Tow Bar Baseplates
Accessible, but Not Visible
At Demco, we take your safety very seriously! That’s why our engineers use Finite Elemental Analysis (FEA) when testing our baseplates for strength, functionality, and durability.
Unless you’re looking for them, you probably won’t see them! Demco believes baseplates should be “. . . accessible, but not visible.”
How Tow Bar Baseplates Work
If you're traveling across the country in a motorhome and you're looking to bring your vehicle with you, a tow bar and baseplate allows you to easily bring that vehicle without the need for a cumbersome "four wheels up" trailer.
Commonly called "four wheels down" or “flat towing”, a tow bar is the most popular way to bring that useful vehicle with you, and it foregoes the expense and complication of using bulky platforms on wheels in favor of something a little simpler.
Light and easy to use, tow bars are one piece of a three piece set you'll need to safely and efficiently tow a car behind your motorhome. First is a tow bar, which is shaped like the letter "A" and connects to both the towing and towed vehicles. Both the top and bottom of the "A" is what you'll attach to the tow vehicle, and each requires an adapter of some sort. One is the receiver hitch, which is attached to the back of the towing vehicle, in this case your motorhome. Fortunately, most motorhomes already have these installed. If you don't have a receiver hitch, you'll need to purchase and have one installed, or consult your vehicle's manual for the best approach.
Once the tow bar is connected to the receiver hitch on the motorhome, which is slightly different for rigid tow bars (cheaper but harder to use) and self-aligning tow bars (more flexible and easier to use but more expensive), there's only one thing left to do -- hook up the vehicle to be towed.
The problem is that vehicles don't have tow points on the front, but this is where the Demco baseplate shines. Mounted directly onto the vehicle's frame, Demco baseplates allow you to safely connect your vehicle to the tow bar without convoluted shortcuts, because we all know that a jerry-rigged assortment of chains and straps isn't even good enough for a short tow around the neighborhood. Not only could you damage both vehicles if anything slips loose, but the possibility of great vehicle and bodily injury is high when dealing with the extreme forces and weights inherent in towing. And whatever you do, please don't drive a custom rig onto public roads or -- gasp! -- the highway. Aside from being illegal, you could seriously hurt someone or cause significant damage to both vehicles.
For these reasons and more, a proper baseplate protects you and your vehicles from damage, and it works by safely attaching the towed vehicle's frame to the tow bar. It can be complicated, so when in doubt, it may be best to leave it to the professionals. But if you're knowledgeable and up to it, most baseplates can be attached with simple tools and a minimal amount of time, though you may need ramps or jacks to effectively do the work. Just keep in mind that each vehicle is different, so make sure to get the right baseplate for your vehicle and to avoid headaches during installation.
No matter how your baseplate attaches, it's important to check the work and ensure that both the bracket and tow bar are up for the job. You'll be pulling thousands of pounds of vehicle behind you for thousands of miles, and at speeds that can disastrously reveal any deficit in installation, so unless you know what you're doing it may be best to give the job to an expert installer. You might learn a thing or two, and the safety and peace of mind you pay for will be invaluable on the road.