Towbars are a great resource to add on to your vehicle as they have many uses. From pulling trailers to caravans or simply adding a bike rack to do out for a ride, they have many uses, you just need to make sure you get fitted with the correct one for your vehicle.
Basically, a towbar is a device that is attached to your vehicle’s chassis and with the use of a coupling device, like a tow ball, connects to a trailer or caravan so you can tow it behind your vehicle.
When you think about a tow bar you need to think of what you will be towing. Bars N Racks are a well-known tow bar retailer in Sydney who have years of experience in installing towbars for many different kinds of adventures! First thing we will ask you, what vehicle do you have and what are you intending on towing?
Making sure that your vehicle is up to the task of towing is essential before you commit to getting something installed. If you want to check on this firstly then you should have all the information you need in your vehicle manual book. It will state the maximum towing capacity your vehicle can tow. Just remember that the GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass) is the total weight the car can pull including cargo and people in the vehicle not just what is in the trailer or caravan behind you! If you exceed this, then you are illegally towing so you need to be aware of this.
There are three types if towbar classifications in Australia. Class 2,3 & 4. The amount of weight you will be able to tow is determined by the Class of towbar you can purchase for the tow vehicle.
Class 2 or Light Duty: This is designed for towing small loads including a 6×4 trailer or a bike rack. You generally do not have a removable tow ball hitch or tongue. This is rated to 1200kg.
Class 3 or Medium Duty: This is designed for boats or jet skis. These towbars don’t have a removable tow ball hitch or tongue. This is rated for 1600kg.
Class 4 or Heavy Duty: This is designed to tow up to the maximum capacity of the vehicle and is usually installed on SUV’s & 4WD’s. These towbars can basically pull anything including caravans, car trailers and super yachts!
Install time! This is here things get exciting. Can you install it yourself? The answer is yes as long as you are confident. If you are not 100% sure or confident,you can feel free to contact Bars N Racks for assistance as we are an experienced tow bar fitting service in Sydney. If you are planning on tackling this install alone, you will need to have the following items on hand once you have purchased your towbar.
1. Read up on tutorials to follow how you install and the tools you will need.
2. Assemble the towbar kit and tools required. If you don’t have a set tool list supplied with your towbar, you will at least need a socket set, screwdrivers (Phillips head and flat) of various sizes and shank length, a torque wrench and a tape measure. Additional cable ties to tidy up wiring.
3. Disconnect the vehicle battery and remove any components at the rear of the vehicle required for access while fitting the towbar. You may have to remove the taillights and rear bumper bar and bumper supports. Some other vehicles are far simpler, you may just also need to remove the boot carpet trim and underlay.
4. Remove the bumper supports if necessary. This is a common step for newer model cars with plastic bumpers, as the towbar in effect becomes a structural support itself.
5. Prepare the bumper for cutting, using the materials supplied or by measuring the centre line yourself. If you are unsure, mark your measurements on the bumper and take it to the vehicle to see if it matches up. You don’t want to cut wrong before it is mounted on the vehicle.
6. Cut the plastic bumper with either a small cutting tool or hand cut with a fine-blade hacksaw (which is time-consuming, but you’re less likely to make a mistake if you have not done this before). If you’re not happy with the result, buy some automotive pinch weld (available from hardware or automotive outlets) and fit it to the bumper cut-out – it’ll look a lot neater.
7. Modify any vehicle components as required and refit
8. Fit the towbar up to the vehicle, insert the mounting bolts and torque to specifications. This can be done by yourself, but it is a lot easier with a assistant, as towbars are typically 20kg-plus.
9. Wire up the trailer connection, in most cases with the supplied loom. If no loom is supplied, then you’ll need 4mm-gauge insulated copper wire and clip connectors. Some newer vehicles require a dedicated loom, though, because if you tap into the taillight connections – as is possible with older vehicles – the newer vehicles will sense the current drain and declare it as a fault.
10. Refit the bumper and other components removed prior to bar fitment and re-torque to the manufacturer’s specifications. It is essential you get this correct.
11. The last bits and pieces: secure the trailer connector, bolt up the tow ball and secure the hitch to the receiver with the lock and pin (and tighten the anti-rattle bolt, if fitted). Test the trailer connector ports to ensure they are receiving voltage.
As you can see, there is quite a lot in installing a tow bar on your own and you need to be completely confident that you fully understand what you are doing. You need to remember if you make one simple mistake the tow bar may not be installed correctly, risking yourself and others on the road to a dangerous situation that may occur if you are not following every step involved to the letter.
A towbar installation is something that is involved and yes you are removing and cutting the bumper. If you do not feel confident you may be thinking, is there a tow bar installation near me, who you can take the vehicle to and be confident the job is done correctly. The answer to this is always yes. Bars N Racks have installers who can remove the stress, save you time and have you out towing faster than you can pack a camping bag!!!!
A towbar is a fantastic add on accessory for your vehicle, making it something that is versatile to take you and your boat, caravan or Jet Ski out for some fun in the sun. It also assists in removing or transporting necessary items from one place to another. If you think you are ready to tackle installing this on your own, make sure you follow the instructions and do not make short cuts as chances are you will put yourself, family and other road users at risk with the items you tow.
If you get into trouble, always seek the assistance of a professional. You will pay a fee to do this but at the end of the day you cannot put a price on safety.
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Enjoy the breathtaking views of Stockton
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