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Orbit's Travel Blog - 16.03.2022.

Car Hire With Tow Bar

Are you going on vacation but don't like hotels, apartments and other enclosed spaces? Does your idea of vacation consist of breathing fresh air and being one with nature? If you love camping and are an adventurous type and a true fan of the great outdoors, then this is for you. Leave the TV at home, put on the caravan and go camping.

So you've decided to rent a car and want to tow your caravan, bike rack or boat trailer. Still, you're unsure how to rent a car with a towbar or if your car rental company even offers this option.

In the United Kingdom, our partner Easirent offers the possibility to rent a car with an additional trailer hitch at Mitsubishi 4x4 (Automatic) Canopy & Tow Bar. Don't hesitate to contact the car hire company directly for more information.

Towing caravans and trailers

First things first: before you rent a car, you should check with the car rental company whether you are allowed to tow your caravan. If you get the green light from the car hire company to tow your caravan or trailer, you will probably want to use a detachable towbar. Some car rental companies will allow you to attach the trailer hitch to their vehicle. In contrast, others will not allow towing of any kind with the rented car. However, you may be able to find a car at the car rental company that already has a tow bar attached. In addition, there are car rental companies that offer vehicles already equipped with tow bars. In many cases, 4x4 vehicles are suitable for most conventional towing devices. If you want to know more about what you will be driving, check out with information on how a tow bar works and what the best features of the different types of tow bars are. 

Tow bar on a vehicle

Better safe than sorry

  • Enjoy your break, but stay safe on the road
  • Be careful when cornering
  • Never exceed 60 mph on two-lane roads and 50 mph on single-lane roads
  • Do not allow passengers to ride in the trailer while you are towing it
  • The tow bar must be "type approved" - it must comply with EU regulations
  • Keep your caravan as light as possible
  • If the trailer or caravan you're towing is wider than the car, you need to make sure you can see around it. If it's not, you'll need to add towing mirrors to the existing wing mirrors.
  • The trailer or caravan should also have a precise number plate that matches the vehicle registration, and the container should be attached to the rear.
  • Before you set off, don't forget to connect the electrics properly, such as brakes and brake lights.

Car hire with a tow bar

Tow bar types

There are two types of tow bars; each type has two designs, so let's look at the classes first. They are called gooseneck and flange. The flange is commonly used in the UK, and generally, this is a tow bar where the tow ball is attached to the tow bar with two or four bolts. Due to its design, it can be with different accessories, such as bike racks, bumper guards, and all kinds of stabilizers.

On the other hand, we have gooseneck tow bars, which are more common in the EU and more popular in the UK. Most car owners feel that gooseneck tow bars look neater and are less likely to set off your parking sensors. However, this type of tow bar is less versatile; you can tow or attach a bike rack, but you can't use both simultaneously.

There are two different types of trailer hitches: fixed and detachable. Fixed trailer hitches are usually a little cheaper. Still, they change the car's look because the trailer hitch is always visible. A detachable towbar can be removed and makes the car look as if there is no towbar fitted. The towing capacity is the same for both.

When renting a car with a tow bar, you need to understand that not every car rental company has both types of tow bars on offer. However, if you know the differences between the two, you can ask the right questions when booking. First, email the car rental company and ask what vehicles are available with tow bars and what type of tow bars are available.

If you need a particular type of tow bar, let them know in advance, but expect that things can change when you arrive at your destination. You'll usually book a kind of vehicle, not a specific car, and the same goes for tow bar types. You will get what is available at your destination.

Towing Capacity

Suppose you rent a car to tow a caravan for vacation, a trailer or even a broken-down car. In that case, you must know the car's towing capacity as it varies depending on the make or model. In addition, you will need to add the weight of the caravan or whatever you are towing to the total weight. At Orbit Car Hire, we have put together some helpful guidelines.

Towing capacity is measured by the curb weight and the towing capacity. The curb weight is the total weight of a vehicle, including standard equipment, engine oil, coolant, and sometimes a full fuel tank, but without passengers or other cargo. Check the vehicle owner's manual to find out your vehicle's curb weight.

It is essential to know that the trailer must be equipped with brakes if its total weight is more than 750 kg or more than half the unladen weight of your car. In addition, the towing capacity should be less than 85% of the unladen weight.

Generally, a car with a towing weight of 2000kg should be sufficient for towing a caravan. However, as caravans can vary in weight, you should check the towing capacity of your car before setting off.

Orbit's Travel Blog

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