Help! Which Towbar Do I Need?

August 10 2017

If you want to hitch a trailer to move house, or hitch a caravan to take your house on the road, adding an adjustable tow bar to your vehicle will give you the towing capacity you’re looking for.

Before you get towing, there are a few things to look in to. First you need to understand what your car is capable of, including the suspension and tow rating. Then to figure out what kind of tow bar you should get you have to consider the hitch type, load capacity, and any tow bar accessories you need – don’t worry, we can help!

1.    What kind of car?

The first factor for installing a removable tow bar is the car itself. To determine the tow rating for your vehicle, check the handbook or have a look on the manufacturer’s website. All the tow bars we supply have compliance plates so you can be sure the capacities match.

If you haven’t had your suspension checked in a while, we recommend doing so before trying to tow any loads.

2.    What will you be towing?

Between caravans and trailers there are vastly different weights, with so many things that can affect the type of tow bar you need. Knowing the weight of what you are towing is a good start, but there are other things to consider:

  • Road surfaces where you will be driving
  • Loaded and unloaded weights
  • Weather conditions on the trip (if there is lots of wind, you might have to load differently)
  • How long are you travelling for, and how does that affect your car?

3.    Which hitch is which?

There are five classes of tow hitch, starting from low towing capacity and getting heavier:

  • Class 1 allows you to tow up to 450kg, or 1,000 pounds in old money – think a jet ski, small cargo box, or light motorcycle
  • Class 2 is rated to around 1,600kg, suitable for a small trailer or dinghy
  • Class 3 is a little over 3,500kg, good for a medium trailer, fishing boat, or small adult elephant (you never know!)
  • Class 4/5 is rated up to a just over 8,000kg, enough for a large motor home

Adding a weight distributing hitch is essential if your cargo is causing the rear of the car to droop. Even if the weight is getting close to the rated capacity, a distributing hitch is a safety measure that keeps the car steady by distributing the load properly over the wheels.

4.    How do I maintain my tow bar?

It’s a great question – you’ve invested in an adjustable tow hitch and you want to make sure it lasts as long as possible. Tow bar maintenance is a mixed bag of DIY checks and professional upkeep:

  • Regularly check the tow bar for signs of rusting, corrosion, cracks, bends, or other damage
  • Make sure all pins, bolts, and couplings are properly secured (we can show you how to check that)
  • Only the appropriate sized fittings for your removable tow bar can be used. If you’re not sure, call us for a professional second opinion
  • If you see paint peeling away you can touch it up by sanding, applying primer, and repainting
  • Double check load capacity and towing weight before setting out to be sure your tow bar can handle the journey

Now you know what to look for in a tow bar, give West Coast Towbars a call to take the next step. We can help you with expert advice on your tow bar decision, as well as tow bar fitting and maintenance guaranteed by Perth’s best tow bar team.

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