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Towing System Components

There are four major components to any towing system: 1) the tow bar; 2) the mounting bracket; 3) supplemental brakes; and 4) accessories. We offers a wide range of product choices within each category.

Tow bar or tow dolly?
A tow bar is by far the most common method of towing. It allows for the quickest connection to the motorhome; plus, it's lightweight, easy to handle and simple to store.

(There is another way to tow: A tow dolly is ideal for those who want to tow multiple vehicles without having to install a mounting bracket on each one. Plus, a transmission lube pump system isn't necessary for front wheel drive vehicles with automatic transmissions, because the front wheels are off the ground).

 

1. Select the tow bar that's right for you...

(Before towing any vehicle, make certain that it can be towed with all four wheels on the ground, without damage to the transmission — refer to the owner's manual or the dealership. Most vehicles can be towed "as is"; some require aftermarket accessories such as a transmission lube pump system or a driveshaft disconnect. Both products are reliable, time-proven accessories that protect the vehicle's transmission during towing).

There are two basic tow bar designs: motorhome-mounted and vehicle-mounted. Most have "collapsible" arms which slide back and forth, making them easy to connect. Then, as you drive away, the arms automatically extend, self-center and lock in place. When not in use, both can be removed completely or folded against the vehicle for quick, compact storage.

Motorhome-mounted tow bars insert into the motorhome hitch receiver, and can be stored on the back of the motorhome. Motorhome-mounted bars are preferred, because they never have to be lifted off the front of the towed vehicle, and you always have a built-in spot for storage on your motorhome. Or, they can be completely detached and lifted off the motorhome for long-term storage.

Vehicle-mounted tow bars are designed for simplicity and ease of use. They are mounted and stored on the front of the towed vehicle. They also can be completely detached and lifted off the vehicle for storage.

An economical alternative to collapsible tow bars is the "rigid A-frame" design. Because the arms do not adjust ("collapse"), the towed vehicle must be maneuvered into position, to align the tow bar to the hitch receiver on the motorhome. Rigid A-frame tow bars are simple, inexpensive and dependable; however, if you plan to connect and disconnect a towed vehicle frequently, a collapsible tow bar may be a better choice.

Every tow bar is rated at a specific weight capacity. Whichever tow bar you choose, it must be rated above the weight of your towed vehicle, plus its contents.

2. Connect to a tow bar baseplate (mounting bracket(...

Regardless of the type of tow bar you choose, a mounting bracket is required. Mounting brackets have one purpose: to connect the tow bar to the towed vehicle. Each bracket is custom-designed to fit a specific vehicle or range of vehicles, and are attached to the frame, subframe, core support or other points along the vehicle's undercarriage.

There are two types of mounting brackets: standard tab and removable tab. The visible portion of standard tab (the attachment points) are fixed; the attachment points on removable tab brackets are easily removed when the vehicle is not being towed. Removable tab brackets are preferred because they are virtually invisible when the vehicle is not being towed.

3. A supplemental braking system...

At highway speeds, or during a panic stop, the inertia of a towed vehicle's weight may be too much for the motorhome's brakes to handle alone. This is where a supplemental braking system comes in. For additional detailed information on braking systems, please visit our Braking 101 page.

 

4. Safety equipment and accessories...

Safety cables are secondary safety devices, required by law in almost every state. While in tow, every vehicle must be wired for functioning brake lights, turn signals and running lights. There are three ways to accomplish that: a system of diodes (the Universal Wiring Kit); a taillight kit (also called a "bulb and socket kit"); or magnetic lights.

Each method has its advantages. Whichever one you choose, we have a kit with all the necessary components, and step-by-step instructions.