Can You Back Up With A Tow Bar?

Nov 06, 2021
Can You Back Up With A Tow Bar?

When towing a vehicle behind your RV, there are some things you be aware of. If you have experience with flat-towing a vehicle behind an RV, this scenario might sound familiar. Imagine that you’re pulling into a gas station or rest area with a car in town 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? 

Benefits of Flat-Towing Behind an RV

Taking a trip in your RV can create some long-lasting memories with your loved ones. There are some incredible places you can travel in an RV! Bringing along an extra vehicle can increase the fun by having a way to quickly get around town, travel onto rough terrain, or take a trip to the beach without needing to figure out how you’ll be able to maneuver a gigantic RV in potentially tight areas. 

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 is an excellent way to travel in an RV and still have the ability to drive around and explore your surrounding without moving your RV. Having an additional vehicle with you means more fun for you and the family. Flat-towing is different from other ways to tow a vehicle and it means all four tires of the vehicle are on the ground. The setup is pretty simple as a tow bar connects to the back of your RV to the front of the towed vehicle. To safely bring your tow vehicle along, it must be equipped with base plates or brackets on the front end, and your RV needs to have a receiver hitch. Base plates should be made for your tow vehicle specifically so that you don’t cause damage to your RV or tow vehicle’s frame. 

Do Not Backup with a Tow Bar

It is so tempting when your RV is in a tight spot and you just need to re-align to back up with a tow bar and tow vehicle still attached. But do not give in to temptation on this one! You will regret it and it might end up ruining your trip by adding vehicle repairs to your list of activities. When you have your towed vehicle connected to the RV and attempt to back up, you will certainly 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. This can cause damage to your RV, tow bar, tow vehicle, and probably your ego, too. The dinghy can start to jackknife, forcing the tow bar to bend. Once the tow bar is bent, it will not function the same way and may not be safe for you to continue using to tow your vehicle. 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. Attempting to un-jam the arms can be very difficult. 

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. Even if you think that you only need to back up a short distance, it could be enough to cause serious damage. 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 and end up with an expensive bill for vehicle repairs. 

Backing Up With Other Towing Equipment

Backing up while towing anything can be tricky and it takes a lot of practice. Those who are beginners at it are likely to jackknife it a few times and end up going over a curb or two. 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? 

What Towing Equipment Can You Back Up Without Disconnecting?

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 including custom base plates that fit your tow vehicle perfectly for flat-towing. 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.

Tags: rvtowing


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