The tow bar assembly transports vehicles — standard or automatic transmission — with all four wheels touching the ground. In general, tow bars are the easiest to use and the least expensive of the towing systems. Most tow bars are rated in classes from 5000 pounds to 10,000 pounds, sufficient to handle most any towed vehicle.
The system usually consists of two elements: the tow bar (or wishbone portion) and the base plate, which attaches to the chassis of the towed vehicle. The base plate is custom-made for a particular vehicle and provides a safe point of attachment for the tow bar.
Many manufacturers offer motorhome-mounted tow bars that remain attached to the motorhome and connect to the towed vehicle only when the car is being pulled. This type offers the the advantage of a built-in storage location and a cleaner-looking towed vehicle. Folding models that can be flipped and stowed horizontally or vertically on the base plate of the towed vehicle are also available.
Disadvantages: Tow bar assemblies, at least the base plate portion, tend to be unique to a particular vehicle. If a base plate does not already exist for your vehicle, custom installations can be expensive. Mileage accumulates on vehicles when they are being towed four wheels down, unless they are equipped with an electronic speedometer or a speedometer disconnect. Some vehicles cannot be towed in this manner without drivetrain modifications. With most tow bar systems, the motorhome cannot be backed up when the towed vehicle is attached.
While tow dollies and trailers come with lights, motorhomers who use a tow bar must use a tow light kit or wire into the towed vehicle’s lighting system.