Nothing beats the adventure of a road trip like driving around in your RV; you carry your home along with you. But if you want to make your trips more convenient and exciting, how about you bring along your passenger car as well.
With the right tow bar, you can do this safely. Just connect this tool at the back of your RV, hook up your vehicle, and you are good to go. But how do you choose the best RV tow bar? This is where I come to your rescue.
- Design: Motorhome towbars may serve the same purpose, but they don’t look alike. You can have a swan neck tow bar which is shaped like the letter L or U, or a rear step tow bar for flat towing a Jeep. If you plan to carry a lighter load, opt for a flat tongue type and a horizontal hitch for heavier towed vehicles.
- Ease Of Installation: As an RV newbie, you would want the installation of the tow bar to be as easy as possible. Like many RV dollies, the products in our reviews are easy to install with a ball mount, fast disconnect brackets, and detailed instructions. The weight of the tow bar also plays a vital role in easy installation, so choose something that you can handle easily.
- Towing Capacity: The most suitable way to ensure that the tow bar won’t get disengaged in the middle of the trip is to find one that can carry the towed vehicle. Camper tow bars have a capacity ranging from 5,000 lbs to 10,000 lbs. When you use a hitch to tow car behind motorhome, make sure that its capacity is higher than the actual weight of the hauled vehicle.
- Safety: Pulling a car behind an RV can be a little risky on the road. As a result, you’ll need to look for safety features, like safety chains, safety cables, and signal lights. Choose a heavy-duty safety bracket to withstand high-pressure situations.
By reviewing some of the most popular RV tow bars on the market, I will help you filter out your options to choose the top-rated one. And that is not it; I have also added tons of other information to help you understand how a tow bar works and how you should make your purchase decision.
|Smittybilt Ball Tow Bar Kit
|Blue Ox BX7420 Tow Bar
|CURT 19745 RV Tow Bars
Table of Contents
Top-Rated RV Tow Bar Reviews
Before you choose the best RV tow bar in the market, you have to do a lot of research and evaluate tons of options. But here, I have made this extensive process a bit easier for you by reviewing the top 8 RV tow bars you can find on the market.
1. Smittybilt Ball Tow Bar Kit
Smittybilt has rightfully earned a place on my list with its adjustable and convenient tow bar kit. The company has designed some of the top-tier tow bar kits available in the USA, and this is another excellent model. The 87450 model sports a ball adjusted design that allows you to bear up to 5,000 pounds, which works exceptionally well with performance vehicles and small cars.
I particularly liked the two-inch coupler accompanied by the universal brackets designed for loosening and fastening the vehicle to the tow bar. The lateral strut brackets and safety brackets in this tool maintain the shape of the frame intact, thereby offering maximum stability and security to this car tow bar.
Smittybilt has taken the safety factor quite seriously. The safety chains allow you to latch the tow bar onto your RV’s tailgate. Additionally, these chains are manufactured using durable steel material and coated with nickel. Therefore, when it comes to strength and durability, you can rest assured.
I like the fact the tow bar is adjusted to fit different types of bumper widths. The tool can be adjusted between 24 and 24 inches. This along with a two inch ball mount makes it easier to connect the tow bar to the RV.
2. Blue Ox BX7420 Tow Bar
The next product on my list is the Blue Ox BX7420 tow bar. This is one of the popular brands in this industry, which is known for providing reliable equipment for automobiles. The company offers a lot of features that make its products incomparable with other brands.
Weighing at 46 pounds, the heavy-duty tow bar offers a massive carrying capacity of 10,000 pounds. In fact you can even pull jeep wranglers with this sturdy tool; making it a great investment.
This Blue Ox alpha product is entirely made of durable steel, which allows it to work in high-pressure conditions efficiently. With this tow bar backing you up, you don’t have to worry about the safety of your vehicle. The steel frame is further coated with high-quality metallic paint that gives a clean look to the device.
Moreover, the tow bar has a built-in 2-inch receiver tube. This offers impressive integrity, as well as flexibility. The tow bar also features foldable arms that assist you to efficiently storing the device, even in limited spaces.
