What to Consider When Fitting a New Tow Bar


Tow bar installation can be a valuable addition to any vehicle. These accessories provide different types of cars with the ability to tow trailers, caravans, boats and other heavy loads and items with ease. If you’re fitting a new tow bar for the first time and you’re not sure what to look out for, this article will discuss the key factors to consider so you can make the right choice for your needs.

Types of Tow Bars

While there are various types of tow bars on the market, there are only a few that are commonly fitted to vehicles:

  • Fixed Flange Ball – This traditional tow bar design has been around for decades and offers excellent versatility due to its compatibility with multiple vehicle accessories.
  • Swan Neck – A more modern design offering a sleeker look while still providing good functionality.
  • Detachable – These can be removed when not in use, maintaining your vehicle’s aesthetics whilst also allowing for easy storage.

It’s crucial to choose the correct type based on your specific requirements, preferences and compatibility with your vehicle.

Towing Capacity

Before purchasing a tow bar installation package, ensure that both your vehicle’s towing capacity and the weight of the load you plan on towing are compatible. Overloading can lead to serious safety risks as well as potential damage to your vehicle or trailer. Check your owner’s manual or consult with a professional if you’re unsure about your vehicle’s towing capacity before proceeding further.

Legal Requirements

In Australia, there are specific legal requirements regarding tow bars which must be adhered to:

  • All tow bars should comply with Australian Design Rules (ADR)
  • Installation must be carried out by qualified professionals
  • Safety chains need proper attachment points provided by either the manufacturer or an approved aftermarket supplier

Failure to meet these standards may result in fines or even voiding of insurance coverage in case of accidents involving towing equipment.

Tow Bar Wiring Options

When installing a tow bar, you’ll need to consider wiring options. There are two main types:

  • Universal Wiring Kits – These kits provide basic lighting functions such as indicators, brake lights and taillights for your trailer or caravan.
  • Dedicated Wiring Kits – Customised for specific vehicle models, these kits offer more advanced features including compatibility with parking sensors, reversing cameras and other safety systems.

Consult with a tow bar installation expert on which option is best suited for your vehicle if you’re unsure.

Professional Installation

It’s highly recommended that you have your tow bar installed by professionals who possess the necessary skills and expertise. This ensures that all components will be fitted correctly according to manufacturer guidelines and legal requirements. Professional installers will also be able to more confidently advise on any additional accessories or modifications that may be needed to enhance the functionality of your towing setup.

Warranty Coverage

It’s crucial to check if fitting a new tow bar will affect your vehicle’s warranty coverage. Some car manufacturers may void warranties if non-approved aftermarket parts are used or if installations aren’t carried out by authorised personnel. To avoid any potential issues down the line, always consult with your car manufacturer before proceeding with tow bar installation.

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