Originally Posted by BT2 Zeke
Thanks to you all. I've got some surfing to do this evening.
If you've never purchased a tow bar before, perhaps people could offer up their suggestions of what to look for. For us:
The types of tow bars with the telescoping arms need to have a lever pulled to release the lock. If the vehicle is at a bit of an angle it can be difficult to impossible to pull the lever. A non-binding latch has a geared force multiplier to make that job easier. My Roadmaster Nighthawk has a ratio of something like 5 pounds of upward force exerts 2,000 pounds of pressure to unlock the telescoping arms.
Some people pooh-pooh the non-binding latches and say they just take a big hammer and a big old bolt and beat the pin out of the tow bar when its bound up. That's too much work for me plus I have an aversion to doing things like that. Perhaps you do not.
A few tow bars have a metal "channel" on the tow bar that holds the safety cables and the umbilical cable. You do not need to carry the cables separately because they're always ready to just plug in.
All terrain or similar wording.
This just means the tow bar has pivoting abilities so the car can be a bit cockeyed side to side and the tow bar is still happy.
Close to or double the expected towing weight of the vehicle for the weight rating.
Tow bars get a lot of stress and abuse. As they age things slowly wear out. Give yourself a big safety margin.
Not "all aluminum".
These have gotten a bit of a bad reputation because of failures while driving. Not all and probably a very small minority. The people who like the all aluminum bars like the weight, about 35 pounds versus maybe 50 pounds. I just leave my tow bar on the motorhome all the time but some people have to remove theirs due to very tight storage places. My Roadmaster Nighthawk has steel telescoping arms but the outer casing is aluminum to reduce some weight.
. There's always some slop where the tow bar goes into the motorhome hitch receiver. Anti-rattle devices are just beefy clamps that remove that slop. I use two of the Blue Ox anti-rattle devices. They help eliminate banging noises while towing and other stresses.
Locking pins for the hitch
. ETrailer and others make these. They replace the pin-and-clip to make it a bit more difficult for someone to tamper with your tow bar or swipe it.
Whichever one you buy, buy its cover.
Tow bars spend most of their life just sitting in the sun, rain, dust, etc. Give it a fighting chance to stay cleaner.
Oh, and I really like the lighted arms on the Nighthawk.
They come on whenever the motorhome's parking or headlights are lit.