Towing – Towbars and hitches

A towbar is to a car and caravan what glue is to two pieces of timber. Use the wrong glue and the timber will come apart. Fit the wrong towbar to a car and the caravan may not stay in place.

The capability of a towbar is often over estimated. Generally the only part that is visible is the tongue, lug or ballmount. While sometimes this appears to be quite strong, the actual mountings or thickness of material may leave much to be desired.

In relation to towbars there should be no compromise. Always purchase a recognised product that has a plate attached stating the maximum towing load. If a new vehicle is purchased with a towbar already fitted, do not assume that it matches the towing capabilities of the vehicle. Many towbars are only designed to tow small trailers and not heavily loaded caravans.

Before selecting a towbar, first determine the loaded weight of the caravan or camper trailer. This can only be done by placing the unit on a weighbridge or scales. Then purchase a towbar that can adequately cope with that load.

For larger caravans a heavy duty hitch receiver type towbar is usually required. These units mount onto the vehicle in several positions, enabling the load of the trailer to be distributed over a wide area of the vehicle. As a result less stress is placed on any one part of the vehicle body than would be the case with a conventional towbar. This is most important on modern vehicles that do not use a chassis.

If in doubt as to the best towbar for your vehicle and application, discuss your requirements with a towing equipment specialist. You will then be able to go away and have an enjoyable holiday, knowing that the caravan will follow the car wherever it goes.

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