Towing a vehicle is not an issue if you have some time on your hands. Usually, the way things work if you have a flat tire or a vehicle that won’t start is to ring up AAA or any other towing company. They will take your details and send a team to tow your vehicle to a nearby workshop. So, you should know how to use a tow bar.
However, for that team to arrive, you need to be very patient as many people have reported absurd waiting times for towing companies. If you don’t have the time to wait and have a tow bar available or access to one, we will show you how to use a tow bar to achieve a flat tow.
Before we show you how to use a tow bar, it is important to know that this method is not only aimed at those drivers who are stranded on their roadside with a dead vehicle but also those who are going in their RV’s for a vacation and would like to have their vehicles tag along.
What is a flat tow?
Typically a tow would include raising the front of the vehicles with rear wheels touching the road. The vehicle takes support from the vehicle in the front of the crane on the tow car. However, a flat tow is something completely different. A flat tow requires all four tires of the vehicle to be flat on the road while a tow bar is used to efficiently tow the vehicle to the nearest mechanic.
Having a tow bar in your vehicle will save you a lot of headaches as many people would be willing to use their vehicles to help you get out of this sticky situation but they wouldn’t have a tow bar which is needed for a flat tow. Do note that you need your vehicle (that requires a tow) to have base plates or brackets at the front end to attach the tow bar to it.
So, how to use a tow bar? Is there a proper technique on how to use a tow bar to achieve a flat tow? Let’s find out.
How to use a tow bar: Step by step guide
Follow the steps below to achieve a perfect flat tow.
- Park your vehicle on a flat surface with enough space for your RV or another vehicle at the front. Put the primary vehicle that will be used to pull your secondary vehicle in park and hit the emergency brakes so that whatever happens, the vehicle does not move from its spot.
- Now you need to figure out whether or not you require a hitch adapter. The height of the base plate of the front vehicle should be no longer than three inches of the height of your secondary vehicle (the one that requires towing). If the difference between the heights of the base plate is more than 3 inches, then you would need a hitch adapter otherwise you are good to go.
- Start this step by hooking the tow bar to your RV’s or primary vehicle attachment or hitch. Insert your tow bar under the vehicle that will do all the pulling and pin it in place securing it with the relevant clips. You might notice that your tow bar has a few pinholes. It is always better to have the shortest distance between the primary and secondary vehicle hence we recommend clipping it in the appropriate pinhole. Don’t forget to fold the arms of the tow bar upwards so that it stays out of the way.
- Bring the secondary vehicle closer to the primary vehicle and apply the brakes. Just keep in mind that the tow bar is attached to the primary vehicle which would mean that you need to be careful not to drive into the tow bar. Use a friend or family member to guide you.
- Get the attachment tabs and fix them into the base plate of your secondary vehicle. Use the tow bar to attach it to the attachment tabs. Use lynchpins to secure the arms and tow bar into place.
- Now that the tow bar is in place, set your secondary vehicle into neutral and unlock the steering wheel of the vehicle so that the tires are not jammed in one place.
- Now release the brakes on the primary vehicle that will be doing all the towing. Slowly release your clutch or brakes to get the vehicle moving. This is important and needs to be done slowly as you need to notice whether the tow bar is latching properly or not. Once you’ve heard of the signs of a secure tow, follow the next step.
- Quickly attach the safety cables from the primary vehicle to the second vehicle in a criss-cross pattern. Make sure the cables are far above the ground so as to not drag them on the road.
And that’s about it. Now you know how to use a tow bar with either an RV or any other vehicle if you find yourself stranded on the side of the road.