If you want to carry your vehicle for a single time or temporarily, you might want to consider taking the tow dolly service. However, remember that using a tow dolly for a long distance can end up damaging your car, so choose wisely. Other than that, as this installation can be expensive, make sure you know how long you will use it.
If you have decided on using a tow bar, you must know the answer to how to use a towing bar. Well, Bills Mobile Hitch And Tow Bar Installation is here to help you with our easy and simple tow bar installation guide. But, before we jump into the process of using a tow bar, let’s first understand some essential factors and prior steps you must consider taking.
Start By Looking For The Right Tow Bar For Your Vehicle
Before anything, you need to find a suitable tow bar for your car. However, how will you know which tow bar is best for your vehicle? Here are some steps to follow:
Step 1: Deciding Whether A Tow Bar Is The Best Option Or Not
For a few motorhome owners, the tow bar is the best solution. However, there is another option too, which is a tow dolly. The difference between the two is: the tow dolly pulls your car on two wheels, and the tow bar draws your car on four wheels.
- If your car can get towed with its four wheels down, you must consider installing a tow bar, as it will be your best option. However, if your vehicle is under warranty, you must avoid attaching a tow bar.
- Pulling the tongue of a tow dolly is complex, and you will need to put some strength into it. Therefore, if you want this process to be effortless or are unable to put strength, you should consider having a tow bar.
- A tow bar is much easier to load and disassemble than a tow dolly. That’s why you should go for a tow bar if you plan to attach and detach this often.
- There is not much difference in the cost of both towing equipment. So, ultimately, it depends on your preference as well as the needs of your car and motorhome.
Step 2: Consulting The Owner’s Manual For Both Vehicles
Before you proceed with installing a tow bar, it’s vital that you understand whether your RV can actually pull your car. Now, how will you know what’s the towing limit of your vehicle? This limit will depend on the towing vehicle you own. Therefore, it’s vital that you know about the towing limit of your large vehicle.
- Start by looking for the owner’s manual for your vehicle. However, if you can’t find it, your next best option will be to look for a compliance certification label. This document is typically present close to the driver’s door. In case you cannot stop this label, you should try checking near the door sill. You will be able to spot it when you open the front door of your vehicle.
- There are also special cases that allow your vehicle to tow specific loads. If you own an RV, you’ll need to cover some certain miles into it to make its transmission capable of holding the load of your car.
- Unable to find the owner’s manual for your vehicle? You can learn about the weight of your car’s particular model from the owner’s manual you get with it. And remember that your car’s weight should be less than the towing weight limit of your motorhome. Just search for your car model weight on the internet if you can’t find the manual.
Step 3: Selecting A Tow Bar Design
So, now you must choose a tow bar design. While choosing it, you’ll have two options, i.e., car-mounted tow bar or motorhome-mounted tow bar. You’ll place the RV-mounted bar into the receiving end of the RV hitch receiver. Individuals usually prefer this method because there is no need to remove them from the front of the towed car.
- You also have the option to load them in your car whenever the bar is not in use. In case you decide to use the car-mounted tow bar, you will have to store it on the front of the car. Furthermore, it will be easier for you to detach these when you’re not using them.
Step 4: Purchasing A Tow Mounting Bracket
Well, you’ll need to choose either one of the tow bars for your vehicle. However, before you decide to attach the tow bar to your car, you first need to attach a mounting bracket to it. The mounting bracket, which is also known as a baseplate, helps connect the towed vehicle to the tow bar.
- This mounting bracket will be fixed to your car’s back, which will range from the core support, frame, or subframe. And sometimes, it can even be attached to the vehicle’s undercarriage. It is crucial that your baseplate matches the fit of your motorhome and the car which the RV will tow.
Step 5: Checking The Braking System
Since you’ll be carrying a heavy load with your motorhome, it becomes essential to check your vehicle’s braking system to prevent accidents. Therefore, here for safety purposes, you’ll need to consider investing in a supplemental braking system.
- There is always a possibility of your towed car’s inertia being more than your motorhome brakes can handle. In the maximum number of US states, you need to use an additional braking system if you’re planning to carry a load that is more than 1500 pounds.
- You must know that there is a variety of secondary braking systems. Typically, they’re of two types, i.e., Electronic brakes and Surge brakes. The first braking system type, electronic brakes, is connected to your tow’s vehicle control. On the other hand, surge brakes are part of the independent systems which get activated through momentum. Before using the surge brakes, confirm whether they’re legal to run in your state.
