Tow Bar Basics | Four-wheeled vehicle towing

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Towing hitch

Hooking your vehicle up to a towing hitch could require a tow bar. Image: Wikimedia Commons

There are hundreds of reasons you might find yourself needing to tow a vehicle. If you have two cars that need to get to one place, then using a tow bar could save you time, money, stress, and fuel. Picking the proper tow bar, installing it correctly, and using it correctly can seem intimidating, but it is actually relatively simple.

The basics of a tow bar

A tow bar is an attachment that turns any vehicle into a trailer. Rather than loading a car on a trailer or using a two-wheel system, a tow bar turns your car itself into a trailer. There are two types of tow bars — rigid and collapsible. Rigid tow bars are less expensive, but they take more setup time. Collapsible tow bars are easier to handle, but more expensive. Either way, a tow bar attaches to the front of a vehicle and is intended to attach to a towing hitch on the back of the towing vehicle.

Rigid tow bars

Rigid tow bars are usually an A-frame design made of steel or strong aluminum. Some rigid tow bars require a specialty base installed on the vehicle. The rigid design means that the hitch has to be carefully positioned in the center of the vehicle. The simple design, though, means it is much less expensive. The rigid tow bar is also easier to hook up the electronics necessary for legal towing.

Collapsible tow bars

A collapsible tow bar is a better option if you plan on doing a lot of towing. A collapsible bar will self-center, and will engage once you start driving. A collapsible tow bar can also be removed much more easily. The cost of collapsible tow bars also tend to be a little bit higher. If you’re not sure how often you will use a tow bar, start with a rigid tow bar and upgrade to a collapsible later.

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One Comment

  1. Dennis Schutt on

    I am an attorney involved in a law suit involving a towing accident where a tow bar was being used. I need an expert who can testify regarding tow bars and their proper usage.