Different types of towbars and their uses

Which to use for trailers, jet skis, cars and more.

The ability to hitch a trailer or caravan to your vehicle is a bonus for those who regularly take to the open road. But there are those who also rely on trailers to run their businesses, move cargo, or enjoy their hobbies. When you’re moving furniture, transporting your jet ski to the Vaal, or running a landscaping business that needs you to transport your equipment daily, towing becomes essential. Let’s look at what types of towbars are available in South Africa and which is best for your needs.

There are a variety of towbars to choose from; some may work for you and others will not. Here is a basic breakdown of the types of towbars and their respective benefits.

Fixed towbars.

The most common type of towbar is a fixed towbar that is permanently installed onto your vehicle. The benefits of having a fixed towbar include the cost-effective nature of only paying for a once-off installation and knowing that they have to adhere to strict quality and reliability regulations to ensure your car – and whatever you’re towing – are never at risk. These are also maintenance-free and will last a lifetime. You can get special, customised fixed towbars if your towing needs are unique.

Detachable towbars.

As the name implies, detachable towbars can be ‘clipped’ off in a matter of seconds. This is especially useful if you don’t tow frequently and don’t want to change the look of their car by adding a towbar. It’s easy to use, just as strong as a fixed towbar, and doesn’t require any maintenance – just a routine check to ensure all its components are still in good condition.

Retractable towbars.

Similar to detachable types, the retractable towbar is installed if you want to tow, but don’t necessarily want to advertise the fact. The design is simple and allows you to put the towbar beneath the vehicle so that it’s out of sight. This towbar is available for a limited range of cars only, and particularly useful when you have limited space behind your vehicle for park or storing your car.

Heavy-duty or flanged ball towbars.

For those who need to tow often – and will likely be towing heavy loads – this is the type of towbar to get. It is designed for a weight of over three tons and is available in various designs so that it can be used on cars, trucks, bakkies and vans to ensure that you have permanent access to towing at any time. Designs include two-hole, four-hole, and lowered four-hole versions, each bolted safely and securely onto your car.

Which one is right for me?

Choosing the right towbar for you will depend on what you will be using it for, how often you’ll need it, and how concerned you are about having a visible tow hook. Make sure to opt for a high-quality, reputable brand and have it installed professionally, regardless of the type of towbar you choose.

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