Step 6: Making Sure That You’re Carrying All The Essential Safety Equipment
Before you tow anything with your RV, you must confirm your vehicle’s safety first. Therefore, you need to ensure that you carry safety cables. These cables are tied between both your vehicles and play a significant role in safety if, for some reason, something goes wrong with attaching the tow bar. So, if your car gets detached from the motorhome, these safety cables will help keep your vehicles together.
- In addition to that, it’s essential that your vehicle’s lights are working properly. When traveling on a public road with cargo, you must ensure that other vehicles behind you can clearly see your car behind the towing truck. Suppose your car lights are not working properly. In that case, you will become prone to road accidents, which can sometimes even take a significant turn. Therefore, make sure you have working lights, as it enhances your safety as well as the other people traveling.
Coming To The Installing Part, Mounting The Tow Bar To The Vehicle
Now, you’re done with all the prior preparations you need to make before installing a tow bar in your vehicle. So, let’s move to the process of “how to use a towing bar.”
Step 1: Looking For A Sound Mounting Area
As your car will be pulled from its front by a towing truck or RV, it becomes essential that you find a proper mourning spot for the tow bar. For this, you need to find a sturdy and strong location near your car’s front bumper. After that, you must also check if the tow bar fits safely and correctly on your car’s front bumper.
- Additionally, verify whether your vehicle has enough space and width on its bumper in order to drill holes for attaching the tow bar. To perform this function, you may want to consider taking the help of a friend or family member. While arranging the tow bar, ensure it is in a completely parallel position. Now, holding the bar parallel to yourself can be challenging, and that’s why you should look for another person’s help. For this process, you may need to remove your vehicle’s side panels or the interior boot trim.
- Also, ensure you attach the tow bar to your car’s bumper.
Step 2: Getting The Car Ready For Drilling
Now comes the drilling part in your vehicles. First of all, you must not take drilling as an easy job. If not done correctly, drilling can harm you as well as your vehicles. Furthermore, the repair cost for the damaged car can be quite a lot in a few cases. So, before you pick the drill and take action, ensure you know how it will be done. This is because there are chances of you accidentally drilling into your car’s radiator. And this can cause electrical damage too.
- Firstly, place a cross tape of the size of one inch at the place of drilling in your car.
- This method helps you prevent the sliding of the drill from the location where you intend to create holes.
- Next, use a sharp center punch and a hammer to make a light dent in the bumper. This way, when you start your drill, the drill bit will stay at one point when it goes into the vehicle.
- Suppose you have never drilled into metal before, or you don’t have enough expertise to do this job. In that case, you have the option to seek professional help such as Bills Mobile Hitch And Tow Bar Installation. A professional tow bar installation service consists of drilling into your car bumper to place a tow bar and all other things that make up for a perfect tow bar installation. Indeed, you will need to make some extra expenses, but it is still better than making a mistake and damaging your vehicle in the process.
Step 3: Drilling The Holes For Your Tow Bar
For this step, you will be drilling the bolts through the tow bar holes into the frame or chassis of your vehicle. Here, the frame relates to your car’s front bumper undercarriage.
- Firstly, you need to drill a hole that should be smaller than the bolt. You can achieve this by placing a smaller drill bit. In order to create a 3/8-inch hole, you must use a 1/3-inch drill bit. After that, you must increase the hole size by using a 3/16-inch bit. Once this process is over, you can finally switch to a 3/8 bit for proper drilling.
- While this process is running, ensure you have a person accompanying you from the other side of the tow bar. That person must stand holding the tow bar from the other side because achieving straight holes in your car is extremely vital.
- You can check all the information you need in the manual that comes with the tow bar package you purchase. In case you’re unable to find that info, you can make use of a ruler to measure out the width.
Step 4: Securing The Brackets To The Vehicle
So, once you’re done with making the right size holes into the bumper, the next thing you must do is slide the bolts into your vehicle’s chassis or frame. This bolt size can differ based on your vehicle type and your tow bar size. However, you must ensure the bolt size matches the bracket hole size. Furthermore, it should align with the holes you have created using a drill in your car bumper.
