If you’re an RV-er, then being able to comfortably and confidently tow a dinghy is as essential as knowing how to make s’mores. Having a handle on how to use tow bars ensures you’re always ready for any situation. A tow bar can help you get around like an old pro – so make sure you brush up on your know-how.
This guide will break down the process into easy-to-follow steps, so that connecting a RV and dinghy vehicle is no sweat. From ensuring adequate parking space for both the vehicles before installation of the tow bar, through attaching its arms securely – all bases are brought home with this useful overview.
What is a Tow Bar?
A tow bar is like the Match.com of vehicles; it brings two strangers (a vehicle and an RV) together for a long-term relationship! It basically keeps the RV and the vehicle connected throughout the journey. The addition of a shank makes connecting them easy as can be – just fasten the pivoting arms and tabs so that both form part of the same convoy The towed vehicle is termed as dinghy.
How Does a Tow Bar work?
When you want to take your dinghy vehicle for a spin, all it takes is connecting the tow bar from the front of your car and latching onto the back of an RV. It’s that easy! With a tow bar hooked up, it’s like your dinghy vehicle is being led by the nose! The RV pulls while the bar pivots to give you an unbelievably smooth ride.
Steps to Install A Tow Bar
To ensure a safe and secure connection between RV and dinghy, both vehicles need to be set up with appropriate gear. A dinghy is all spiffy and ready to roll when outfitted with brackets or base plates. Before hopping in, don’t forget to also outfit your RV with a hitch.
1. Find A Flat Surface to Park The Vehicle
First, you need to find a nice place to park both the dingy and the towing vehicle. Make sure that ground is flat otherwise, you will have to improvise your way around. Make sure you’ve got plenty of room for maneuvering. Basically, you will have to find a nice wide-open spot, and then apply emergency brake of the RV.
2. Hitch & Base Plate are within 3 Inches of Each Other
You don’t want a gap of more than three inches between RV receiver hitch and the base plate attachment tabs
First, you need to get your trusty tape to measure the distance between the center of the RV hitch receiver from the ground (D1). Then get another measurement taken from terra firma to the attachment tabs of that dinghy vehicle of yours (D2).
Now, deduct D2 to D1, and let’s call the outcome “C”. Now, if C is greater than 3, you will have to find a hitch adapter.
3. Attach The tow bar To the RV
Slide the shank of your tow bar into its home sweet home, otherwise known as the receiver in your trailer hitch. After you’ve nestled it snugly inside, take care to secure it tightly using a pin and clip for extra safety on road trips.
Some tow bars come with two or more pin holes in the shank, allowing for extra clearance if needed. Using the tow bar in the shortest position possible is recommended. Preparing to hit up some new getaways? Some models are designed with two or more holes that let you adjust clearance if necessary – aim for minimum length possible when doing so. Lastly, make sure those arms don’t trip anyone over by folding them away nice ‘n tidy until they won’t be an obstacle anymore!
4. Get The Vehicle Parked Behind the RV
Get your RV and vehicle in sync – drive up close, but not too close! Carefully maneuver your car into the ideal spot for dinghy towing, but take it slow! Don’t rush and inch up too close – you don’t want to mess up with that tow bar. Better yet, grab a friend for backup. Have them signal when you’re lined up just right. Then it’s time to put on the brakes and set ’em both into park mode.
5. Time to Attach the Arms of the Tow Bar
To hook up your dinghy vehicle, start by inserting the attachment tabs into the base plate receivers. You can then easily connect tow bar arms to the tabs – just pop open those latch handles and extend away! To fasten these pieces together securely, use a couple of lynch pins like an exclamation point on your handywork.
6. Time to Prep-up The Dinghy Vehicle for Towing
Give your vehicle’s owner’s manual some love by taking a careful look at it to make sure the transmission and steering wheel are properly prepped before taking off – different cars need slightly different arrangements! Don’t forget to unlock the steering wheel btw! Most cars need neutral, but some may have extra rules and regulations that require special procedures.
7. Tow Bar Latches
Make sure the tow bar latches are fully locked in place by pulling your RV forward very slowly. Start by taking the foot brake off and easing up slightly in drive so you can tell once it clicks into position—this is when both arms lock onto each other. Don’t forget to take an extra glance before hitting the road: safety first!
8. Attach Safety Cables
Cinch up your towing setup by attaching the safety cables from the RV hitch loops and crisscrossing them once underneath the tow bar. Keep ’em tidy so they don’t scrape along on pavement while you hit the road!
9. Plug in the Wiring Harness
To make sure your dinghy vehicle is ready for the road, you need to hook up its electrical socket with that of your RV. Most RVs come with a standard 4-way flat connection point – plug ’em in and attach an emergency breakaway just in case things go south. Of course, lights are essential! Make sure yours are synched properly by getting either tow wiring harness or some specially designed RV towing lights before taking off on any adventures together! Last but not least: check all lighting functions work once everything is connected so there’s no nasty surprises down the line.