Towbars For Caravans (Don’t Install The Wrong One For Yours!)

Towbars for Caravans.

A simple question to answer, but yet a complex question in itself.

How do you match the right Towbar (in a sea of different Towbar options) with the right caravan (in a sea of caravan specifications?).

Well, if you’ve been pondering about this question, we’ve got you covered.

In this ultimate guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about matching the right Towbar for your caravan.

From understanding the intricacies of Towbars to finding out the specifications of your own caravan, you’ll be well on your way to zooming in on the perfect Towbar for that caravan you’re bringing on your adventure outdoors this weekend.

Let’s begin!

Breaking Down Our Thought Process

Before we get into the article, let’s take a look at how we can arrive at the right decision for the Towbar that you’re planning to install on your caravan.

Firstly, we’re going to take a look at the different types of Towbars out there in the market, and then zoom in on specific Towbars that are made for heavy loads like caravans.

We’re also going to take a look at some additional information that might come in handy in your decision to buy a Towbar for your caravan.

Lastly, we’ll combine our findings from both sides, and arrive at the right Towbar for your caravan and recommend some choices that you can consider.

The Different Types Of Towbars

In this first section, we’ll look at the different types of Towbars that are available for purchase in the market.

If you’re new to the Towbar industry, fear not. This section will show you everything you need to know to understand Towbars completely!

The 3 Styles Of Towbars

Generally speaking, there are 3 different styles of Towbars out there. Let’s look at each one in detail.

The Flat Bolt On Tongue Towbar

The Flat Bolt On Tongue Towbar is distinct in its design – it comes with a detachable Towbar that fits nicely into a horizontal slot on the Towbar.

This tow ball “tongue” (where it gets its name) is then secured in place using two large bolts that go through the top of the hitch of the Towbar.

The Flat Bolt On Tongue Towbar is typically used in lighter classes of Towbars (we’ll cover Towbar classes later on), and isn’t something that you should worry about if you’re searching for a Towbar for your caravan – unless of course, your caravan is quite small (up to 1,600kg).

Case in point?

Our Standard Towbar (Class 2) has a “flat bolt on the tongue” that is rated up to 1,600kg, and might just be able to make it through a small caravan.

Rear Step Towbar

Rear Step Towbars come with a catch – they are usually used on 4WDs.

This is because Rear Step Towbars are usually elevated much higher from the ground than standard Towbars, and thus are better suited for off road driving.

You can recognize these Towbars from its slightly longer length. This is so that a rear step can be fitted on to it.

However, as we’ve earlier mentioned, Rear Step Towbars come usually for use with 4WDs, and should be the least of your worries, assuming you’re shopping for one for your caravan.

Horizontal Hitch Towbar

Finally, we come to the Horizontal Hitch Towbar, which can be recognized by its square tongue that connects to the hitch receiver.

The Hitch Box is that section where the trailing coupling connects to. This is where people typically connect the tow ball to and secure the load (your caravan, in this case).

This Towbar comes in 2 versions, depending on the amount of weight that they carry and specific manufacturing features.

40mm Version Horizontal Hitch Towbar

The first version is a 40mm version, which is commonly used in Class 3 Towbars. Class 3 Towbars, as we will discuss later on, is used more for medium sized loads, which might not be what you’re looking for if you’re considering towing a caravan along.

50mm Version Horizontal Hitch Towbar

On the other hand, the Horizontal Hitch Towbar also comes in a 50mm version, which is commonly used in Class 4 Towbars.

Now, this is where you should start paying attention, since Class 4 Towbars, as we will discuss later, involves heavy-load towing that is rated for maximum towing capacity of the vehicle.

This means that the 50mm Version Horizontal Hitch Towbar can tow heavy loads like Caravans,  Large Trailers, Boats and Horse Floats that would just snap off any Class 3 Towbars.

Additional Considerations If You’re Towing A Caravan

Before we proceed to talk about the next section, we think that it’s important to let you be mindful of a few regulations and safety precautions when it comes to towing a caravan.