3. CURT 19745 RV Tow Bars
For people who want dinghy tow or flat tow, this car dolly for RV by Curt would be perfect. With the maximum towing capacity of 5,000 lbs, this tool can easily tow smaller and compact cars.
Another great feature of this product is the adjustable capacity that ranges from 26 inches to 41 inches. Such flexibility allows you to tow different kinds of vehicles behind your RV with ease. It comes with two universal brackets that offer compatibility with different kinds of vehicles.
It features a 2-inch trailer bar and 2-inch trailer coupler which are made from industrial grade materials to provide a strong hold and fit while towing. Additionally, they efficiently function on a majority of bumpers of the vehicle; so the set-up process becomes easier.
The tow bar comes black powder coating that provides resistance and protection against factors such as UV lights and weather conditions. CURT is well-reckoned for offering high quality tow bars and custom hitches. With tons of valuable features, the company stands true to its reputation. It has to be the top-tier tow bar for flat towing that I have tried in a while.
While the installation instructions are quite easy, the bolts may need to turn harder to make sure that you get a firm fit. Therefore, you need to make sure that you have the right toolset for efficient installation.
4. Roadmaster 520 RV Tow Bar
If you are looking for a car tow bar with a greater hook-up radius, you cannot go wrong with the Roadmaster 520 Falcon tow bar. With one of the largest hook-up radius offered by anyone in the industry, you no longer have to fuss with lining your towed vehicle. The tow bar is self-aligning, which means it is designed to offer proper balance.
The tow car comes with a weight capacity of 6000 pounds, allowing you to pull cars, SUVs and small trucks. The sturdy built of the tow bar allows the tool to be efficiently used even in extreme weather. The self-lubricated nylon bushing eliminates any friction between the inner and outer arms.
I like the telescopic arms that are designed to provide improved manoeuvrability. Additionally, they are foldable so you can fold it up on the back of the RV to keep it out of the way.
One of the impressive features of this product is that it comes with a three-year manufacturer’s warranty. With a massive 6,000 pounds of vehicle weight bearing capacity, the warranty gives you assurance that it is a reliable tool for your RV use.
5. Blue Ox BX7380 RV Tow Bar
Securely tow your vehicle with this mounted tow bar by Blue Ox. Designed from durable steel material, this non-binding tow bar will leave you impressed with its sturdiness. The tow bar features offset triple lugs to provide aligned towing forces and also prevent binding.
The tow bar uses coated steel, which is highly durable and resistant to corrosion. Additionally, the rubber boots prevent the telescoping arms from collecting grime and dirt.
It is designed to tow vehicles weighing up to 6,500 pounds. Additionally, the non-binding latches feature low-profile handles, making it efficient to unhook the tow bar from different angles. It comes with a swivel function that makes it easier to set up on unlevel terrains.
Without the need for the ball mount, you would be able to efficiently hook it up with the trailer hitch receiver on the RV. The self-aligning design, which hooks up to the base plates on the vehicle being towed and pushes the RV forward. With just two easy to access pins, you can attach or detach the base plate.
There is also a triple-plug connection, which appears like a sturdy bracket on the end of the tow bar arms, thereby offering a stronger connection to the base plates. The safety cable is also included so you can rest assured about the safety of your vehicle. The foldable legs also make it easier for you to hook up the tow bar to your RV.
6. Nighthawk Roadmaster 676 Tow Bar
Along with strong pulling power, safety is another important feature that you should consider while looking for an RV car tow bar. And, safety is one of the strong selling points of the Nighthawk Roadmaster tow bar.
The addition of built-in LED lights is very thoughtful. It illuminates the vehicle while being pulled at night. So when you are hauling your vehicle at night, the lights will make it easy for other people on the road to see the vehicle and be at a safe distance.
Another important aspect of the tow bar is the integration of the power cord and safety cable. Many cars’ tow bars do not come with a safety cable and need you to purchase separately. So this saved me money and effort of finding a good safety cable to include in the tow bar.
