Using Towbars For Towing A Vehicle
If you are planning using towbars to tow a car on it's wheels behind your vehicle or motorhome there are quite a few items you will need to purchase to get your rig set up properly.
First and foremost, towing in this way can be expensive in the initial outlay of money. If you are only towing something once you may want to consider a tow dolly where the vehicle rests two of it's wheels on a little trailer that you tow. Otherwise, it doesn't make financial sense unless you plan to tow often.
Here are the items you need to tow a vehicle behind your rig:
- Safety chains or cables
- Towbar brackets installed on the front of the towed car
- Wiring for the towed car or magnetic lights
- Hitch and wiring on tow vehicle or motorhome
- Braking System for towed car
- Optional: towbar cover and locks
Roadmaster Sterling All Terrain Towbar
The Sterling All Terrain weighs just 35 pounds, yet pulls up to three tons. Steel and stainless steel at every critical point ensure superior strength and structural integrity.
Roadmaster Blackhawk 2 All Terrain Towbar
ROADMASTER's new BlackHawk 2 All Terrain tow bar comes with 10,000 pounds of carrying capacity, plus ROADMASTER's exclusive All Terrain non-binding technology. The BlackHawk 2 is a beefed up version of ROADMASTER's popular BlackHawk All Terrain, with an additional ton of carrying capacity. That's more than enough muscle to tow Suburbans, Hummers, Excursions and full-size pickups.
Roadmaster Falcon All Terrain Towbar
The Falcon All Terrain has all the same great features as the Falcon 2 tow bar, with the addition of ROADMASTER's exclusive All Terrain non-binding technology. With an All Terrain Freedom Latch™, you'll never struggle to connect or disconnect your tow bar. The Freedom Latch releases the tow bar at any angle, level or bind the first time, every time.
Roadmaster StowMaster All Terrain Towbar
The StowMaster All Terrain has all the same great features as the StowMaster tow bar, with the addition of ROADMASTER's exclusive All Terrain non-binding technology. With an All Terrain Freedom Latch™, you'll never struggle to connect or disconnect your tow bar. The Freedom Latch releases the tow bar at any angle, level or bind the first time, every time.
All of this equipment assumes that your towed car is set up for towing. What do I mean by that?
When you tow a car, the car is not running, right? Well if the car is moving, the transmission is turning, but if the car is moving while it is not running, there is no transmission fluid lubricating the parts. Guess what this will do to your transmission? Destroy it, you'd guess? You betcha. So how do you avoid ruining your transmission while towing?
The good news is that some cars like most Saturns and Hondas are already set up for towing. Check the owners manual for the exact instructions on how to set the vehicle up for towing. Many stick-shift cars can be put into neutral for towing as well. Many 4 Wheel drive vehicles with a neutral position in the transfer case can also be towed because this position disengages everything. For every other kind of vehicle, you must replace the drive line with a drive line disconnect unit which allows you to disengage the transmission manually (through a switch under the seat).
Eyers Trailer Hitch Center installs and services products such as driveline disconnects to allow your car to be towed on all 4 wheels behind your motorhome or other tow vehicle.
There is one other option for some older Ford Explorer vehicles. Ford has come out with a computer chip that can be installed that will allow you to put the push button transfer case into neutral. One other item you may want if you plan to tow this way is a speedometer disconnect. This allows you to tow the vehicle without racking up extra miles on the odometer as well as disconnecting the speedometer.
Nowadays, most states and Canada require you to have a braking system installed on your towed vehicle. Canada won't let you in if you don't have one! We love the RVi3 Braking system which is easy to set up and transfers to any another vehicle with ease. It comes with a tablet-controlled monitor for the coach, and breakaway system.
RVi Brake 3 Braking System for towed vehicles behind a motorhome.
No wires, no installation Top View braking RVibrake3 Everything is done through the RVibrake3 in the towed vehicle. There is no wiring or installation from the motorhome. RVibrake3 is activated by the same force that draws your chest forward in a braking, called inertia. An accelerometer in the brake measures these changes and knows when to push softer or harder on the brake pedal, keeping your brake pads from having excessive wear. Terrain sensing software keeps RVibrake3 from being more sensitive downhill and less sensitive uphill, giving you accurate braking at all times.
Towed Battery Charger
There are not many things worse than a dead towed battery when flat towing. Many towed vehicles today have a large current draw on the battery when towing. Towed Battery Charger Plus will prevent this unseen parasitic loss on your towed battery. With LEDs that give feedback of your towed battery and charging voltage there is no more need for a charge line that gives you zero feedback.
As you can imagine, all this equipment starts to add up. But if you are planning to tow often, it really is worth the expense just to have your car with you for driving once you get where you're going. For many people this is the best way to go. It gets very tiring dealing with an extra tow dolly or car trailer when you travel a lot.
Here's one of the many Motorhomes Eyers Hitch Center has set up for towing a vehicle:
These are general guidelines. Different towbars will have slightly different steps.
- Drive the car into position behind your motorhome or vehicle.
- Hook up the two arms of the towbar to the baseplate on the towed vehicle.
- Attach the coupler of the towbar over the ball or insert the towbar into your trailer hitch on the motorhome.
- Attach your safety chains or cables.
- Plug the electrical pigtail cord into each vehicle.
- Place the key in the ignition of the towed car and key to the position where the steering wheel is unlocked. This is usually in the first "click" position.
- Depending on the car, either place the transfer case into neutral, or place the stick shift into neutral, or disengage the drive line with the disconnect switch or engage the lube pump.
- Install your braking system, if applicable, and connect the breakaway switch.
- Test all lights, and double check all systems that they are in working order.
- Pull away.
Sounds real easy doesn't it? I've been told that most divorces are not over the kids or money, it's over trying to hitch, unhitch and park an RV! Practicing and becoming a pro at all these skills could just save your marriage! See my Tips and Techniques article for insider tricks on backing and parking.