How to choose a towbar correctly - a compendium of knowledge

How to choose a towbar correctly - a compendium of knowledge – main image

When making a decision to buy a car, we take into account various factors. We take into account its parameters, appearance, practicality and the functions it will perform. Sometimes certain car needs emerge over time, which is not foreseeable at the vehicle selection stage. However, there are many solutions that can increase the functionality of our car after its purchase. One of the easiest ways to increase this parameter is to purchase and install a towbar that can perform various functions - not only towing. We advise what to look for when choosing the first hitch.

Although the summer travel season is now over, the benefits of having a tow bar on your vehicle are there all year round. It is used both among people looking for a way to transport sports equipment, horses or large-size cargo. In a few points we will show you how to choose a product to suit your needs and the capabilities of the car.

Car parameters

The quality of driving with a trailer is influenced by both the tow bar and the appropriate parameters of the car. Amateurs of caravan holidays or people using transport trailers for professional reasons, before buying a car, consider all the features that determine whether it is a vehicle suitable for hauling other vehicles. Such a car is characterized by driving stability at high speeds, a sufficiently short braking distance, the ability to accelerate with additional load and trouble-free starting on a hill. Every year, the portal presents the results of tests of passenger cars best suited for driving with various types of trailers. They are divided according to the weight of the trailer (up to 750 kg, 1200 kg, 1500 kg and over 1500 kg), then the car of the year is selected among the winners of all categories. Taking advantage of expert advice, remember that in order to keep the vehicle set safe, the weight of the trailer should not exceed 85% of the unladen weight of the towing vehicle. When looking for a suitable product, you should also pay attention to the approval of the vehicle, which is issued by the manufacturer. For example, city cars and some hybrid vehicles are not approved for towing trailers. In this type of car, however, there are no contraindications for installing a special RMC tow hitch, fit only for bicycle racks. The balls of this type of hooks have an additional element that prevents the attachment of the trailer drawbar.

Towing hook parameters - maximum towing capacity and vertical load

New users of towing hitches, when starting their search for a suitable product to buy, usually do not know what parameters to pay attention to in the first place. Many are guided mainly by the price and brand. When analyzing the offers of numerous domestic and international manufacturers, it is necessary to check the maximum drawbar pull and its maximum vertical load. The first parameter indicates the highest weight of the trailer towed by the car. The maximum vertical load and towing capacity is the value set by the car manufacturer, and depends on its size and design solutions used in the vehicle. Taking into account both the above and the future use of the towbar, it is possible to choose the right product in terms of price and its functionality. It is important whether we want to buy a hook with the possibility of quick release of the ball, without the use of additional tools, or we decide on a permanent solution.

Towing hitch models

Over the years, the towbar market has evolved to meet the needs of car owners. Today, there are many different models of this equipment item. Depending on your preferences, car parameters and financial possibilities, you can choose a towbar (with two bolts), a detachable towbar (vertically or horizontally) and a towbar hidden under the car's bumper. For small city cars and hybrid cars, manufacturers have released special hooks for transporting bicycles - the only such solution available on the market. An example is the RMC hook from Brink.


The screw-on hitch is the best solution for people who frequently use various types of trailers. It is also the cheapest solution available on the market. Unfortunately, this type of towbar is not suitable for every car model. On some vehicles, it may obscure the license plate or fog lights, breaking the law. In such a situation, manufacturers recommend a model with a detachable hitch ball or hidden under the bumper. These are more expensive solutions, but with numerous advantages. There is both a horizontally detachable hook and a vertically detachable hook on the market. The most important difference between these mechanisms is the inclination of the hitch ball seat. In vertically detachable hooks, this part of the hook is completely under the bumper. When the ball of the hitch is disengaged, it cannot be seen that a towing system is installed in the vehicle. This solution ensures an aesthetic appearance of the vehicle. Unfortunately, it has one disadvantage, not every hook with a vertical finger system is suitable for transporting a bicycle rack. This is most often the case for smaller vehicles. In the case of the horizontal mechanism, the ball socket is visible, which makes clipping the ball even more comfortable.

