Important read from the January 2020 issue of Family RVing Magazine!


Anyone who flat tows a vehicle behind a motorhome must be familiar with this equipment.

By Mark Quasius, F333630

Many owners of large motorhomes choose to tow a vehicle, which eliminates worries about maneuvering and parking the coach when touring an area, running errands, and the like.Vehicles can be towed with tow dollies and trailers, but the most popular method is flat towing, often referred to as four-wheels-down or dinghy towing. This method utilizes a tow bar.

Family RVing annually publishes a current-model-year list of vehicles that manufacturers have indicated can be towed four wheels down without significant modifications. The “2020 Towing Lineup” appeared in the January 2020 issue, page 32. Refer to the guide for additional steps you need to take to ensure a vehicle can be flat towed behind a motorhome.

An advantage of towing four wheels down is that tow bars fold up when not in use, requiring far less campsite space than a trailer or tow dolly. And, tow bars are easy to hook up. Typically, you drive the vehicle close to the rear of the motorhome, connect the tow bar arms, and back up the vehicle to lock the tow bar arm latches in the travel position. Then, connect the safety cables, as well as the umbilical cord that operates the towed vehicle’s taillights, brake lights, and turn signals. Follow the vehicle manufacturer’s instructions for flat towing, and you are ready to roll.

One disadvantage of a tow bar: It’s virtually impossible to back up without jackknifing the tow bar. But with a bit of planning, this isn’t a frequent concern.

Following is a selection of tow bars from Demco.
Note: Street prices may differ from manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP).


These Victory Series tow bars come with a lifetime limited warranty for the original owner.


Construction: Aluminum arms; steel self-adjusting inner arms.
Mounted on: Motorhome.
Capacity: 7,500 pounds.
Weight: 30 pounds.
Safety cables included: Yes.

Other features: Channel guides for safety cables; vertical bolt design (allows arms to be stored on either side or one arm to each side, and allows user to maneuver one leg at a time when hooking up); 1½-inch rise/drop receiver tube; adjustable pivoting head allows for an additional 3 inches of displacement, eliminating the need for drop hitches in most cases; self-supporting arms will not drop to the ground once disconnected from towed vehicle.

MSRP: $1,298.

Excali-Bar 3

Construction: Steel arms; steel self-adjusting inner arms.
Mounted on: Motorhome.
Capacity: 10,500 pounds.
Weight: 46 pounds.
Safety cables included: Yes.

Other features: See Dominator description for this category.

MSRP: $999.

Commander 2

Construction: Steel arms; steel self-adjusting inner arms.
Mounted on: Motorhome.
Capacity: 6,000 pounds.
Weight: 41 pounds.
Safety cables included: Yes.

Other features: See Dominator description for this category.

MSRP $810.


A base plate, installed on the chassis of the towed vehicle, provides a secure point of attachment for the tow bar. Each tow bar manufacturer has a proprietary system of connecting the tow bar to the base plate, so generally it’s a good idea to purchase the base plate and tow bar from the same supplier. However, manufacturers sell adapter lugs, so it is possible to use a tow bar with another brand of base plate.

Base plates that feature removable tabs are available. The tabs connect the tow bar arms to the towed vehicle. Tabs that jut out when a vehicle is not being towed can detract from the vehicle’s appearance. Tabs also can be shin-busters if you walk too close to the front of the vehicle.

If you plan on towing a Jeep Wrangler or a similar vehicle, you might want to consider using tow tabs attached to a heavy-duty steel bumper. Suppliers such as Rock Hard 4x4 sell steel bumpers for off-road use; tow bar brackets can be attached to the bumpers. This eliminates the need for a base plate. That can be a great choice for those who will be off-roading and don’t want to risk the base plate being damaged by rocks.

The towed vehicle must be secured to the coach with safety cables, a preventive measure should the tow bar connection fail. You’ll also need an auxiliary braking system to be in compliance with all regulations, and a breakaway system to lock up the brakes on the towed vehicle should a runaway situation occur. See the Family RVingarticle “Auxiliary Braking systems” (December 2017, page 44) for an overview of such systems.

In addition, the tail, stop, and turn lights on the towed vehicle must be connected to the motorhome’s systems. This topic was covered in “Towed Vehicle Lighting” (September 2018, page 32).

Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for towing your specific vehicle. Also be sure to heed the instructions for base plate installation and tow bar operation. Once a tow bar is installed, you’ll be able to quickly and easily connect and disconnect your towed vehicle from your motorhome.


(800) 543-3626