Choosing a towbar for your vehicle is rarely a straightforward decision. Apart from settling on a towbar type, you also have to consider the different manufacturers in the market to pick a product from the best one. Tow Trust and Westfalia are two of the biggest names in the market today, but which of them is best for you?
Tow Trust and Westfalia generally offer similar value overall. However, most vehicle owners choose Westfalia products due to their rich history. To decide whether a Tow Trust or Westfalia towbar is right for you, start by listing all the features you’d like to see—in relation to your vehicle type.
The rest of this article will look at both towbar brands, going into detail on their product offerings to help you make the right decision on your purchase.
What Is a Towbar?
A towbar is an integral part of any flat towing system where the four wheels of the towed car or trailer are on the ground. Most of these are designed as thick steel bars that can be attached to the underside of the pulling vehicle’s frame on one end.
The opposite end contains a mounting accessory that will link to the trailer receiver or coupler to ensure a complete linking setup.
What Are The Various Uses Of A Towbar?
The common use cases for a towbar include the following:
- Recovering a disabled vehicle: You’ve seen vehicles or mini trucks towing other vehicles that stopped working off the highway or those that got involved in an accident but still have the four wheels intact. The recovery process won’t work without a towbar that can handle the weight of the disabled vehicle adequately installed.
- Pulling a flatbed and enclosures: A towbar is also useful when you want to pull a flatbed trailer or transport boats, cars, and other heavy equipment. You can use it to hook up a small enclosure on wheels for your livestock when you’re in transit, as long as the enclosure is designed to allow a strong connection to the towing vehicle.
- Pulling a motor home: You can use a towbar to pull a motor home or a camper trailer. The major manufacturers make products designed to specifically handle this. So, if you tow your camper trailer around regularly, you’ll need the right towbar for it. Some of the designs are also made for reverse towing, which allows you to drive your trailer instead and tow the truck when the need arises.
Why Towbars Are So Popular
One of the reasons why towbars are popular is that they are easy to set up. Most people can set up a majority of the non-complicated models without external help. For the options that require some specialist knowledge, the installation can be completed in minutes by qualified hands.
Secondly, towbars are very cost-effective. They don’t require any wholesale changes to the vehicle, and thus, the initial cost of installation rarely goes beyond the price of the towbar kit and any fees charged for installation.
The towbar kit often comes with everything you’ll need for the installation, including pintle or mount hooks, tow lights, safety chains, and everything else you’ll need to pull a vehicle or a trailer. With the towbar installed, you now have the fastest method of hitching (and unhitching) a trailer. You won’t have to worry about raising or lowering the towed vehicle or unloading a trailer.
The overall simplicity, ease of use, and affordable installation costs all contribute to the popularity of towbars as we see them today. Manufacturers have also come a long way from the early years of the technology to launch products that seamlessly integrate into modern vehicles.
How To Choose A Towbar For Your Vehicle
With the wide range of products available to choose from, the right type of towbar to get for a vehicle will always vary. Here’s how to ensure you’re making the right decision:
- Look at the vehicle type. Certain towbars are made specifically for certain vehicle models. By only focusing on towbars made for your vehicle, you can be sure of choosing a product that won’t be hard to install. There won’t be any need to cut your bumper or make any other such alteration that can ruin your car’s appearance.
- Check the weight to tow. Are you looking for a towbar that will allow you to pull your campervan behind or one that’s made to pull your boat? You should only choose towbars that are strong enough to support the weight you’ll tow. Most manufacturers will recommend a maximum weight limit to work with. Stick with the recommendation to avoid straining the towbar or damaging your vehicle.
- Choose a towbar best suited for the use case. There are different types of towbars, and they all have specific purposes. For example, a fixed flange ball towbar is widely known as the towbar to go with if you’re towing caravans and heavy trailers. Detachable swan neck towbars are useful for carrying bikes occasionally. Going with a towbar fit for purpose will reduce the risk of damage.
- Compare features with your budget. Towbar prices vary based on the design. You should have a budget in mind and then compare the features on the towbars that can do the job to settle on the perfect option. Don’t forget to compare quotes for the same product on different manufacturer websites as you could save money.
- Choose an option that doesn’t break the law. In many places, you are legally required to only use a towbar paired with electrical fittings. You’re also not allowed to use a towbar that will require modifications that will end up blocking your number plates. You should keep the legal side of things in mind as you make your decision.
