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How Are Towbars Fitted To Cars

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  • 01-08-2021
How Are Towbars Fitted To Cars

Do you want to find out: how are tow bars fitted to cars? We look at how a tow bar is installed on a car and which to choose.

Considerations when choosing tow bars

Tow bars aren't as simple as choosing the first or most convenient option. There are a number of factors and related categories when considering which tow bar to choose, such as how much weight you expect to be towing. 

Towing can be used for trailers or even mobile homes such as caravans; while the weight of a trailer is less than a caravan, other factors such as the weight they will also be carrying factor into the size of the tow bar you require. 

While you should always plan for the vehicle's weight, the overall weight you'll be towing is the main focal point. 

Vehicles such as trailers or caravans increase in weight with the larger the load they harbour; failing to account for these weight changes can allow for damages to occur. The most common type of damage being bodywork being ripped away due to the unaccounted for additional stress. 

Car manufacturers will typically supply appropriate tow bar kits and advise on limitations. Installation can vary depending on the style of tow ball you want to be fitted; detachable, fixed, swan neck or flange.

Is My Car Suitable For Towing?

How are Towbars fitted to Cars

How to fit tow bars

Every tow bar bought will typically come with an instruction manual providing you with a step-by-step installation process. Every vehicle is different, so no installation is generally the same - due to this, it is highly recommended you follow the provided instructions. 

Modern cars typically present additional complexities due to their electrics, meaning tow bars aren't as easy to install as they once were. Instructions should be thoroughly read and all the required equipment and parts readily on hand. Installation can vary depending on the style of tow ball you want fitting, detachable, fixed, swan neck or flange.

-Prepare The Car

Not every vehicle comes built for immediate tow bar installation; some require additional steps or adjustments beforehand. 

Rear bumpers or even the exhaust itself may need to be removed to free up access to mounting holes within the chassis. Alternative options may include a bumper cut to effectively secure the tow bar correctly. 

-Clean Surfaces

To provide a secure fitting, the bumper and rubber covers will need to be removed, along with any bumper cuts being made. 

Once these prerequisites have been made, any residue left will need to be removed and cleaned from the chassis. Next, you should bolt the brackets into the holes provided and so that the main crossbar links to the fitting brackets.

-Install Main Crossbar

Installation processes aren't universally transferable; depending on the make and model of your vehicle, the bolt holes will be found in different locations. 

Due to this, it is recommended you follow your car's manual. Once you have fitted your bolts in place, adjust the tightness of the bolts by using a torque wrench to prevent water from entering through the seams.

-Attach Tow Ball Housing

Installation can vary depending on the style of tow ball you want fitting, detachable, fixed, swan neck or flange. 

The housing should be fitted next to the sub-structure of the tow ball in the instance you own a detachable variant; following the specified set of instructions for your own tow ball style is vital.

-Replace Bumper

Torque wrenches should always be used to adjust the tightness to ensure the placement is secure and should be done so again once the tow ball is in place. The final step is to typically install the tow ball itself after the bumper has been reinstalled.

It is worth noting that while this list is typically followed in most cases, it is recommended you follow your fitting manual or contact a local registered professional for advice or service.

How to wire tow bars

How to wire tow bars

Wiring a tow bar is an intricate step that occurs during the fitting process. Wiring a tow bar should only be undertaken by a qualified professional or someone with knowledge and experience on how to feed the wires beneath the car and remove parts from the car.

-Search For Entry Points

To perform under safe conditions, you must remove the battery or disconnect the battery terminals before you continue to work. It is recommended you check the electrical circuits beforehand to ensure there are no faults or dangers that could occur. Prevent any additional drilling of holes where possible and search for your access points through the boot and bonnet of your vehicle. 

-Connect Electrical Socket

Using the route found via the previous step, attach the electrical socket to the wiring loom through the use of a rubber grommet within the loop. Once complete, connect the primary cable to the fuse-box. 

-Connect Cables

Utilising any rubber grommets or holes where available, run cables under the vehicle to the boot, fitting all of the connections so that the tow bar links to the main wiring loom. To prevent any electrical issues or hazards, you may need to install a voltage control relay and electrical relay when connecting the wires to the internal fuse box. The fuse box itself might also need a change of fuse when making these adjustments to your vehicle.

-Test Lights

All cables should be tidied up and fitted in place within the boot once finalised. All lights should be tested to ensure their functionality and require a light mate test. Local professionals will be trained in this type of testing - they will also have all the required equipment to provide these tests. Once satisfied that everything within the system and the electrics are in the correct working order and safety is assured, the boot panels can then be reattached. 

How are tow bars fitted?

Installation can vary depending on the style of tow ball you own, detachable, fixed, swan neck or flange. Tow bars are installed upon the back of the vehicle, under your rear bumper. 

Tow bar installation isn't as straightforward as purchasing a tow bar and fitting it to your vehicle like Lego. You will need to find the right tow bar for the job, weight, and perhaps your particular vehicle. Contacting a local professional can not only help you fit the tow bar but help you find the right tow bar for the job. 

When fitting the tow bar yourself, you'll find it much easier if the vehicle is already mounted - another benefit to having a professional complete the process within their garage. Regardless of how the process is completed, it can take multiple hours and considerably longer without the correct preparation. It is recommended mounting points have ease of access and the correct equipment is on hand. 

Attaching a tow bar involves a number of steps, including removing parts or creating holes, cuts and other modifications to the car. Fitting a tow bar also involves complex electrics - this should be considered when choosing whether you will undergo the process yourself or contact a professional for advice or service. 

Can I fit my own tow bar?

In most cases, no. Fitting tow bars is a lengthy and arduous process, involving a high level of complexity with professional equipment and electrics, combined with bodywork. 

Specific tow bar kits can be purchased for your exact vehicle and often come packaged with vehicle specific electrical kits. Your local professional can also install or supply the pre-bought kit for you. 

While anyone has access to these tools and can follow the provided instructions - without the correct qualifications, you harbour the risk of incorrectly completing a task or being ignorant to how incorrect the task was actually completed. These risks open you up to safety issues or future repairs, faults and accidents, costing you additional money. Warranty can also be voided if you were to attempt the work yourself. 

If you need to tow a caravan or other trailer, you'll need a towbar. We can help with any and all enquires regarding towbars, so don't hesitate to contact MotorHome Towbars today.