- Ensure you pass the bolts through your vehicle’s bumper and the tow bar bracket. Furthermore, you must get your hands on bolts with a nut and washer set that aligns with the bracket size. Once done, use a socket wrench to tighten them up.
Step 5: Installing The Pivot Brackets
Now you’re done securing the bar to your vehicle’s front bumper. Your next step involves attaching the pivot brackets. The brackets will go from the tow bar to the towing vehicle. The size of the bracket can vary a bit based on what type of tow bar you’re using. However, the securing process will remain the same with all pivot brackets.
- In the market, you can find a variety of brackets that will match your needs. In these, a few of the brackets will be adjustable. Meanwhile, you also have A-Frame structures which are rigid and attached to your tow bar. In the kit, you will be able to spot a separate pair of bolt and nut hardware. This hardware size will be slightly bigger than the tow bar hardware you used. You need to thrust the brackets into both ends of the tow bar. After that, you must tighten it.
- If you’re using pivot brackets that come with adjustable arms, ensure you don’t wholly tighten up the bolts. When working, the bracket is meant to move a little. But, in all this, make sure to verify the bolts before connecting your car. If these bolts come out from their position, it can be disastrous for you and the person driving behind you. You need to create a balance between not over-screwing the bolt and not leaving the pivot bracket too loose.
Step 6: Wiring The Tow Bar
Now, before we move to the final step of how to use a towing bar, we must finish this step of wiring the tow bar. You need to ensure that the braking lights flow between your vehicle’s electrical systems. With the turn signal lights and brake lights working together for both of your vehicles, you can guarantee the safety of other people traveling on the road.
- There are mainly two electrical systems for towing, including the 12S and 12N systems. Each of these will correspond to a unique light in the two vehicles. 12S is the best choice for motorhomes and caravans, and the 12N is great for standard vehicles. You need to attach the system between the towing vehicle and the car by using the color order pins on the wiring sockets.
- Removal of tail lights is one of the safest options, and you can easily remove them from your motorhome. If you’re not planning to tow your vehicle too often, you have the option to choose the removable tail lights. These lights are not actually connected to your vehicle’s electrical systems.
- The lights are placed at your towed car’s back, and the wiring wraps around the underneath of your towed vehicle and attaches to your towing vehicle’s electrical system. However, if you need to pull often, you may want to consider some other option than these tail lights.
Step 7: Attaching The Safety Chains Between The Towing Vehicle And The Car
Now, your cargo is almost ready to get towed. However, before you move your RV with your car, you must place the safety chains. Not using safety chains while towing a vehicle is considered illegal. Furthermore, these chains guarantee your safety as well as the other people traveling behind you. You can’t simply stop placing pivot brackets and attaching the car to the towing truck or RV.
- You need to carry two sets of safety cables in order to start this process. The long set of safety cables will connect your RV hitch to the baseplate arms of the pivot bracket. After that, you will attach the short set between the baseplate arms to the tow bar frame mount.
- By attaching these cables to both your vehicles, you can ensure that your car will not bolt into the traffic, even if unhitching occurs for some reason. Also, if this is your first experience attaching a tow bar, it becomes extremely crucial that you use these safety cables since there is a high chance of mistakes.
- In some states of the US, it is mandatory to carry two sets of safety chains. So, before you start towing, make sure you read the safety chain laws your state has. This way, you’ll know whether you need to attach a second set.
So, this was the wrap for how to use a towing bar. While this installation process is not that complicated, if you have no experience doing it, you should consider taking the help of a professional.
At Bills Mobile Hitch And Tow Bar Installation, you can avail of the best tow bar installation service. Our professional installers can make the whole process quick without you needing to move a single muscle. From tow bar parts to safety cables, our technicians will do the perfect job you seek. To call in our expert, call us at (623) 210-5427.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you want to use a towing bar on your vehicle, follow these steps:
- Firstly, look for a good mounting area.
- Then, get the car ready for drilling.
- Next, you need to drill the holes in your tow bar.
- After that, secure the brackets to the vehicle.
- Now, you need to install the pivot brackets.
- Moreover, you must wire your tow bar.
- Finally, attach the safety chains between the towing vehicle and the car.
No, you should never lock the steering of the vehicle you’re towing. In case you do this, your vehicle wheel will drag sideways every time you take a turn. So, make sure you keep the steering wheel unlocked, so the wheels and the car don’t get damaged in the process.