DIY: Fitting a Tow Bar

Written by joe faulkner-edwards
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DIY: Fitting a Tow Bar
Make sure you have the required tools when fitting a tow bar. (tool bag and tools 1 image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com)

A tow bar is a device that is mounted to the chassis of a vehicle and is designed to pull a second vehicle or trailer. There is a variety of tow bars on the market, but typically the primary connection is a ball-and-socket system, which allows the two vehicles to move independently. Fitting a tow bar is relatively straightforward - all you need are the correct tools and fittings, and a bit of common sense.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Tow Bar Kit
  • Wrench

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Read your vehicle owner's manual. Different makes and models will require different tow bars. The manual will detail the type of tow bar required, the amount of weight the vehicle is capable of towing, and, in some cases, will also offer basic mounting instructions.

  2. 2

    Find the mounting points: The complexity of this task depends on the make and model of the vehicle. In some cases, you will have to remove part of the boot trim inside the vehicle. You might also need to remove the side panels. Vehicles made after September 1998 have tow bar mounting holes built into the chassis, which makes the fitting process much easier.

  3. 3

    Mount the tow bar. Using the nuts and bolts included with the tow bar, securely fasten the tow bar mount onto the chassis of the vehicle at the mounting points. Use a wrench to ensure it is tightly fastened.

  4. 4

    Don’t forget to wire correctly. Wire a female-end harness on the towing vehicle to a male-end harness on the vehicle or trailer being towed. Newer vehicles may require a vehicle-specific plug-in electrical kit, Talk to the dealer when buying your tow bar, or refer to the owner's manual. This wiring is essential to make the vehicle or trailer being towed street legal.

Tips and warnings

  • Safety chains should always be used in conjunction with the primary connection point.
  • If you do not have the correct tow bar and fittings for your vehicle, you could be putting yourself and other people at risk.

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