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Old 12-02-2022, 10:34 PM   #1
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How Long Does Tow Bar Last

I have a Roadmaster Falcon All Terrain tow bar and have towed my Jeep for about 50,000 miles in 6 to 7 years.
I've recently heard that you should have this tow bar re-furbished at the factory or buy another one after so many years. Is this true, and how long should it be alright to use it? It works properly and I don't have any problems with it. I have replaced the electrical cord when it developed a short.
Thanks,
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Old 12-02-2022, 11:06 PM   #2
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I have a Roadmaster All Terrain towbar put on in 2004 and pulled my cars 96,000 miles so far. Still doing good.

So about 18 years and still counting.
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Old 12-03-2022, 02:04 AM   #3
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When I was at the Roadmaster plant some years ago, the guy I was taking with there told me that they recommend a tow bar be replaced at about 70,000 miles as long as it has been inspected and serviced (and/or "rebuilt" i.e. parts replaced) at each 20,000 mile interval either doing it yourself or having it professionally done.

I'm sure it could go longer but I suppose it's similar to tire replacement recommendations, you may be taking more risk if running it over the 70,000 mile mark. I believe he also said that a tow bar should not be used past the 10 to 12 year mark regardless of mileage ...again YMMV and they may be making that recommendation more for selling more tow bars rather than safety? Who knows, but metal and other related tow bar components, I'm thinking, might weaken under the conditions used over time so, again, like tires, some might want to stretch that recommendation too.

The service intervals and replacement might also be adjusted depending on how and under what conditions the tow bar is used as each person's usage pattern will be a bit different. As Torklift, a popular Roadmaster dealer and compete toad set-up experts in Kent up here WA State explains, there can be variables that could alter each person's maintenance and replacement intervals that might include such things as " include the weights you’re towing, road condition you drive through and how unlevel your tow bar is."

Both essentially explain some of it on their websites:

Motorhome tow bar maintenance and upkeep -- Torklift Central


Life of a Tow Bar -- Roadmaster

I would suspect that Blue Ox and other manufacturers would have similar recommendations.

They also stressed doing routine cleaning and lubricating at regular intervals within that 20,000 mile overall interval. Keeping it inside or covered when not being used is, of course, also recommended.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Tow bar cleaning and lubrication -- Roadmaster.pdf (105.4 KB, 10 views)
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Old 12-03-2022, 07:22 AM   #4
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Blue ox won’t service a tow bar older than 10 years, and recommend replacement.

I had gotten ours used with the RV, and not really knowing the age of it. I was able to get blue ox to do a service on it twice, while at the Tampa RV Supershow, then on the third time I requested service, the technician refused….he said I had to replace it.

He showed me I had the old tow bar with the “ball” joint at the hitch, and the new ones are different. He also showed how the locking arms have a different mechanism to release the tension.

I have seen pictures and stories here on IRV2 of failures, they result from metal fatigue and broken welds…..there is very little way to see this fatigue beforehand (unless you could magna-flux them before each use).

I ended up getting a new one at the show, and with the promotion deals, etc, ended up paying about $100 less than what even Amazon wanted for one, so I considered it a good deal.
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Old 12-03-2022, 06:19 PM   #5
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Is the steel used in tow bars significantly different than the steel used on your MH or toad frames? The receiver hitch? Hitch balls? Safety chains? Wheels? Are you replacing all of those every ten years?

If the tow bar manufacturer is saying steel ages out, I’ve got a few pieces of machinery that’s well over 100 years old (still working) that would disagree. Heck, I’ve got chainsaw blades that are well past ten years old. As long as they are maintained and not abused, items made of steel shouldn’t age out. All that those warnings tell me is they must not be using the highest quality materials in their product.
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Old 12-03-2022, 08:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbircky View Post
Is the steel used in tow bars significantly different than the steel used on your MH or toad frames? The receiver hitch? Hitch balls? Safety chains? Wheels? Are you replacing all of those every ten years?

If the tow bar manufacturer is saying steel ages out, I’ve got a few pieces of machinery that’s well over 100 years old (still working) that would disagree. Heck, I’ve got chainsaw blades that are well past ten years old. As long as they are maintained and not abused, items made of steel shouldn’t age out. All that those warnings tell me is they must not be using the highest quality materials in their product.


