If you’ve just bought your first caravan or trailer and you’re planning your first adventure across the outback with your Isuzu, then choosing the right towbar is one of the most important buying decisions you have to make next to ensure everything goes smoothly. But with so many different types of towbars available today, how do you select the ideal one for your Isuzu and caravan?
These Isuzu ute accessories come in a wide range of shapes and forms, and there are quite a few other things you need to keep in mind when installing them. For that reason, having a deep understanding of the different types of towbars and how they work is essential to having a safe and enjoyable experience on the road.
Types of Towbars
Horizontal Hitch Towbars
Horizontal hitch towbars are used for hauling heavy loads like caravans and heavy-duty trailers. They feature a square tongue that connects to the hitch receiver. These towbars are available in two sizes – 40mm and 50mm. 40mm towbars are used for towing lighter loads, whereas 50mm towbars are used for heavy-duty towing. Regardless of size, these towbars use a metal pin through the side of the hitch in order to remain secured to the hitch receiver. Horizontal hitch towbars are compatible with weight distribution hitches.
Swan Neck Towbars
These towbars are typically used by people who own European vehicles, as they’re the most popular in Europe. Swan neck towbars usually have a swan neck tow ball permanently attached to them, and they generally resemble an L- and U-shape. Vertical hitch towbars are similar to swan neck towbars in terms of design, but they’re uncommon in Australia and are often oversea imports.
Flat Tongue Towbars
Flat tongue towbars are only used for lightweight hauling. They feature a detachable tow ball that fits into a horizontal slot in the towbar. The tongue of the tow ball is secured with two large bolts that go through the top of the hitch.
Weight Distribution Hitches
Weight distribution hitches are designed to level both your Isuzu and the trailer or caravan. These hitches are important in order to prevent heavy trailers or caravans from pulling the rear of your vehicle down, which can result in handling problems leading to dangerous situations. A properly installed and tuned weight distribution hitch will spread the weight evenly across the chassis of your Isuzu and the trailer instead of focusing all the weight on the tow ball. Most people won’t haul a heavy trailer or caravan without one of these accessories.
These Isuzu ute accessories are available in three classes – class two, class three and class four. Each of these classes represents the towing capacity of the towbar. Weight classes are determined by the type of towbar installed and the way it’s installed on the vehicle.
Class two towbars are the lightest, capable of carrying up to 1200kg. This makes them suitable for towing smaller trailers, and they generally use a flat tongue hitch.
Class three towbars are for medium loads and are generally rated up to 1600kg. They’re suitable for towing smaller boats, compact vehicles and slightly larger trailers. Class three towbars aren’t very popular due to the fact that class four towbars are capable of much more without a significant price increase.
Speaking of class four towbars, these are the most heavy-duty towbars available today, capable of towing up to 3500kg, making them suitable for people looking to haul big and heavy loads, like caravans, boats, etc.
Factors to Consider
There are quite a few things you need to consider when you’re buying a towbar. For instance, you have to make sure the towbar you’re considering is ADR compliant. Most towbars manufactured in Australia are compliant with the AS/NZS4177 standard for towbars, whereas towbars imported from overseas may or may not be. If the towbar isn’t ADR compliant, you’re placing yourself and your Isuzu at risk. The compliance plate is located under the towbar or on the inside of the frame.
Next, consider whether you want the towbar to feature recovery points. Most towbars don’t have them, but there are some that do. However, even if you want a towbar with a recovery point but can’t find one, you can always get D-shackles that can be used for towing.
Furthermore, consider whether installing a towbar will interfere with your rear camera system and sensors. Some vehicles feature low mounted sensors that can pick up the tow ball, so it’s always worth checking with the towbar manufacturer just to make sure. A simple solution to the problem is to remove the tow ball from the receiver when you aren’t using it. Keep in mind that reverse sensors on most vehicles will still go off when you’re reversing with a caravan or trailer. Some aftermarket sensors feature a cut off switch, while people with stock reverse sensors will have to handle the beeping.