There are a total of five main styles of towbar available on the market. There are flange ball towbars, where the towbar has a faceplate with the towball bolted to it, and are available as both fixed or detachable. And swan neck towbars, which have a one-piece neck with a towball attached and are also available as either fixed or detachable and also as a retractable version.
In this blog, we’ll detail the advantages and disadvantages of the different types and how to make sure you get the right one for your vehicle.
Flange Towbar Types
This is generally the most cost-effective option and the most commonly used in the UK. The towball is attached to the towbar using either two or four bolts and can be used with towbar mounted accessories such as cycle carriers, bumper protectors, etc. However, with this type, the towbar and electrics are very visible, and the different types of towballs can be very expensive.
This is the newest type of towbar and works in a very similar way to the fixed flange towbar. It is secured in the same way; however, the neck can be removed from the bar using a lock and key. With this towbar, cycle carriers can be used while towing. It can’t be seen when it’s not in use and doesn’t trigger reversing sensors when removed. However, the towbar height can not be altered, and there is only a limited range of alternate towballs that fit it. It is also much more expensive than a fixed towbar.
Swan Neck Towbar Types
This type is often used outside of the UK. They are not as adaptable as flange towbars as they can’t be used with any additional accessories. They are less likely to trigger reversing sensors and are compatible with a large number of vehicles. However, the towball height can’t be altered, and they are slightly more expensive than the fixed flange type towbars.
This type is similar to the fixed swan neck and was the first detachable type to be offered. It is mainly used in Europe and is similar to the detachable flange towbar in that it can’t be seen when not in use and is compatible with an increasing number of vehicles. However, the height can’t be altered, and it is much more expensive than fixed towbars.
This type is perfect if you regularly use your towbar and is maintenance-free. It can’t be seen when it’s not in use and is compatible with an increasing number of vehicles. As the ball is always connected to the sleeve, this ensures that there is no dirt left behind. However, it is much more expensive than the fixed type, and the height of the towbar can’t be altered.
What is a fixed towbar?
As the name suggests, a fixed towbar can’t be easily removed from the back of your vehicle. They are available in both swan neck and flange designs.
What is a detachable towbar?
A detachable towbar is essentially the opposite of fixed in that it can be removed from the back of your vehicle fairly easily. It uses a quick-release handle to provide quick and straightforward detachment. This type is also available in both swan neck and flange designs.