The tool comes with a non-binding freedom latch which can be mounted and unmounted easily. With a good towing capacity of 8000 pounds, you can haul different kinds of vehicles on your trip.
7. Blue Ox BX4330 Tow Bar
Investing in a quality and reliable tow bar can make your road trip easier and safer. Most of tow bar accidents occur when you miss out on properly securing the lock. But with the BX4330 tow bar by Blue Ox you do not worry about the same. It comes with an automatic lock feature, offering you peace of mind.
The tow bar offers weight bearing capacity of up to 5,000 lbs, thanks to its durable frame. The product can bear heavy load efficiently without breaking or warping while on the way. Along with the impressive strength, it was so easy to mount and unmount. This is because of the self-aligning design of the tow bar.
Coming to the installation of this tow bar, the company offers a ball mount, which makes the process significantly easier. Moreover, it can be detached from the tow bar using easy to access two pins.
8. HTTMT- US-FF801-BK- Tow Bar
A great thing about this product is that it is highly customizable. It comes with rapid disconnect D-ring brackets that can be bolted directly to the vehicle’s frame. Its compatibility with different kinds of vehicles is also something that I appreciate. The tow bar boasts a universal design that will enable you to use it on the majority of vehicles of different make and mode.
Moreover, the adjustable inner arms are capable of extending from 24 inches to 41 inches, which combined with heavy-duty couplers ensures a stronger and firmer fit for different sized vehicles. These couplers can efficiently fit 2 inches hitch balls.
With heavy-duty design and strong built structure, allowing the tow bar to pull weight up to 5000 pounds. And you can attach the tow bar to the mounting brackets easily through two pins for hassle-free usage. I feel like the inclusion of the fast disconnect brackets is a boon because they ensure quick installation and removal of the tow bar.
What To Know Before Buying RV Tow Bars
RV tow bars do a very important job while hauling your vehicle. This is the element that determines the safety of your vehicle and of other vehicles on the road. Therefore, it is imperative that you select the right tow bar for motorhomes in order to make your trip more convenient. Here is an effective buying guide for an RV tow dolly-
Setting up a tow bar generally takes time and effort, especially if you are a beginner. Therefore, you should look for a tow bar that is easy to use. There are three primary criteria that determine the efficiency of the installation process. Adjustment of the brackets is the first aspect; second comes the lock modification, and last is the maneuverability of the tow bar.
The number of locks is vital in determining how easy it would be to attach and detach the tow bar. Moreover, the weight of the tow bar plays an important role in determining how easy it is to move around. If maneuverability is important to you, you should consider a tow bar weighing between 5 and 35 pounds.
- Towing Capacity
The main job of a tow bar is to pull a vehicle that is attached to another vehicle. Considering that the vehicle which is being pulled is typically immobile, most of the weight of the vehicle is born by the vehicle that is pulling it. Depending on the size and heaviness of the vehicle, you should consider the towing capacity of the tow bar.
- Efficiency On Various Grounds
While there are a lot of tow bar manufacturers that claim that their products cater to different types of terrains, these tow bars often get jammed in roads filled with snow and get malfunction in muddy roads. It is recommended to purchase a tow bar that offers protection against mud, humidity, low temperatures, and water. This way, you would only need one tow bar to pull your vehicle in different conditions.
- Safety Cables
The tow bar that you invest in should have adequate safety cable. This is one of the most suitable ways to save yourself from unforeseen trouble if in case the device malfunctions. A safety backup can be cords and cables that help to mitigate the chances of failure. In some serious situations wherein the tow bar gets detached, these safety cables can keep the bars attached and prevent the chances of accidents.
- Hooks and Brackets
The hooks and brackets are important aspects of the tow bar as they bear the most degree of pressure. If you do not choose a good quality bracket, then it might get disengaged. Therefore, you have to pay special attention to the quality of the brackets that are placed at the front as well as the back of the bar.
The brackets are made from materials like aluminum and steel. These materials provide greater protection from corrosion and decay, thereby increasing the overall durability of the product.