A Note About Weight Distribution Systems

You might not know this, but a Weight Distribution System is critical for your road trip if you’re considering towing along your caravan.

Think about it – when you’re towing along something as heavy as a trailer or caravan, there’s going to be a very uneven proportion of weight being shifted around.


Add to that the uneven movements of Australia’s roads and off-road, and you might find one side hanging off the cliff if you’re not careful.

That’s where weight distribution systems come into the picture.

A weight distribution system is designed to transfer some of the load from the Towbar ball to the front and rear suspension of the towing vehicle, allowing for an even distribution is maintained across all wheels.

Towbar companies like Speedy Towbars carry the full range of weight distribution hitches from Hayman Reese and Trailboss and are able to help you install these hitches for an additional fee when you purchase your Towbar from them.

You know the old saying: “It’s better to be safe than sorry!”

Electric Brakes

Australia road rules state any trailer that exceeds 750kg must have brakes fitted. Trailers with an electric brake fitted will require a brake unit fitted to the vehicle in order to activate the trailers brakes.

This means that if you’re considering a Towbar for your caravan and you haven’t purchased an Electric Brake yet, then you definitely need to get one – both for your safety, and to stay on the safe side of the law!

Companies like Speedy Towbars has a large range of brake controllers from trusted brands such as Hayman Reese and Tekonsha, so we know that we will have a brake controller to suit your needs.

Anderson Plugs and Isolators

Today’s caravans (and even large camper vans) require more power to operate than ever before. This means that to keep the batteries of the caravans from draining out, you need Anderson Plugs installed in your caravan.

On the other hand, the Isolators in the Anderson Plug helps to protect your caravan’s start batteries from being drained out, which might leave you stranded in the middle of the road.

In short, Anderson Plugs and Isolators are almost battery insurance for your caravan and helps you ensure that your caravan is always tow-ready at any moment.

At Speedy Towbars, we help clients like yourself install high amp Anderson plugs and isolators that keep your caravans running. We only use the highest quality product from trusted brands like Redarc and Narva.

All our Anderson plugs are wired with twin 8mm B&S double insulated cable for peace of mind.

Understanding Towbar Classes

Now that you understand the different types of Towbars out there, and (hopefully) learned how to spot on from a distance, you’re on your way to becoming a Towbar expert!

In this section, we’ll go a little further into letting you understand the different classes of Towbars recognized by the Australian Government.

This will help you later on as we explain our rationale behind the right Towbar (Class 4) for that Caravan of yours.

Let’s begin!

The Different Types Of Towbar Classes

Class 2 Class 3 Class 4
Towbar Type Standard Towbar Reese-Light Towbar Heavy Duty Towbar
Hitch Type Flat Tongue Horizontal Hitch Horizontal Hitch
Example Load Small Trailer Large Boat Caravan
Max Load Rating 1,600kg 1,600kg Heavy rated
Weight Distribution Hitches No No Yes
Accessories Not all Not all Most Accessories

 

Based on the table above, you can see a quick breakdown of the different types of Towbar classes out there in the market.

Let’s deep dive a little into each one.

Class 2 Towbars – Standard Towbars

Class 2 Towbars are called Standard Towbars at Speedy Towbars.

They are generally Towbars that can lift from 1,200kg-1,600kg, depending on the manufacturer and the exact specifications.

Our standard Towbar, for example, has a ‘flat bolt on tongue’ that attaches by two bolts. It is rated up to 1600kg and standard Towbars are suitable for small to large vehicles.

As you can see from the table, Class 2 Towbars are generally fit for a range of vehicles but are not the best fit for caravans, since they do not support most Towbar accessories right out of the box. They also do not support Weight Distribution Hitches, which is needed for your caravan.

Class 3 Towbars – Reese Light Towbar

As we go up one level from Class 2 Towbars, we arrive at Class 3 Towbars; a series of Towbars that can support heavier weights than Standard Towbars.

Even though the maximum load for Class 2 and Class 3 Towbars are similar, Class 3 Towbars are generally recommended for medium to larger vehicles, such as a Large Box Trailer, or a small boat.