- Regardless of the mechanism, detachable hooks are characterized by durability, safety and ease and convenient operation. With two simple strokes releasing the ball from its seat, you can effortlessly detach the protruding part of the hitch and safely transport it in the car. All you need to do is press lightly and turn the lever. Without additional tools, strength or the need to get under the car - describes Robert Lichocki, sales director of Brink Group in Poland. - It is even faster and easier to attach the crutch. It is enough to put the element in the socket and press it - he adds.

Additionally, a two-stage latch system and an additional lock prevent uncontrolled detachment of the hitch ball while using the towing hook. People who value the comfort of using the towbar above all else, should consider purchasing a hitch hidden under the car's bumper. It is the most modern and expensive solution available on the market. In this type of hook, the ball, when the trailer is not towed, is not detached, but hidden under the car's bumper. All you need to do is press a button and push the ball into its place in the bumper.

RMC hook


Regardless of the chosen hitch model, it is important that the product has a data plate, which confirms that the hook is approved. The plate also contains information on the maximum towing force and vertical load on the hitch ball.

Towing hook assembly and legalization

After selecting the towing hitch model and purchasing it, it's time to install it. Many users of online newsgroups often ask about the possibility of installing a towbar and a wiring harness by yourself. Due to the comfort and safety of moving a set of vehicles, it is recommended to use the services of professional points specializing in mounting hooks. Although each product comes with an instruction manual and a complete assembly kit (it is necessary to purchase a wiring harness separately), proper installation of the hitch, taking into account modern electronics in the vehicle, can be a challenge. The selection of the wiring harness also depends on what the towbar will be used for. The manufacturers' offer includes universal and dedicated, seven or thirteen-pole harnesses. The choice between a seven or thirteen pole beam depends on what the hitch will be used for. A thirteen-pole electrical harness is necessary when towing a caravan - it provides power to all basic lights and reversing lights, electrical equipment and allows you to charge its battery. In the case of light trailers and bicycle racks, a seven-pole harness is sufficient, while investing more funds in a dedicated wiring harness may prove to be a good choice because it provides greater safety and comfort of driving a set of vehicles. This type of harness is created in cooperation with the manufacturers of towing eyes and cars, which ensures ease of installation and use. The choice of a dedicated beam may be the right choice also due to the more and more modern on-board computer software responsible for the proper operation of additional functions in the car (e.g. reversing sensors). The track stabilization system is also increasingly used. It is responsible for detecting instability in the trailer track. By actuating the overrun brake, it restores the smooth trajectory of the trailer and prevents it from so-called snaking, which can lead to overturning of both the trailer and the car that is pulling it.

Regardless of whether we decide to install the hitch in a professional workshop or do it ourselves, it is necessary to legalize the towing hook, this means making an annotation in the vehicle registration certificate that states that you have a tow hook. We make an entry in the registration certificate at the Communication Department after an earlier visit at the Vehicle Inspection Station and passing the technical tests, as evidenced by the received certificate. When making an annotation, the following documents are required: vehicle registration certificate, vehicle card, if issued, a certificate from a Vehicle Inspection Station, an identity card, also a power of attorney for the indicated person, if required, a document confirming liability insurance [1] .

Although the tow bar is largely associated with the element necessary to tow caravans in the summer season, it should not be forgotten that it is often also useful outside the holiday season. Transporting building materials, furniture or other bulky loads will no longer be a problem. Knowledge of the basic types of towbars, their advantages and disadvantages as well as our obligations after installing the towbar, will facilitate the purchase process and subsequent use of the towbar.

About Brink Group

Brink Towing Systems Sp. z o. o. is an international concern-a leader in the production and sale of towing systems. In 2015, Brink Group's share of the global towing systems market was 25%. Fixed, disassembled or retractable hooks are manufactured in four plants in Europe and South Africa, employing over 650 employees. Since the mid-90s, the company has also been present in Poland, with its headquarters in Wolsztyn.

[1] Public Information Bulletin, Poznań City Hall,,30324/ .

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