Towbars - What To Think About When Buying One

By Damian Papworth

As a family, we love to drive off and go camping for weekends, or weeks at a time. We mostly keep it really simple, a tent, sleeping bags and a car full of provisions. Last year though, for a change, we decided to rent a caravan and do it that way. Not having a towbar on the jeep, I clearly needed to get one installed.

So I made my way down to All Vehicle Accessories (AVA) in South Melbourne with the intention of getting a cheap towbar installed. On arrival I was thinking the less money I spent on the towbar, the more I'd have for the holiday. In discussing these ideas with the AVA professionals though, I quickly learned just how silly this attitude was.

To begin with, they got me thinking about the types of things I wanted to tow. Obviously there was the caravan for the upcoming trip. Following on from that though, I'd probably buy some bike beaks too as my wife loves triathlons. We could take the bikes up to the Dandenongs for a ride.

They then showed me the value of the objects I was going to be towing. To start with, my bike is a bit of a cheapie. I only spent about $800 on it. My wife's though, well given her passion for triathlon training, she spent over $3000 for hers.

I didn't know how much caravans were worth, I had to do some research on them to figure that one out. But I now know that you'll be lucky to get anything under $5000 for a caravan and they actually go all the way up to about $120,000. That certainly is a "heavy" load for the towbar.

I was convinced. I had to change my attitude toward this towbar. If I was going to pay the money regardless, I may as well have it done properly. Instead of finding a cheap towbar, I realised I needed to find a quality towbar. Paying the few extra dollars didn't matter anymore, when taken in perspective with the items being towed.

Having a better idea of what I was looking for made the product choice a little bit easier. For example, did you know that Hayman Reece are the only towbar that comes with a lifetime warranty anywhere in Australia. Personally I think this speaks volumes for the quality of their products. They are clearly the only brand which fully trusts their own product. The great thing about Hayman Reece towbars too ,are the accessories you can get with them. They have accessories which make their towbars safer and work better with your vehicle.

They have this thing they call a "Weight Distribution Hitch". When applied to your towbar, this hitch actually reduces the drag on your vehicle by reducing ball weight. And you know what that means. By paying a little more for a quality towbar and weight distribution hitch, all of a sudden you are saving money on fuel, on tyre wear and all the other things that wear out faster when you are pulling something. So it actually is a dis-economy to go the cheaper option on a towbar.

The second feature was their Sway Control accessory. Have you ever been driving behind a caravan which, when a truck drives past, swerves all over the road? The sway control accessory stops this. Given my family are going to be sitting in the car pulling my caravan, this is a safety feature I definitely wanted. They are just too precious to me.

I have to thank the guys at AVA for their help on this one. They gave me perspective, an understanding that finding the cheapest towbar is probably not the cheapest way to tow and ensured my tow set up was as safe as it could be. What more could you ask for?

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