and braking capabilities.

That concludes part one of this series… Watch this space for part two!!!

The Hazards of Counterfeit Automobile Parts

When purchasing automobile parts, you are making the assumption that the parts are original. Unfortunately, the growth of counterfeit auto parts is harming the auto supply industry, the overall U.S. economy, and puts drivers and passengers in extreme danger. What can be done about the problem? Consumer awareness! Let’s explore the effect of fake car parts on American life.

What exactly is a fake part? Is it an inferior branded item or something completely different? Counterfeiters are ‘wise’ in that they do not create and market a low cost alternative brand, instead they copy well known existing brands. The Jeep parts you purchase may come in a package that is nearly identical to the one marketed by DaimlerChrysler, but only the package is the same: the product you are purchasing is of an inferior quality [not equaling manufacturer specifications] that can damage your car. Reports about counterfeit brake pads have circulated for years; deaths attributed to accidents involving fake parts have been recorded.

According to the Department of Commerce, the US economy loses approximately $200 billion a year from the counterfeiting of trademarked consumer products and as many as 210,000 jobs have been lost. Worldwide, it is estimated that as much as 9% of the global economy is based on trafficked counterfeit goods, many of these items being auto parts. In Germany, fake VW parts as well as counterfeit BMW parts have surfaced compromising the quality and safety of the two brands.

So, what products are especially prone to being copied? Unfortunately, virtually everything. The following, are some of the items reported by the original equipment manufacturers to be frequent targets of counterfeiting and the “ingredients” they contain:

Brake pads containing sawdust

Fire extinguishers filled with flour

Transmission fluid laced with dyed oil

Filter stuffed with rags

Here are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing new auto parts:

To avoid purchasing counterfeit products only shop with a reputable supplier; e.g. authentic VW parts as well as manfacturer made BMW parts will be sold by recognized online providers. If a part somehow manages to find its way into the inventory of a respected auto parts supplier, you can return or an exchange the item.

The price of an item on eBay or at the flea market is probably “too good to be true” for a reason. Counterfeiters use flea markets extensively to market their wares while eBay and some other auction sites are notorious for passing inferior products.

Examine the packaging and check for incorrect spelling. Ford auto filters have appeared on auto supplier shelves with the words “Food” substituted for Ford and “Motograft” for Motorcraft.

The trafficking of counterfeit auto parts will likely be a long term problem, so you – the consumer – can play an important part by shopping wisely and examining the part before you install it on your vehicle. The safety of you and your loved ones can be compromised without exercising diligence.