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CostHelper > Cars  > Tow Bar

Tow Bar Cost


How Much Does a Tow Bar Cost?

 
average costTemporary Tow Bar: $30-$250high costPermanent Heavy-Duty Tow Bar: $400-$2,100+
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A tow bar is a device that attaches to the front of a vehicle, so the vehicle rides on all of its own wheels while being towed by another vehicle. Tow bars can be used to tow a non-running vehicle to another location, or to tow a spare car behind a recreational vehicle.

Shaped like a capital "A," a tow bar at its point typically has a coupler that fits onto a standard trailer hitch. The sides of the "A" can be rigidly fixed in place (usually less expensive) or adjustable to attach to a wider range of towed vehicles (also called toads). HitchInfo.com provides an overview of tow bars[1] .

Typical costs:

  • Considered an entry-level towing method, tow bars start as low as $30-$60 for relatively lightweight, removable models suitable for emergency use, but typically cost $80-$250 for sturdier models depending on towing capacity and materials. For example, the Curt Adjustable Tow Bar 19745[2] adjusts from 26" to 41" in width, tows up to 5,000 pounds and costs $127-$172. Tow bars in these price ranges are typically used on an occasional, temporary or emergency basis, with no permanent installation costs.
  • Extra heavy-duty tow bars that are permanently attached to the front of a vehicle or the back of a motorhome and fold away when not in use can cost $400-$1,200 or more. Installation can increase the total cost to $500-$2,100 or more, depending on local rates and what's included (a customized base plate on the towed vehicle, wiring for a lighting or braking system, etc.) More expensive models are designed for easy use by one person, and to fold as compactly as possible when not in use. For example, the Demco Commander[3] weight 41 pounds, tows up to 6,000 pounds and sells for $420-$570, and the Demco Dominator[4] weighs 30 pounds, tows up to 7,500 pounds and sells for $670-$1,118.
Related articles: Tow Dolly, Car Trailer, Towing a Car, Trailer Hitch, Towing Equipment

What should be included:
  • Tow bars should come with mounting hardware. Many also include safety chains or cables.
  • All vehicles manufactured after September 1998 must have tow bar mounting points built into the chassis, making it easier to install a tow bar. Etrailer.com provides a video demonstration[5] of how to install a motorhome-mounted tow bar.
  • Some vehicle might be damaged by being towed with all four wheels on the ground. Check the towed vehicle's owner's manual to see if it can be safely flat-towed, and how to do so.
  • Never back up while using a tow bar, and the vehicle being towed should weigh no more than 40% of the tow vehicle's weight. KHulsey.com outlines tow bar safety[6] , and RVersOnline.org lists practical tips for towing[7] . (Note that RVers often refer to towed vehicles as toads.)
Additional costs:
  • Many tow bar packages include the required safety chains or cables. If they're not included, these can cost $5 -$50 or more, depending on towing capacity and length.
  • If the tow vehicle doesn't already have a trailer hitch, having one installed can cost $100-$850 but averages $400-$500.
  • Lights are required on a vehicle being towed. Having a towed vehicle wired so it can easily be connected to the tow vehicle can run $100-$250 or more. Or a set of magnetic towing lights that can be slapped on the towed vehicle start at $15-$60 and can cost $100-$200, depending on the brightness and complexity of the lighting.
  • For permanent towing, installing an auxiliary braking system (so the towed vehicle's brakes are activated by the brakes of the vehicle doing the towing) can cost $450-$1,800 or more, depending on the vehicles and the braking system.
Shopping for a tow bar:
  • Tow bars are rated by the amount of weight they can tow, ranging from Class I (up to 2,000 pounds) to Class V (up to 12,000 pounds). The class of the tow bar should always match that of the tow vehicle and the trailer hitch being used.
  • Major tow bar manufacturers include Blue Ox[8] , Demco[9] , Draw-Tite[10] and Roadmaster[11] .
  • Tow bars are available at RV dealerships and auto supply stores like CSK Auto or Napa Auto Parts[12] ; from online retailers like Amazon[13] and eTrailer.com[14] . Search for local RV dealers through Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association[15] or GoRVing.com[16] .
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External Resources:
  1.  www.hitchinfo.com/index.cfm?event=viewpage&contentpieceid=5152
  2.  www.curtmfg.com/part/19745
  3.  towdemco.com/victory-series-tow-bars/commander/
  4.  towdemco.com/victory-series-tow-bars/dominator/
  5.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4FT42282KM
  6.  www.themotorhomeguide.com/techtips_towing_safety.html
  7.  www.rversonline.org/ArtTowingTips.html
  8.  blueox.com/c-1-towbars.aspx
  9.  towdemco.com/
  10.  www.drawtite.com/towbars.html
  11.  www.roadmasterinc.com/products/towbars/index.html
  12.  www.napaonline.com/Locator/Default.aspx
  13.  www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dautomotive&field-keywords=tow+bar&x=...
  14.  www.etrailer.com/dept-pg-Tow_Bars.aspx
  15.  www.rvda.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Dealer_Info&template=/DealerSearch/Custom/dealer_s...
  16.  www.gorving.com/where-to-find/dealers
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