Everything You Need To Know About Motorhome Towbars
It's becoming more popular for motorhome owners to upgrade their vehicles to include things like bike racks and, of course, towbars. If you're choosing to do the same and add a towbar to your vehicle, it needs to be properly selected and installed by a professional. However, having a towbar fitted to a motorhome might be complicated as it's not quite as simple as just having a towbar fitted to a car. There are a variety of factors to take into account.
In this guide, we'll help you decide how to choose and maintain a motorhome towbar by covering the following:
- Consider the age of your motorhome
- Get your motorhome towbar installed by a professional
- How much can your motorhome tow?
- How to maintain your motorhome towbar
- Other things to consider
Consider the age of your motorhome
The make, model and year of your motorhome will impact the vehicle-specific towbars that are safe and available to you. Whether your motorhome is brand new or second hand, your towbar will still need to be specific to your vehicle and any motorhome which has been registered from 2012 onwards must have already installed an EC Type Approved towbar.
Motorhomes that are registered before 2012 may need a 'towbar reevaluation'. This involves assessing the state and safety of your towbar to ensure it is still safe to tow, especially if the motorhome is second hand. Another important thing to remember is that you cannot transfer a towbar from one vehicle to another, even if it is the same make and model.
Get your motorhome towbar installed by a professional
Before you buy a motorhome, it is worth checking if it is possible to install a towbar on your chosen make or model. There may be some obstructions such as water tanks, a spare wheel, waste pipes and more which you should be able to see by checking over the rear of the vehicle. If you're still not sure whether a motorhome you're thinking of buying is suitable for use with a towbar, find a local mechanic and towbar specialist for some advice.
Once you have established that your new motorhome can be used for towing, you need to choose the right towbar for your towing needs. Witter Towbars and Westfalia produce a wide range of high-quality towbars that are all vehicle specific. All you need to do is enter your vehicle registration number to find out what towbars are suitable for your motorhome.
How much can your motorhome tow?
When you are towing with your motorhome, you need to be aware of the towing limits as your vehicle will not be able to legally tow above a certain weight. One of the most important weights you need to check is the gross train weight (GTW) of your motorhome. It can be located on your vehicle's data plate or in the base vehicle's handbook, as well.
The GTW is the combined weight of the laden towing vehicle as well as a loaded trailer and it must not be exceeded. You can consult your local weighbridge or read our article about towing capacity in order to find out what you can legally, and safely, tow.
Another thing that is very important to consider is the rear axle weight. The more you load onto the back of a vehicle, the more weight there is on the rear axle, which can create a seesaw effect. Under no circumstances must you exceed the maximum axle weight, as it is shown on the vehicle's data plate or in the owner's handbook.
How to maintain your motorhome towbar
If you take proper care of your towbar it should require little to no maintenance, but there are a few things that you may want to consider after its installation. For example, if you are using a towbar with friction pads, it is recommended to sand down the paint on the towball using a proper emery cloth because any debris or paint that may remain can contaminate the pads.
Additionally, it is important to remember that your towball should only be cleaned by using materials such as brake cleaner or white spirit to remove any grease remains.
Rust can build up on the towball over time, so you can remove it using a fine emery cloth.
A towball cover is a much better option because it can help prevent the rust from building up if the towball cover is kept clean. You can also use a weather cover to keep the housing clean.
Other things to consider
Once you have found a motorhome to suit you, checked the weight and understood towing restrictions, you are ready to start looking for a towbar. To gain a true insight into the total weight of your motorhome and trailer, you can take it to a weighbridge before setting off on a long journey to ensure you are towing safely.
Motorhomes and cars are not the same and everyone needs different things so the towbars that will be suitable for your motorhome, as well as what and how you tow, will be different too. Towing with a motorhome can be a bit of a challenge, so be sure to do your research before you set off and you'll be ready to tow in no time!