RV tow bar basics
Recreational vehicle travel continues to grow rapidly around the world. Traveling home away from home is convenient, comfortable and flexible, allowing the traveler to go to a wide variety of historical sites, beautiful places, and simply escape anywhere. Once the RV is set up in the campground, RV park, or wilderness area, and you’ve seen and visited all the sites within walking distance or on the park bus, are you happy just sitting back and watching the grass grow? ? Wouldn’t it be great not to have to drive your big beautiful motorhome and just jump in a car to see the next door towns, the nearby historical site, go shopping?
Then just tow your car!
It is a comprehensive three-part system when it comes to towing a vehicle: the RV, the towed vehicle, and the towing apparatus. There are also three basic towing methods: the hauling unit / trailer, with vehicles inside; the dolly, where the vehicle travels on a two-wheeled trailer. Both systems are great and useful, but can often be a hindrance when trying to park in a campground or RV park with your motorhome and trailer, usually not enough space, for such a large system.
That’s why the third option, RV tow bars, are so popular. Tow bars are stowage, lightweight, and allow the RV owner greater flexibility with their choice of towed vehicle. There are also three types of tow bars:
* Rigid Frame A – Least expensive, uses solid arms, it is often difficult to attach the towed vehicle to the RV alone, and often two people are needed to get the job done. The towed vehicle must be positioned in a precise place due to the inflexibility of the solid arms.
* Self-aligning car mount: increased flexibility to position the vehicle due to the adjustable arms. The tow bar, if left in the car, could be damaged while left in the car, which can cause safety concerns, can be heavy for the towed car, and can distract from the natural ‘beauty’ of the towed vehicle .
* Self-aligning RV Mount – This system is becoming more popular every year. It removes the RV’s tow ball hitch, which is often low and hits the ground when entering parking lots, and can be folded down to keep it safe and secure.
When choosing a tow bar type and manufacturer, consider where you are traveling and your access to parts and service for your brand of choice.
It is also important to get a tow bar that is suitable to work with your vehicle. Points to consider include where the bar can be mounted on your vehicle, the weight of your vehicle, and even the type of vehicle you are towing. Front-wheel drive, manual transmissions can be towed easily; Front-wheel drive automatic transmissions will likely require a lube pump as an addition; Rear-wheel drive vehicles require some type of release for the driveshaft; certain 4WD vehicles are easily towed. Every automaker has certain vehicles that are ready to be towed off the lot, as they say; The recommendation is always to check the manufacturer’s recommendations and what works best for you in terms of accessibility, serviceability, and performance.
Proper care of your tow bar system is critical. It’s a fact that most travelers get a new vehicle towed every two years and a different RV a few years later, but the tow bar is rarely updated. 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 your parts, pins and tighten all bolts, even replace them when possible – the price of a bolt is much less than that of a totaled vehicle and loose parts can increase vibrations resulting in damage to all parts. Make sure you have all the necessary accessories and that they all work as required, such as straps, light connectors, and safety cables.
So before choosing your new tow bar, make sure you know:
A) If your vehicle can be towed,
B) RV towing capacity,
C) how often you travel and tow,
D) you have matched weight capacities,
E) which has all the necessary accessories.
Answer those, choose your tow bar and tow!