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Tow bar types explained…

Flange tow bar types

The most commonly used type of tow bar in the UK is the flange tow bar; where the tow ball is bolted to the tow bar with two 24mm bolts. There are also some variations of the flange tow bar type that have four bolts instead of two. This is the most versatile design of tow bar because it can be used with the ‘ball and pin’ type attachment used more commonly in the plant and farming industry. The flange tow bar is available in both fixed and detachable styles.

Fixed flange tow bar

Tow bar image


Benefits of the fixed flange tow bar are:

• Capable of using accessories like some models of cycle carriers whilst towing

• Price, flange tow bars tend to be cheaper 

• Capable of fitting a tow bar and pin system required to pull plant trailers and generators

• Capable of fitting a bumper protector plate

• Capable of using height adjustable couplings, drop plates and spacers to get different towing heights and clearances 

• Capable of putting a butterfly step on (mainly used on commercial vehicles)

• Tow ball can be upgraded to be used with an AL-KO stabiliser


Things to consider before purchasing a fixed flange tow bar are:

• Whether or not your vehicle has parking sensors fitted, the parking sensors may think that the tow bar is an obstacle when in reverse

• The look of the tow bar on the back of your car, they are not as aesthetically pleasing as other styles

• Banging your legs on the tow bar when utilising your boot or walking around the vehicle

• Both the tow bar and electrics can be seen when looking at the vehicle


Swan neck tow bar types

In the E.U. the most common tow bar type is the swan neck tow bar. This is where the tow ball and the neck are all one piece of the tow bar. This type of tow bar is becoming more popular in the U.K. due to the appearance of the bar looking neater and with the bar being narrower it is less likely to trigger your parking sensors.

This type of bar is a little less versatile than flange style; you can either tow or attach a cycle carrier but you can’t use both at the same time. The swan neck tow bar can also be used with an AL-KO stabiliser without the need for modification. The swan neck type is available in both a detachable than fixed style.

Fixed swan neck tow bar

Tow bar image


Benefits of a fixed swan neck tow bar:

• More aesthetically pleasing than a flange style tow bar

• More chance of the parking sensors not picking up the tow bar when in reverse (but not a guarantee)

• Compatible with AL-KO and other friction style stabilisers (once paint is removed off the 50mm ball section)

• Price, is very competitively priced compared to its detachable counterpart

• Capable of carrying all types of ball mount cycle carriers


Things to consider before purchasing a fixed swan neck tow bar:

• If your vehicle has parking sensors fitted, the parking sensors may think that the tow bar is an obstacle when in reverse

• Banging your legs or tripping on the tow bar when utilising your boot or walking around your vehicle

• Some necks are not as adaptable as the flange style i.e. cannot fit height adjusters, steps and couplings

• Towing and using a tow bar mount cycle carrier at the same time is not possible

• Can be more expensive than a flange depending on make and model. 

A detachable swan neck tow bar has all the benefits of a fixed swan neck tow bar with the additional feature of being removed when not in use. Allowing for a cleaner look on the rear of a vehicle when not towing anything.

D L Clarkson Limited T/A Clarkson of Glasgow are a credit broker and not a lender. We are Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. FCA No: 660339 Finance is Subject to status. Other offers may be available but cannot be used in conjunction with this offer. We work with a number of carefully selected credit providers who may be able to offer you finance for your purchase.

Speed limiters : as many of our vans are ex major fleet vehicles more and more are coming to us fitted with fixed electronic speed limiters. In many cases these are not simple to remove and we do not guarantee removal prior to sale ... in short if any given van has a speed limiter fitted it will remain in place and passed on to the new keeper as such. However please remember a speed limiter is no bad thing as 1) it drastically reduces your likelihood of penalty points for speeding and 2) being restricted from new reduces the overall stress and wear on tyres, clutch and mechanical components .... and surely that has to be a good thing when buying a used van.

Spare keys : all the vans we sell are pre owned having had a first life prior to be purchased by ourselves. Most vans will come with spare keys however given the second hand nature of our vehicles it cannot be assumed, due to the high cost of replacement, that all will have two or more keys.
Registered in Scotland: SC126487
Registered Office: Address: 1-21 Swinton Crescent, Baillieston, Glasgow, G69 6AN

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure accuracy of all our vehicles information, some inaccuracies may occur. It is important that you do not rely on this information but check with Clarksons about any items which may affect your decision to buy any vehicle that we have for sale.

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0141 771 3990

Clarkson Commercial

1-21 Swinton Crescent
Baillieston, Glasgow,
Scotland, G69 6AN