What Are The Different Types Of Tow Bars
Tow bars come in different sizes, shapes, and weight categories, which makes it harder to decide which one is the top-tier option for you. But understanding what each tow bar does will allow you to make a better decision –
- Swan Neck Tow Bar
This type of tow bar is popularly manufactured in Europe, but you can also find it in the United States. It features a swan neck tow ball, which gets permanently attached to the tow bar. These types of tow bars look like a rounded L-shape or U-shape. Additionally, the modern vertical hitch tow bars look similar to the swan neck tow bar.
- Horizontal Hitch
These are designed to haul heavier loads. It leverages a square tongue that can be attached to the hitch receiver. It is the bigger version of the flat tow bar. The tow bar is offered in two size options- 50 mm, which does the heavy-duty towing, and 40-mm, which is designed for two medium-sized loads.
- Flat Tongue
This type of tow bar is specifically designed to be used for lighter loads. It comes with a detachable tow ball that is compatible with a horizontal slot on the tow bar. Additionally, the tongue of the tow bar is secured with two large bolts via the hitch top.
- Rear Step
These types of tow bars are designed to be used on 4WDs. The rear step slightly protrudes out from the back of the vehicle. These generally have greater ground clearance as opposed to standard tow cars and are best catered to off-roading. A major drawback of these tow bars is that they are very heavy, making them harder to manage.
Benefits And Drawbacks Of Owning A Tow Bar
- Benefits of Tow Bars
The tow bar is attached to the frame of the vehicle to create somewhat a tow hitch system, and the other end is used to haul different types of loads. Investing in a tow bar allows you to pull your vehicle while on the trip safely. Using a tow bar, you can pull a variety of vehicles that include cars, boats, smaller vehicles, etc.
A quality tow bar comes with versatile features and specifications that allow you to haul different kinds of vehicles safely. Furthermore, the convenience that this system provides is what makes tow bars so popular among people.
- Limitations of Tow Bar
Some vehicles experience reduced rear ground clearance when the tow bar is installed. While they provide protection to the vehicle, these are very complicated to install as opposed to their counterparts. Another limitation is that tow bars are that they are not easy to manage, especially if it is a heavyweight model. It is not a one person job; You would need assistance from someone else; otherwise, you would be risking your back.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do RV tow bar work?
A tow bar is also known as a tow hitch and is a tool that is attached to the main vehicle to pull another vehicle that is behind it. The tow bar is integrated into the chassis of both vehicles. The main vehicle, which in this case, is the RV, features a receiving connector at the back, whereas the vehicle that is being towed uses front brackets.
The tow bar allows the vehicle to move along with the main automobile without the need for another driver. Moreover, a wiring cable is added so that the vehicle that is being towed would show adequate brake, brake lights, and other lights required by the laws.
These tools are manufactured using strong metals to pull the heavy vehicle efficiently. Considering that it is a bar when the main when there is an abrupt stop, the vehicle behind it does not collide in the front. At times tow bars also encompass an auxiliary braking system to assist the towed vehicle in stopping when the primary vehicle, that is, the RV, stops.
Who makes the top-quality tow bars for RV?
The following are the most trusted brands for RV tow bars on the brands. Each company has a dedicated website featuring tons of products with different usability –
It is one of the popular brands that offer some of the RV tow bars on the market. Some of the tow bars offer up to 6 000 pounds of weight capacity. The company offers lightweight and easy to use products for optimum user efficiency. I believe many people have the same good points on Demco tow bar reviews that it is effortless to control and of great quality.
- Blue Ox
Blue Ox is another popular brand that offers top-graded RV products, including tow bars. The Blue Ox tow bars are strong and durable and come with different weight capacities. The manufacturer offers quality products that are designed to offer longevity and high performance.
Roadmaster tow bars are among the most popular products in both online and offline stores. These RV tow bars are reckoned for their sturdiness and strength. Additionally, the manufacturer leverages Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to design and test all the tow bars. This factor makes its tow bars safer than its competitors.
Smittybilt tow bar harnesses premium-quality industrial-grade aluminum to build a lightweight tow dolly. Their product portfolio is qualitative, as well as monumental. Their tow bar and its accessories are extremely popular in the market.