However, Class 3 Towbars are still not the right fit for your caravan, since it does not support Weight Distribution Hitches, like Class 2 Towbars.

If it’s not Class 2 Towbars, nor Class 3 Towbars, then that has to lead us to an obvious answer for the right Towbar for your caravan…

Class 4 Towbars – Heavy Duty Towbars

Finally, we think that the right Towbar that you should be looking at for your caravan is a Class 4 Towbar.

As we’ve previously discussed, a Class 4 Towbar comes rated with a square 50mm x 50mm hitch box with a pin and clip.

It is also rated for the maximum towing capacity of the vehicle and is designed for towing caravans and other really large vehicles, like larger boats, and horse floats.

As an added bonus, our heavy duty Towbar is compatible with most accessories and weight distribution hitches – so that means that you have that additional option to add critical functions to your towing systems like Electric Brakes and Weight Distribution systems.

A Class 4 Towbar Is The Right Choice For Your Caravan

Now that we have broken down the different types and classes of Towbars, it’s quite clear that the right Towbar for your caravan is a Class 4 Towbar.

Because it has the ability to carry the heaviest load of all 3 classes of Towbars and comes fully compatible with accessories, Electric Brakes, and Weight Distribution systems, there’s really no reason to look any further than a Class 4 Towbar for your caravan!

How To Buy A Towbar For Your Caravan

Now that you know that a Class 4 Towbar is the right option for your Caravan, let’s take a closer look at how you can actually buy a Class 4 Towbar and some other additional add-ons to keep in mind when you choose and purchase a Class 4 Towbar.

Choose Reputable Brands

When you’re talking about purchasing a Class 4 Towbar that could mean the difference between a fun weekend at the campsite, or being stranded halfway on your trip because of a broken Towbar, we think that it justifies choosing a reputable brand.

In this case, choose from reputable brands and sellers like Speedy Towbars, that has years of experience, and specializes in European Towbars.

In fact, Speedy Towbars has the largest range of Towbars for European vehicles in Australia, so you’re never going to go wrong with them choosing a Class 4 Towbar for your caravan.

Seek More Help If You’re Still Uncertain

It’s okay to still be uncertain about the right Class 4 Towbar to get – after all; we don’t expect you to become a total expert just by reading this guide alone (not everyone are Towbar nerds like we are)!

When you eventually make the decision to purchase a Class 4 Towbar, be sure to utilize the free support and chats that reputable brands and Towbar installation services provide.

Speedy Towbars, for example, offers an online chat service that is available to tend to your needs 24/7.

Mobile Service, Anyone?

When you’re doing a Towbar Installation, make sure to leverage mobile services that the more reputable brands offer.

For example, Speedy Towbars offer a quick, fuss-free and professional mobile service, where our technicians travel down to your location at your convenience.

As an added bonus, each Speedy Towbars van carries a portable eftpos machine, offering full credit and debit payment options.

Our technicians also have the latest Snap-on® 18V cordless tools allowing us to complete the job without the need for power.

Look For Warranties Before You Buy

Make no mistake: Class 4 Towbars can be expensive. And painful, if you don’t get it covered under warranty.

That’s why before you purchase yours, be sure to check with your Towbars brand whether or not they offer warranties on their products.

Speedy Towbars, for example, offers Lifetime Warranties on all our products as a standard.

We’re not just serious about our service; we’re confident in our products and giving you peace of mind too.

Ready To Buy A Class 4 Towbar For Your Caravan?

And now, over to you.

Did this guide help you to make a decision about the right type of Towbar for your caravan?

If you still have questions, use 3 simple methods to contact us to get started right now:

1. Either click on the number on the top right of the website to book a Towbar installation appointment right now

2. Fill up the easy form on the right-hand side of this guide to schedule a Towbar installation

3. Use the “Leave a message” button at the bottom right of this guide to drop us a message – we’ll get right back to you soonest possible!

We can’t wait to get you started on your Towbar Installation right now!