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If you know that you need a towbar, your next decision is what type of towbar you opt for – either fixed, detachable, or retractable. Even then it’s not that simple because there are variations within each group and some versions are considerably more expensive than others, so budget has to be a factor.

We’ve already considered the pros and cons of a fixed towbar so now we’re going to focus on the alternative options of detachable or retractable towbars. The more informed you are, the more it will help you make a final decision to get the most suitable towbar for your needs.

  • If you need a towbar there are three types to choose from – fixed, detachable, or retractable.
  • There are variations within the different types of towbars, and they can vary considerably in cost.
  • The more information you have, the easier it should be to get the best towbar to suit your requirements.

With a manually detachable towbar, the rear section including the tow ball can be removed without the use of any extra tools, so the advantage over a fixed tow bar is that it can be taken off when not in use to maintain the vehicle’s original appearance.

However, a detachable towbar will be more expensive than a fixed one and you will still have to manually remove it and store the parts.

Retractable towbars are exactly as they sound. They can be retracted – either manually or electrically – underneath the bumper and out of sight. They tend to be fairly maintenance-free and of course, there’s no chance of losing the neck because it isn’t removed.

Remember though, with a manually retractable tow bar you will have to go to the back of the vehicle – regardless of the weather – and operate the lever by hand either to lock it in place or release the lock. However, as there are no electronics to go wrong, you might get wet, but you will be able to tow.

At the top of the range, an electrically retractable towbar is the most convenient type of tow bar as moves quickly and smoothly into position at the touch of a button. Of course, this convenience comes at a price and so electrically retractable towbars are also the most expensive by some way.

It may also be worth considering that because electrically retractable towbars consist of more electrical components, they may have increased potential for those components to go wrong. If you are concerned about reliability you may feel that this type of towbar wouldn’t suit you. If an electrically retractable towbar is your preferred option then factoring servicing and maintenance into the cost might be a good idea.

Some motor manufacturers offer manually or electrically deployable towbars as a factory fit, and some dealers will retrofit them. Alternatively, you could use a specialist independent fitter to fit the towbar of your chosen manufacturer. Just remember to research your favoured towbar’s compatibility with your vehicle before purchase.

There is a huge choice of towbars designed for towing on the market. By prioritising needs rather than wants, sticking to your budget, and doing your research, you should be able to decide on your perfect towbar.