Universal Tow Bar Instructions

Written by mary lougee
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Universal Tow Bar Instructions
Universal tow bars attach cars safely to RVs for long trips. (lake mead national recreation area 8 image by Jim Parkin from Fotolia.com)

A universal tow bar is not vehicle-specific so that it can be used in any towing situation. The towing vehicle needs a standard two-inch ball on the towing hitch for attachment. The vehicle to be towed attaches to the tow bar next to rubber bumpers for protection. Tow bars are of a metal "V" shape that keeps a firm distance between two cars when one is towing the other. Using a universal tow bar eliminates the need for a second driver in the rear car who would have to apply the brakes and help the tandem cars stop so they do not collide and cause damages as can happen when towing with straps or chains.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Park both vehicles on a flat surface about four feet apart with the towing vehicle in front of the vehicle to tow. Enable the emergency brake on the rear vehicle.

  2. 2

    Place the tow bar coupler on the front vehicle hitch ball. Slide the coupler onto the ball, press it down in place and close the top locking tab to secure it onto the ball.

  3. 3

    Slide the T-J hooks into the shipping slots on the rear vehicle. The shipping slots are holes in the bottom front of a vehicle that tie down and then chains fit through for stabilisation in moving a car. Each T-J hook attaches to a long tie-down strap on one end with Velcro on the other end.

  4. 4

    Thread the loose Velcro end of each tie down strap through each of the two ratchets on each side of the universal tow bar.

  5. 5

    Pull the tie-down straps through the ratchet handle until there is slight tension on the rear vehicle. Press the ratchet handles down to lock them in position on each side of the tow bar.

  6. 6

    Release the emergency brake on the rear vehicle.

  7. 7

    Slightly lift the tow bar and move the ratchet handles forward and backward to tighten the tow bar. The ratchets will pull the rear vehicle to the bumper stops in the rear of the universal tow bar.

  8. 8

    Pull the loose ends of the tie-down straps toward the front of the tow bar on the metal frame. Wrap the Velcro strap around the tow bar and the excess tie-down in a circle and press into place.

Tips and warnings

  • Turn the T-J hooks where the T shape or J shape fits best into the shipping slots on your individual car.
  • Fastening the excess tie-down straps to the tow bar keeps them secure so they do not drag on the road, catch on an item and cause towing problems.
  • Do not overtighten the tie-downs in the ratchet. This would cause the rear car to press into the protective bumper stops, which would result in dents on the rear car.

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