This is a product that has recently gained popularity in the US market. Their product line is not limited to tow bars but also accessories such as levers, hydraulics, braking systems, etc. The company offers versatile and highly functional products.
How do you set up and use an RV tow bar?
Following are the steps to set-up your vehicle tow bar for RV
- Park On An Even Surface
Park your RV on a leveled surface where there is enough space to pull your towed vehicle behind your RV. Make sure to put the vehicle in park and apply your emergency brake.
- Check the Height of the Base Plate and Hitch
Ensure that the height of the base plate and hitch is approximately three inches. With a measuring tape straight from the ground and measure up to the center of the RV hitch receiver. Subsequently, start measuring the ground up to the attachment tabs placed on the front end of the vehicle being towed.
Once you have taken the measurement of vehicles A and B, subtract the value, and if the new value is greater than 3, then you will need a hitch adapter.
- Hook the Tow Bar On the RV
Put the tow bar shank within the RV hitch receiver. Thereafter secure the same using a clip and pin. Additionally, some tow bars also feature multiple pinholes in the tow bar shank, enabling extra clearance. Make sure you use the tow bar in the shortest possible position. Moreover, fold the arms of the tow bar so that it does not get in the way.
- Park the Vehicle Right Behind the RV
Slowly park your vehicle behind the RV, ensuring a parallel position. Once you reach somewhat of a dinghy towing position, stop your car and apply the emergency brake. Ensure that you do not touch the tow bar at this point.
- Attach the Arms of the Tow Bar
Integrate the tow attachment tabs into the receiver’s base plate on the dinghy vehicle. Into the attachment tabs, connect the tow bar arms. These arms facilitate easy connection and disconnect hookup pins, and you can extend the arms by releasing the freedom latch handles. Using linchpins, secure the tab and arm connections.
- Prepare Your Dinghy Vehicle For Towing
Once you have installed the tow bar, hook the transmission of the dinghy vehicle for towing as well as unlock your steering wheel. Moreover, you can consult the owner’s manual to understand the procedures while flat towing. Generally, vehicles must be placed in neutral; make sure you follow the instructions for safe towing.
- Engaging the Latches of Tow Bar
Ensure that the latches of tow bars are properly locked in place. You can check that by slowly pulling your RV forward. As soon as the latches engage, stop the vehicle. Make sure that the latches are locked into place properly prior to towing.
- Attach Your Safety Cables
Add the safety cables from the safety loops of your RV hitch to the base plate of the dinghy vehicle. Once it is under the tow bar, the cables should appear in a crisscrossed manner. And make sure when towing, the cables are not dragging on the surface.
- Hook Up the Wiring Harness
Hook the vehicle into your electrical socket present at the back of your RV. connect the emergency breakaway and plugs. Ensure that the dinghy vehicle is integrated with a dinghy tow wiring harness or RV towing lights to match the taillights of both RV and the dinghy vehicle.
What is the most suitable vehicle to flat tow behind an RV?
Car towing hitches for RV allow you to carry a lot of different types of vehicles. However, below are some of the popular vehicles that are used to flat tow behind an RV –
- Ford F-150
It is a versatile vehicle that allows you to do it all. This full-size truck is ideal for carrying your boat, carrying bikes, or towing your gear. Although a powerful model, F-10 is categorized under smaller trucks. When it comes to flat tow, you can do the same only with the 3WD F-150.
- Honda CR-V
If you are considering hauling an older but strong model, then Honda CR-V is a great option. This compact SUV is perfect for towing behind motorhomes belonging to Class A as well as Class C. The speed limit of this model is measured at 65 mph while being flat towed.
- Jeep Wrangler
It is one of the most popular vehicles that is flat towed behind RVs. This vehicle adds to the adventure of your travels. Moreover, it is easy to install while flat towing. Owing to its decent size, it is a perfect option for Class A as well as Class C category motorhomes.
Another key highlight is that the Wrangler comes with no restrictions with regard to distance or speed. Additionally, the manual and automatic transmission models can be easily and safely towed.
