RV towing vehicle using tow bar

Can You Back Up With A Tow Bar?

Here’s a common scenario; you’re pulling into a gas station or rest area with a car in town on behind your RV. You misjudge the turn and need to back up to avoid clipping a sign or curbing it. Or maybe you made it to your RV park and missed a turn and need to back up to make it into your spot. So, can you back up with a tow bar connected to the towed vehicle, or do you have to disconnect?

How do Tow Bars Work?

A tow bar is a vital piece of equipment you will need if you want to flat-tow a vehicle (aka dinghy or toad) behind your RV. Flat-towing means all four tires of the vehicle are on the ground. The tow bar connects to the back of your RV to the front of the towed vehicle. To tow the dinghy, it must be equipped with base plates or brackets on the front end, and your RV needs to have a receiver hitch. 

Do Not Backup with a Tow Bar

When you have your towed vehicle connected to the RV and attempt to back up, you will cause damage. Tow bars are designed to handle the load and stress in one direction. Your dinghy-towed vehicle has no ability to steer when you are backing up. You will end up with damage to the vehicle and the tow bar.  

Causing Damage to the Tow Bar

If you attempt to back up with the tow bar still connected, you will end up bending the tow bar if you don’t disconnect first. The dinghy can start to jackknife, forcing the tow bar to bend. You also run the risk of jamming the arm locks badly enough that you may not be able to get them to release once you try to unhook. 

Damaging Your Vehicle

If you try to back up with a tow bar still connecting your RV and towed vehicle, there is a good chance you could damage the dinghy-towed vehicle. The tow bar is connected to the frame, so any pressure or force applied to the tow bar will be transferred to the frame of the towed vehicle. There is also the chance that you could cause damage to the steering system. 

Backing Up With Other Towing Equipment

Backing up while towing anything can be tricky. Knowing how each vehicle or trailer moves together takes time to understand. Once you have mastered the art of backing up with a trailer or vehicle in tow, what kind of towing equipment can you stay hooked up to while backing up? One piece of equipment that you can stay connected to while backing up is the SwayPro and TrackPro from Blue Ox. Both of these products are weight distribution hitches that allow you to back up without disconnecting. SwayPro and TrackPro are both valuable towing equipment because they prevent trailer sway caused by bad roads, wind, passing vehicles, and weather before it starts. They are quick and easy to connect and disconnect, but there is no need to unhook while backing up. 

Tow Safely with Blue Ox

Blue Ox offers a variety of tow bars for all of your flat towing needs. Not all tow bars are created equal and we understand that you never want to compromise your fun or safety when you’re out on the road because of inadequate towing equipment. Blue Ox has Class III, Class IV, and Class V tow bars to handle whatever towing needs you have, ranging from 5,000 to 20,000 pounds. Visit our website today to browse our selection and find the right tow bar for you.