Roadmaster Nighthawk towbar

What Kind Of Tow Bar Should You Buy?

Whenever you flat tow, there are three systems that are absolutely essential: Your braking system, your lighting kit, and your tow bar system. While these three systems interact with each other at times, they are distinctly separate from one another. We talk at length here on our site about braking systems, but we haven’t focused as much on the other two (though our excellent Flat Towing Guide walks you through both HERE).

In this article, we’ll be looking at the tow bar part of the equation.


A tow bar is a type of towing hitch that’s specifically designed for flat towing a car behind another vehicle. The two arms of the tow bar connect to a base plate that is installed at the front of the towed vehicle. Tow bars are often only compatible with base plates from the same manufacturer (though most manufacturers make adapters that can be used to connect one manufacturer’s tow bar to a different manufacturer’s base plate). Because of this, you’re usually purchasing a tow bar and base plate together as one unit when you’re setting your car up to tow. Installing a tow bar/base plate package can be complicated, so a lot of folks choose to have their local dealer install this portion of their setup.


Unfortunately, not all tow bars are created equal. There’s a huge variance in quality out there. How do you know if you’re buying the right one?

There are three factors you’ll want to assess whenever you’re choosing a tow bar:

  1. Durability - Every tow bar is rated for a certain number of extensions. 100,000 extensions is considered exceptional within the industry, so you want to aim as close to that as possible (or more).
  2. Non-Binding Latches - This is becoming a common feature across the industry, but is still something you have to look out for. Binding occurs when disconnecting your vehicle, and most commonly happens when your vehicle is on a downgrade or at an angle. In these instances, the towed’s weight “binds” one arm of the tow bar and prevents the latches from releasing. This issue is a massive headache - but one that can be prevented when a tow bar has non-binding latches equipped.
  3. Addtl. Safety/Aesthetic Features - For example, one sought-after additional feature to look for is a tow bar that has some kind of lighting system attached for it. While this may not seem particularly important, it can be quite the difference maker if you’re hooking up or unhooking in the dark.


For our money, the best tow bar currently on the market is the Roadmaster Nighthawk. This thing is an absolute beast - it’s rated for over 100,000 extensions, comes equipped with non-binding latches, and has a couple of LED light strips on either side that provide really solid illumination in the dark. Not to mention it looks really, really cool!

Our president Dan has used many tow bars in his 30 years or so of towing, and this one’s been far and away his favorite. Additionally, we know the folks who run Roadmaster personally (no, they’re not paying us to say any of this by the way), and they’re stand-up people who run their business well.


Tow bars - like most elements of your flat towing setup - are not cheap. You want to make a worthwhile investment by choosing a system that will last and make your life easier in the long run. Choosing a tow bar like the Roadmaster Nighthawk will do just that.

Have more questions on tow bars or any other part of your flat towing setup? Let us know in the comments below!

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