- Jeep Grand Cherokee
Coming close to Wrangler in terms of popularity is the Jeep Grand Cherokee. This model is designed to carry your entire family comfortably. This is why RV owners flat tow it on their trips. Although only the 4WD models feature Quadra-Trac II/Quadra-Drive II is designed to be flat towed, there are no speed or distance limitations.
- Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon
For people who are looking to gain the benefit of a truck but do not want to haul a big vehicle, Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon are among the most suitable options. Ensure that you only flat tow the 4WD models feature two-speed transfer case incorporating a 4WD low settings and neutral position. You also do not have any speed or distance limitations in these models.
What RV tow bar accessories do I need?
Along with an efficient tow bar, you would need the right accessories for everything to function safely and efficiently. Following are some of the must-have accessories for your tow bars for RV –
- Safety cables
- Tow bar storage cover
- raise/drop receivers
- Flex-coiled wiring cables
- Tow car locks
Can you tow an RV with a tow bar?
Yes, you can use an RV tow car hitch and bar to transport a motorhome, as long as you use a large pick-up truck. You must position the tow bar correctly and secure it to the baseplate so that the RV won’t steer away on the road.
Also, consider using an electric brake system on your towing vehicle for control and safety.
Does flat towing add miles?
Flat towing systems don’t add miles if your RV uses an electric odometer because the device only counts the transmission working. If your RV uses an older mechanical odometer, then a flat tow system might show additional miles as it counts when the wheels are moving.
Although RV vehicle towing might not add miles to the odometer, the tires will still experience tread wear, especially if you run them on rough terrains.
What size tow bar do you need?
Choosing the right towing equipment for an RV depends on your situation. For towing cars and other light applications, you’ll need a Class 2 auto tow bar which has a receiver size of 1-¼ inch. It has a 50mm tow ball that has a capacity of up to 3500 lbs.
For SUVs and trucks, you’ll need a Class 3, Class 4, or Class 5 tow bar with a receiver size of two inches. The largest tow bar you can find is the Class 5 commercial type, which has a receiver size of 2-½ inches.
How much does an RV tow bar cost?
A lightweight car tow kit may cost around $40-$60. A sturdier RV towing package can cost up to $250. If you want a heavy-duty model to tow a weighty vehicle, you can find tow bars between $400 to $2,000.
If you’re on a budget, you can hunt for some well used RV tow bars on sites like etrailer and RV parts shops.
Can you make a DIY towing bar?
If you want a cheap towing bar, you can make your own heavy duty homemade tow bar with a scrap tubing pipe. It’s easy.
Simply weld a receiver at both ends of the pipe. Next, hook the receiver onto the vehicle’s ball mount. Now, you can tow a vehicle using this homemade tow hitch.
What is better, a fixed or detachable tow bar?
If you care about the aesthetics of your vehicle, a detachable tow hitch for a motorhome might be a better choice. This type of tow bar can be removed and stored when not in use. It protects the integrity of your vehicle, but it can be expensive.
A fixed automobile tow bar is a less expensive option. Since it has fewer components, it is easier to install. Fixed bars can be installed securely but might hamper your access to the vehicle or trigger some sensors along the drive.
Having access to a passenger car that you can use anytime while on a road trip makes your trip easy and more enjoyable. This is what makes tow bars an important RV car towing equipment.
It allows you to be on the road for a longer time and enjoy your trip to the fullest. The only disadvantage of taking your vehicle along is the use of inefficient tow bars or not having it installed professionally.
When you need to purchase the best RV tow bar, there should be no compromise on the quality as it is a matter of safety for you, your vehicle, and other people on the road. Make sure you go for a reliable product from a reputed brand. Also, have it installed professionally and even if you are setting it up yourself, have a professional look at it, especially if it is your first time.
Okay, so I’m Philip Lopez. I join Riverside Trailer as an editor, where I will be doing research for both content and reviews. I contribute to studies aimed at understanding the most typical problems encountered by RVers on the road. I also keep up with the newest RVing gadget innovations so that I can promptly evaluate and recommend the best options.