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What Type Of Tow Bar Should I Put On My Car?

What Type Of Tow Bar Should I Put On My Car?

So, you need a towbar? Have any idea of the kind you need? Often people mistake needing a towbar meaning any towbar however, the kind of towbar depends on the type of car you drive and what you intend on towing.

Which Tow Bar Do I Need?

Bars N Racks are an experienced tow bar fitting company in Sydney and can offer you advice on what you need to get you ready for towing provided the vehicle you own is capable of towing what you need. Getting the right tow bar for your vehicle is paramount, and for this reason we recommend speaking to a professional who can quote you on fitting a towbar to your vehicle that suits your needs and has the capacity to tow the weight you need.

Choosing The Right Tow Bar

Tow bars come in a range of shapes, sizes and weights and it all depends on what you are towing and the type of vehicle you have in order to get the correct one. Bars N Racks are a long established Tow Bar shop in Sydney with a team available to assist you in getting a tow bar fit correctly the first time.

First, we need to understand what you are driving, what you intend on towing and make sure your requirements are legal before we fit you up with one. We need to make sure that your needs and requirements will be safe for you to tow and for other road users around you.

Types Of Tow Bars

There are three different tow bars to choose from.
*Rear Step
*Flat Tongue
*Horizontal Hitch

Rear Step Towbar

These towbars are designed to be used on mainly 4WD only. This kind of towbar tends to stick further out from the rear of the vehicle than other towbars do. The rear step then is fitted onto it. These are best suited to the 4WD vehicle as they make for better ground clearance than a regular towbar when you are taking the vehicle off-roading. The downside to them is that they are much heavier and only manufactured for certain models of 4WD and Utes.

Flat Tongue Towbar

Theflat tongue towbars are designed to be fitted to lighter vehicles and loads such as towing smaller trailers with light loads. The flat tongue tow bar has a detachable tow ball and this fits in easily to the horizontal slot of the towbar.

The "tongue" of the tow ball is secured by using two large bolts to ensure it is fitted securely. These bolts are then placed through the top of the hitch and give you security and reassurance that you can rely on the bar.

Horizontal Hitch Towbar

The hitch refers to the reinforced metal structure that is attached to the vehicle. The hitch has two components. The trailer hitch attaches to your vehicle and the receiver hitch slides into the trailer hitch and has a surface which the towbar is then bolted onto.

A horizontal hitch is best suited for moving and towing heavier loads. The horizontal hitch bar comes in two sizes:

- 40mm for towing medium size loads
- 50mm for towing heavy-duty towing.

You will have a sturdy pin securing the side of the hitch to keep the receiver in place securely. The horizontal hitch is compatible with the weight distribution hitch.

How To Choose The Right Hitch?

Bars N Racks are a reliable tow bar installation store in Sydney. The team will work with you to get the correct tow bar set up and its vital you get fitted with the correct hitch. A tow ball is the most common type of hitch. Getting the hitch right is vital if you choose the wrong one you could have a disaster on your hands. The wrong hitch can cause damage to both your car and trailer.

50mm Tow Ball

Most towbars come with a 50mm tow ball, this is mostly standard and most also come with a 50mm coupling that connects with this type of hitch.

The benefit of having a standard 50mm tow ball is that it allows for a variety of other uses. Its ideal for mounting spare wheels and bike carriers.

For most towing scenarios your 50mm tow ball is fine, however they allow less formation and swiveling than an off-road coupling.

Articulating Hitches (Off-road Couplings)

AN articulation hitch is also known as an off-road coupling. If your trailer lose control and flip, the full articulation hitch allows the trailer to roll independently of your vehicle you are towing with. This allows the tow vehicle to keep passengers safe and maintain control of the tow vehicle. Articulating hitches connect to a 50mm standard tow ball.

Weight Distribution Hitch

Bars N Racks tow bar installation services expert will advise you at this stage if you need to purchase a weight distribution hitch. You generally require these when you are towing something big and heavy such as a larger caravan. Using just a standard 50mm tow ball with a heavy trailer can cause the back of the vehicle to sag and the front of the trailer to tip forward.

