Corroded tow bar failure a warning to motorists

Corroded tow bar failure a warning to motorists

carandsuv-logoMotorists are being warned to check urgently the condition of their towbars after a corroded bar on the rear of a vehicle failed in dramatic fashion while attached to a boat trailer.

The towbar, shown in the photos, was severely corroded and snapped completely in two while in use, but fortunately, it happened in a parking lot and not on the open road, and there were no other damage or injuries.

Regularly backing a vehicle into the salt water when launching and recovering a boat attributed to the severe corrosion – which had gone unnoticed during use.

Towbar manufacturer Best Bars says it is a warning that all owners should heed, and they need to be vigilant about checking their towbar, towbar tongue, tow ball, coupling and trailer regularly.

While it was fortunate there was little damage and no injury, the consequences could have been much worse if it had taken place on a busy road, says Best Bars chief executive Stephen de Kriek.

“Towbars are a critical link between the vehicle and trailer and it is of vital importance to make sure that all the components are in good order. While they are vital steel parts, they are not exempt from requiring regular inspection and at times, maintenance and TLC,” says de Kriek.

“Inspection is primarily relevant when using the vehicle in a marine environment, and especially when immersing the towbar, tow ball and coupling in salt water, as it’s very corrosive to the steel parts.” he says.

“My advice would be to conduct regular checks, remove the towbar tongue, and verify the tow ball, the coupling, the safety chains and D-shackles for excessive wear and tear or corrosion,” says de Kriek.

If motorists are unsure about the condition of their tow bar or trailer components, de Kriek recommends an inspection by a reputable mechanic, WOF / COF inspector or professional towbar technician.

He says replacement with a brand new towbar designed and made to NZ Standard 5467 is suitable.

“Motorists should look for this reference on any new towbar they purchase, and not all towbars sold in New Zealand meet this standard,” says de Kriek.

He also advises motorists to stay away from purchasing second-hand towbars, especially from internet auction sites, as there is no way to verify their history or condition.

“Many of these tow bars sell with worn, or no, fasteners at all, nor any fitting instructions giving the correct fitting sequence, fastener sizes, fastener torque settings or towbar recommended mounting points – thus leading to the potential of incorrect fitting,” says de Kriek.

“Fitting a towbar is not a job for the enthusiastic layman with little knowledge of what is required, it is a critical safety component of a motor vehicle and should be fitted by a professional by the manufacturer’s fitting instructions,” he says.

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