There are four major components to any towing system: 1)
the tow bar; 2) the mounting bracket; 3) supplemental brakes; and 4) accessories. ROADMASTER offers a wide range of product choices within
(Some of the terms below are unique to towing; others are unique to ROADMASTER products. Our glossary of towing terms may be helpful).
Tow bar or tow dolly?
A tow bar is by far the most common method of towing. It allows for the quickest connection to the motorhome; plus, it's lightweight, easy to handle and simple to store.
(There is another way to tow: A tow dolly is ideal for those who want to tow multiple vehicles
without having to install a mounting bracket on each one. Plus, a transmission lube pump system isn't necessary for front wheel drive vehicles with automatic transmissions, because
the front wheels are off the ground).
1. Select the tow bar that's right for you...
(Before towing any vehicle, make certain that it can be towed with all four wheels on the ground,
without damage to the transmission — refer to the owner's manual or the dealership. Most vehicles can be towed "as is"; some require aftermarket accessories
such as a transmission lube pump system or a driveshaft disconnect. Both products are reliable, time-proven accessories that protect the vehicle's transmission during towing).
There are two basic tow bar designs: motorhome-mounted and car-mounted. Most have "collapsible" arms which slide back and forth, making them easy to
connect. Then, as you drive away, the arms automatically extend, self-center and lock in place. When not in use, both can be removed completely or folded against the vehicle for
quick, compact storage.
Motorhome-mounted tow bars insert into the motorhome hitch receiver, and can be stored on the back of the motorhome. Motorhome-mounted bars are preferred, because
they never have to be lifted off the front of the towed vehicle, and you always have a built-in spot for storage on your motorhome. Or, they can be completely detached and lifted
off the motorhome for long-term storage.
Car-mounted tow bars are designed for simplicity and ease of use. They are mounted and stored on the front of the towed vehicle. They also can be completely detached
and lifted off the vehicle for storage.
An economical alternative to collapsible tow bars is the "rigid A-frame" design. Because the arms do not adjust ("collapse"), the towed vehicle must be
maneuvered into position, to align the tow bar to the hitch receiver on the motorhome. Rigid A-frame tow bars are simple, inexpensive and dependable; however, if you plan to connect
and disconnect a towed vehicle frequently, a collapsible tow bar may be a better choice.
Every tow bar is rated at a specific weight capacity. Whichever tow bar you choose, it must be rated above the weight of your towed vehicle, plus its contents.
2. Connect to a tow bar mounting bracket...
Regardless of the type of tow bar you choose, a mounting bracket is required. Mounting brackets have one purpose: to connect the
tow bar to the towed vehicle. Each bracket is custom-designed to fit a specific vehicle or range of vehicles, and are attached to the frame, subframe, core support or other points
along the vehicle's undercarriage.
There are two types of mounting brackets: classic (exposed) and "hidden." The visible portion of classic brackets (the attachment points) are fixed; the attachment points on all
"hidden" brackets are easily removed when the vehicle is not being towed. "Hidden" brackets are preferred because they are virtually invisible when the vehicle is not being towed.
ROADMASTER manufactures more than 1,000 different tow bar brackets, which fit more than 2,000 different vehicles; the
bracket search will tell you which style(s) are available for your vehicle.
3. A supplemental braking system...
At highway speeds, or during a panic stop, the inertia of a towed vehicle's weight
may be too much for the motorhome's brakes to handle alone. ROADMASTER manufactures a "direct" supplemental braking system (BrakeMaster);
two portable systems (Even Brake and the 9700) and a progressive system (InvisiBrake).
BrakeMaster and Even Brake are "proportional" systems — they work in relation to the motorhome's brakes; the 9700 applies a pre-set pressure to the towed vehicle's brakes, and InvisiBrake
applies a progressively harder force as the brakes in the motorhome are continuously applied.
Why do I need supplemental brakes?
Which system is right for me?
4. Safety equipment
Safety cables are secondary safety devices, required by law in almost every state. ROADMASTER manufactures two basic types:
straight or Flexo-Coil™.
While in tow, every vehicle must be wired for functioning brake lights, turn signals and running lights. There
are three ways to accomplish that: a system of diodes (the Universal Wiring Kit); a taillight kit (also called a "bulb and socket kit"); or magnetic lights.
Each method has its advantages. Whichever one you choose, ROADMASTER has a kit with all the necessary components, and step-by-step instructions but you will need an electrical cord
to conduct the lighting signals from the motorhome to the towed vehicle. Flexo-Coil cords expand to more than eight feet and conveniently contract for storage; straight cords fit ROADMASTER
All Terrain tow bars. These three items (plus other accessories) can be purchased separately, or you can purchase a Combo Kit, which contains all the necessary
accessories for your specific ROADMASTER tow bar.