By installing the weight distribution hitch and fitting it will make sure the weight is evenly spread across the vehicle and the trailer. Without a weight distribution hitch, the weight will be focussed on the tow ball and this a bad thing for everything. This is the main reason that this hitch is essential when you have plans on towing a heavy caravan.

Weight distribution hitches come in different sizes to suit your trailer and they range from heavy duty to mini ones depending on exactly what your car and van size is.

You need to consider though that some hitches and not designed to work with OEM (original Equipment Manufacturer) towbars, and not all hitches work with all vehicles. It is important you speak to an experienced fitter to make sure your vehicle is capable of using one before making any purchases.

Why Do I Need To Be Sure Of Towbar Classes?

Towbars are classes into weight classes, and they are used to measure the tow capacity of a towbar. The weight classes are based upon the type of towbar and how it is mounted onto the vehicle.

It is important that you have the correct towbar class based on your load you are towing and the vehicle you own. Using the wrong towbar can cause massive damage to your vehicle. You also have risk issues to braking and how the vehicle handles on the road. Towing something that is way too heavy ads way too much pressure to your vehicles engine and you risk damaging this or worse needing to replace it. In addition to all this you can risk damage to your vehicle’s transmission. Sounds scary? This is the reason Bars N Racks recommends seeking advice on the ideal tow bar for your vehicle from an expert fitter.

There are three different classes of towbars.

Class 2 Standard Towbars

Class 2 are the lightest tow bar of the lot, and they can only carry a maximum load of up to 1200kg. These towbars are only suitable for a single motorcycle trailer or a small 6x4 metre trailer. They are classed as Light-duty and require a flat tongue hitch. The kind of vehicle they are suited to are a hatchback and do not need a weight distribution hitch at all.

Class 3 Towbar

The Class 3 Towbar is made to carry any medium load and have a rating of up to 1600kg. They are best suited to towing small boats, multi-motorcycle trailers or compact cars. These types of towbars are a medium-duty towbar and have a weight rating of 1600kg. They are designed for the family sedan and can be used to tow a large box trailer easily and do not need to have a weight distribution hitch attached at all.

Class 4 Heavy-Duty Towbars

The main purpose for the Class 4 towbar is for heavy duty towing, as they are designed to tow up to 3500kg. When towing a large, heavy load like a caravan, boat or horse trailer you will need this type of towbar. Note though, that the class 4 is the only class of towbar that is compatible with a weight distribution hitch.

Now have we confused you yet with all this information? It is essential that you understand what your vehicle can tow. You may even need to consider upgrading your vehicle if you realise you have larger loads to move compared to what your existing vehicle can carry. If you are even unsure of whether you have the correct vehicle to tow, a reliable towbar fitting company in Sydney like Bars N Racks has the experience to advise you on this. Alternatively, you can always check in the manufacturers manual of your vehicle to be 100% sure.

Understanding that you can’t add a towbar that tows a heavy trailer to a smaller vehicle is essential also. For this reason, it is always best to seek advice from an expert. You want to ensure that what you tow will get to its destination safely and not suffer any damage to it or the towing vehicle.

Can I Put An Overseas Purchased Towbar On The Vehicle?

In short, the recommendation is no. You cannot be guaranteed that the towbar will meet the Australian Standard classification AS/AZS 4177. You may end up wasting your time and money and risk having no warranty or right to make an insurance claim should you be in an accident as the towbar will be considered unroadworthy. You can tell if your towbar is compliant as all Australian compliant towbars have compliance plates attached under the towbar or on the inside of the frame as proof.

At the end of the day, it is your responsibility to make sure that you purchase the correct towbar for your vehicle. The best way to do this is to be sure you seek advice from a reputable installer. They have the knowledge and experience to ensure you get it right with your purchase the first time and not be out of pocket at all.

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