A Car Tow Bar Buying Guide

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A Car Tow Bar Buying Guide

A car tow bar is something that many people find extremely useful when camping, moving, or towing a small trailer. There are many different types of car tow bar from which to choose, and finding one that suits the needs of the person purchasing it can be confusing. Since tow bars can be used for a great many activities, a person should purchase one that can be used for every activity in which they engage. Most tow bars are inexpensive and easily mounted to the frame of a variety of different cars.

Tow bars can be purchased from auto supply shops and on the online auction site, eBay. When purchasing a tow bar, it is important to know the make, model, year, and style of the car. It is also good to know where the tow points are on the car. These can usually be found in the car's owner's manual. In order to choose the best tow bar for a car, there are a few things that should be considered, such as the size and weight bearing capability of the car, the main purpose as well as any other purposes for which the tow bar is used, and which tow bar is best for the individual's needs.

Size and Weight Bearing Capacity of the Car

There are many different sizes of automobiles and each model of car usually has a slightly different towing capacity. Knowing the towing capacity of the individual car helps the owner decide on which type of tow bar is best. Usually the towing capacity of any car or truck can be found in a variety of places. The first place to look for the towing capacity of the car is in the car's owner's manual. It is usually stated clearly under the specifications of the car under towing capacity. Another place it can be found is on the inside of the driver's side door where the door meets the door jam. The specifications are printed a sticker so it may not still be attached to older vehicles. The towing capacity of the car can be found by either calling or visiting the manufacturer of the car, either in a dealership or on the web. Many companies that produce tow bars also maintain a list of which cars their tow bars may be used.

Once the towing capacity is known, it is important that this capacity not be exceeded. The towing capacity of the car is the total amount of weight the car can pull without causing damage to the frame, engine, or transmission. Many of the tow bar companies also specify the potential damage of exceeding the specifications.

The Uses for a Tow Bar

There are many uses for a tow bar. Before taking the time to attach one to the vehicle, it is best to decide what the main use is. The different styles of tow bars have different uses and capacities. Although many tow bars are one-size-fits-all, there is weight distribution and trailer size to consider.

When the weight distribution is uneven, it can drag or seriously damage the car. If it drags the car, it can damage the braking and suspension systems of the car. If the trailer is too big for the car, then the car can suffer damage to the engine, transmission, suspension, and the braking systems.

There are many different uses for a tow bar. Once it is attached to the car, a typical ball or a more advance towing system can be added. From this point, most people add the ball and use it to tow any number of standard trailers.

Some of the more common uses for a tow bar are to tow campers, boats, or a flat trailer for a variety of things. The uses for a good tow bar are absolutely endless, and it is an extremely versatile tool to have. Before purchasing a tow bar, decide upon its primary use.

Types of Tow Bar

There are three basic types of tow bar that can be purchased. There is the self-aligning vehicle mount, the self-aligning receiver mount, and the rigid A-frame mount. Each tow mount can be used for different purposes and has different advantages and disadvantages.

Type of Tow Bar



Self-aligning receiver mount

Easy to line up

Comes in a variety of weights

Can be used with ball system

Easy to mount

Easy to install

Needs additional components

May have weight restrictions

Not suitable for all vehicles

Self-aligning vehicle mount

Easy to line up

Has a variety of weights and sizes

Fits most cars

Can be integrated with a ball system

Easy to install

Not suitable for all newer vehicles

May damage fibreglass if mounting point is too high or low

Rigid A-Frame Mount

Works for almost all towing needs

Most common type

More stable than other mounts

Works with a ball mount and other mounting styles

Easy to install

Not easy to take off of vehicle

Rigidity provides little flexibility

Each style of mount works for small towing needs. They can be used with a flat trailer, dolly, boat trailer, or other type of trailer. Ultimately, a buyer has to weigh the pros and cons of each standard type of tow bar to find the one that perfectly suits their needs. This is by no means a listing of all available tow bars, but these are the ones that are most practical for cars and small MPVs.. When the primary use of the tow bar is decided upon, then the ease of use and weight bearing capacity of various tow bars needs to be compared before purchasing.

Things to Remember

There are many things to keep in mind when using and purchasing a tow bar. The first, of course, is that the vehicle may drive differently while towing weight. It can easily be dragged one way or another by the weight particularly in adverse weather conditions. There is also a learning curve when parking, turning, and backing up while using a tow bar and trailer. When purchasing a tow bar and towing a trailer, these are all things that need to be taken into consideration. Some tow bars are rigid, which essentially make the vehicle and trailer one long vehicle, while other tow bars act more like a fifth wheel allowing the trailer to turn after the vehicle. Knowing the driver's style of driving can be very important. It is easy to cause damage to a vehicle or trailer no matter which type is purchased. When buying a tow bar, make sure to remember to consider the driving conditions in which it is to be used and the person who drives the vehicle most frequently.

There are particular considerations to be made when purchasing a tow bar for a boat trailer. If the boat is going to be put into a marina, the tow bar and vehicle must be high enough not to cause water damage to the vehicle. This can be compensated for by using a longer tow bar. Using a longer tow bar may create problems when parking the car without a trailer attached as well. A buyer needs to remember that the tow bar sticks out further, and this needs to be compensated for in an ordinary parking lot.


When purchasing a car tow bar, it is important to first decide what the main purpose of the tow bar is to be. This can help the buyer decide which of the three main types of tow bar best suits their needs. The main types of tow bar include: self-aligning receiver mount, self-aligning vehicle mount, and the rigid frame mount. Although there are other types, these are the three main types, and also the three that are said to be the easiest to install and use. Once the type of tow bar is decided upon, it is important to make sure the weight limits and capacities match those of the vehicle and trailer. These facts are usually written on the tow bar, trailer, and vehicle. The weight of the object being towed is usually listed on the boat or other craft being towed, but when using a flat trailer, the weight must be guessed. Although there are many places to purchase the different varieties of tow bar, a place that has a very broad selection is the online marketplace, eBay..

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