I agree with much of your comment.

I think it’s because some tow bars are under-built and metal does in fact fatigue, especially if it’s not thick enough to begin with. Add to that the stresses that might occur from abuse or evasive maneuvers over the years.

I’m in the middle of a Cat D11 frame repair caused by metal fatigue. Everything structural that’s in motion flexes and can eventually fail.

When I retire the blue ox 10k towbar that came with my MH, I’m going back to an old school A-frame tow bar that was over- built by yours truly.
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Old 12-05-2022, 08:35 PM   #7
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I think to some degree, you need to visually inspect yours and see if it has issues or getting sloppy. I had a Falcon All Terrain that I used for about five years. I traded it in when I bought a heavier toad for a Roadmaster Falcon 2. I used that tow bar for about five years and then Roadmaster refurbish it at Quartzsite. That tow bar got destroyed in an accident and I bought a new Falcon 2, which had thicker tubes.

It was only a year old, and I thought it got a little sloppy. Again, at Quartzsite, they tightened it up and installed a new updated stinger.

With all that said, I think a lot has to do with the size of the toad and the roads you travel. I tow a 6100-pound toad and travel primarily in California. Both are rough on a toad.

Personally, I would look for a Rally or Show where Roadmaster is on display and has their service truck. Have them evaluate your tow bar serviced by them.
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Old 12-05-2022, 09:53 PM   #8
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From the OP: Thanks for all the responses. I will try to get mine serviced/checked by Roadmaster, and if not I will probably replace it in the spring before any more big trips. I do not notice any problems with it, but we do travel over some very rough roads and curvy, steep mountain roads. I tow a Jeep Liberty which is about 4,200 lbs.
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Old 12-08-2022, 07:32 PM   #9
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We are on Year 21 with our Roadmaster Sterling Aluminum Hitch.

We also do not change our bed mattresses every 10 years like the Manufacturer likes to recommend.

But I do inspect, clean and lube the tow bar regularly.
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Old 12-08-2022, 07:55 PM   #10
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Blue ox won’t service a tow bar older than 10 years, and recommend replacement.

I had my 6500lb Blue Ox rebuilt/refurbed, whatever and I believe the time frame may be 8yrs now. Was told by serial # I furnished that they would handle it at 7 yrs but not past 8. By the way--$150 freight paid both ways, I consider a bargain.
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Old 12-09-2022, 11:21 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Arch Hoagland View Post
I have a Roadmaster All Terrain towbar put on in 2004 and pulled my cars 96,000 miles so far. Still doing good.

So about 18 years and still counting.
We had a Roadmaster Sterling (pre–Sterling All Terrain) for 14 years and put a little over 95,000 miles on it before it was destroyed when a pickup truck rear ended the Jeep, we were pulling at 65 mph. The towbar was destroyed, and the Jeep suffered about $10,000.00 in damage.

Even getting hit at 65 mph the towbar held strong. It was a bit of a chore to unhook the Jeep since the towbar was bent like a pretzel. After the Jeep was repaired, we replaced the towbar with a Roadmaster Sterling All Terrain. We have a little over 50,000 miles on this one and it's holding things just fine.
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Old 12-09-2022, 11:45 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hikerdogs View Post
We had a Roadmaster Sterling (pre–Sterling All Terrain) for 14 years and put a little over 95,000 miles on it before it was destroyed when a pickup truck rear ended the Jeep, we were pulling at 65 mph. The towbar was destroyed, and the Jeep suffered about $10,000.00 in damage.

Even getting hit at 65 mph the towbar held strong. It was a bit of a chore to unhook the Jeep since the towbar was bent like a pretzel. After the Jeep was repaired, we replaced the towbar with a Roadmaster Sterling All Terrain. We have a little over 50,000 miles on this one and it's holding things just fine.
Good to know! Was the pickup truck person that hit you texting?

I've been rear ended twice sitting at a traffic light by people who were texting. .
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Old 12-09-2022, 11:56 AM   #13
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Good to know! Was the pickup truck person that hit you texting?

I've been rear ended twice sitting at a traffic light by people who were texting. .
His official answer was "No I wasn't texting". He claimed his windshield was so dirty he couldn't see the bright yellow Jeep in front of him. However, that doesn't explain why he had to search the floor to find his phone and turn it off when he found it.
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