Attaching a tow bar to a car or truck is a great way to add storage and towing capacities to a vehicle. In order to safely and efficiently tow items, vehicle owners need to make sure tow bar fitments are appropriate and come with the right accessories for their particular cars and trucks. By learning which tow bars and accessories go with specific vehicles, car and truck owners can safely take advantage of the benefits provided by adding towing capabilities to their daily use vehicles.
Understanding weight class and tow bars
Towing a trailer or vehicle safely requires an understanding of vehicle weight classes. Vehicles are more or less capable of carrying specific weights, depending on their size and design.
Class I towing
Class I towing involves moving cargo that weighs less than 900 kilogrammes with a maximum tongue weight of 90 kilogrammes. Vehicles that can usually manage this tow class include subcompacts, compacts, and large trucks.
Class II towing
Towing in this class involves vehicles that can handle up to 1,600 kilogrammes of cargo with a tongue weight of 135 kilogrammes. Subcompact and compact vehicles cannot handle this towing capacity.
Class III towing
Class III involves a tow maximum of 1,600 kilogrammes to 2,700 kilogrammes with a maximum tongue weight of 160 kilogrammes to 270 kilogrammes. Like Class II, Class III only consists of large vehicles and trucks. It also requires the use of a weight distribution hitch to ensure the safest towing.
Class IV and Class V towing
These classes are only for the largest trucks, vans, and SUVs with required weight distribution hitches to ensure safe transportation and towing. These towing capacities accommodate cargo from 2,700 kilogrammes to 8,100 kilogrammes.
Matching a car or truck to a tow class
It is essential that vehicle owners confirm the towing capacities of their vehicles before purchasing tow bars and accessories. The easiest method is to refer to a vehicle's manuals and manufacturer literature. For most vehicles, owners can also find specific information on the jamb of the driver's side door. Drivers should look for several key details.
Gross vehicle weight rating
This number defines the maximum safe operating weight of a vehicle with all passengers and gear included. Any weight above this number could stress a vehicle's transmission, brakes, and engine.
Gross combination weight rating
This number defines the total vehicle weight, including passengers and gear, and the towing capacity a vehicle can handle. Any combined towing setup that exceeds this number could damage a car's transmission, brakes, engine, and even its structural components.
Different types of tow bars and hitches
Once vehicle owners confirm the towing capacities of their vehicles, they can begin searching for appropriate tow bars and hitches. Different types of equipment are available, and each type has its own advantages.
Traditional tow bars
The traditional tow bar is a V-shaped device that allows vehicle owners to tow their vehicles behind operational cars or trucks in the appropriate weight class for the load. The advantage of this approach is that the towed vehicle rolls on all four of its wheels.
Tow dollies lift the front wheels of towed vehicles onto small structures, and only the rear wheels remain on the road. These types of towing setups typically come with their own lights or magnetic lights to help ensure safe operation.
Necessary tow accessories
In addition to a proper tow bar or dolly, vehicle owners should also consider various tow accessories that facilitate safe operation. One key example is a safety chain to back up the connection between a towing vehicle and its cargo. Other important options to consider include trailer brakes and electronically controlled brakes that give the driver comprehensive braking control of the rear and front vehicles. Finally, drivers should consider trailer lamps to ensure the rear vehicle alerts other drivers to its presence and movements.
How to buy tow bars and equipment on eBay
If you are in need of tow bars, hitches, and accessories, you certainly have a wide range of options to choose from on eBay. Start off by finding and using the search bar available on any page. Run a search using a vehicle's make and model along with the phrase "tow bar" or look for a particular style or class of tow hitch. Towing is a safe undertaking if you are willing to conduct due diligence and look for the tow accessories that suit your vehicle's build and towing capacity.