What Is A Tow Trust Towbar?
A Tow Trust towbar is any product made by Tow Trust UK, one of the largest manufacturers in this niche. Headquartered in Atherstone, Warwickshire, the company has grown to become one of the most trusted names in the towbar conversation because they prioritize quality.
The brand uses the best quality steel and deploys the latest technology for their towbars’ design and manufacturing process. From the design stage to the packaging for each product, their entire manufacturing operation is an example of the company’s impeccable focus on detail.
The company’s insistence on ensuring the best quality has not affected their ability to maintain a competitive price with their products.
A branch of their sales team is always working hard to ensure that they are offering prices that align with the market rates for similar products from other manufacturers.
Their products aren’t the cheapest in the market, but they offer decent value for money when you look at the quality of the products they provide.
The brand has been around for around two decades, but they have quietly climbed towards the top of the list, competing with brands that have been around for more than seven decades.
Whether you’re an adventure buff looking for the perfect towbar to hook up your trailer to your truck, or a business managing a fleet of towing vehicles, Tow Trust UK will almost certainly have the perfect product for you.
Their website makes it easy to find the towbar for the right vehicle model. In a few clicks, you can find a towbar that fits perfectly and can do the job without posing any safety risks. Most of the popular brands are adequately covered, so you can find options like Audi, BMW, Citroen, Ford, Hyundai, Toyota, Suzuki, Volkswagen, Honda, and more.
Types Of Tow Trust Towbars
Some of the towbar types you can get from Tow Trust UK include the following:
Fixed Flange Towbars
This is a popular type of towbar, especially in the UK and the rest of Europe. The design uses a tow ball that’s bolted on, and the structure means it can be combined with accessories like tow steps, bumper guards, etc. The towbar’s bolt-on appearance means you can attach couplings like Alko tow balls and 50mm (2in) tow balls to its faceplate.
If your vehicle is a commercial model that allows a 4-6-hole faceplate, the towbar’s tow ball height can be tweaked. If you’d like to carry cycles and a towing facility at once, this towbar style allows you to fix cycle carriers behind the coupling.
Detachable Swan Neck Towbars (Vertical/VK)
Tow Trust UK has a wide range of vertical swan neck towbars that are detachable (known as VK systems). These towbar models stand out because they are hidden completely behind the vehicle bumper once the neck has been detached.
The company fits the products with an electric plate that folds away neatly behind the bumper when it’s not in use. This approach means that the aesthetic appeal of your vehicle won’t be affected by the installation.
These towbar models are very compatible with vehicles that have reversing sensors. They are Alko-compatible, and you don’t have to worry about blocked access to the back of your vehicle.
It’s also a popular model for people that want a lockable towbar. Tow Trust adds a key set to the packaging. You’ll also get a storage bag for the towbar neck.
Detachable Swan Neck Towbars (Horizontal)
Tow Trust UK also makes a horizontal variant of the swan neck towbar. It has all the features of the vertical design above, except that the socket plate and housing are visible after the neck is detached. Still, this model can offer the most value in specific use cases.
Fixed Swan Neck Towbars
This is another style of towbar you can get from Tow Trust UK. It is compatible with Alko stabilizers, and you won’t need a replacement tow ball. The slim-line design of this towbar makes it less likely to affect reversing sensors on vehicles.
However, you can’t use this type of towbar with accessories like tow steps and bumper protectors. You also won’t be able to use it for simultaneous cycle carrying and towing.
What Is a Westfalia Towbar?
A Westfalia towbar is a product from one of the largest towbar manufacturers worldwide, Westfalia Automotive. The Westfalia brand holds the record of being the inventor of the ball towbar in 1932—a design now copied globally. The company’s rich history means it is one of the most recommended towbar brands in auto shops.
The company emphasizes safety, quality, and precision engineering, always looking for new ways to improve existing designs. They are constantly pushing some new ways to make the towbars more flexible, convenient, and an excellent fit for the car models they are made for.
This has led to nearly 2,000 towbar models designed to fit most types of vehicles worldwide.
Types of Westfalia Towbars
Some of the towbar models you can get from Westfalia Automotive include the following:
RX Retractable Towbars
These towbars from Westfalia are popular because they are convenient and easy to use. The product is a result of the company’s years of innovation and collaboration with top vehicle manufacturers worldwide.
The RX system has a precision rotation mechanism and a compact design, which has dealt with the problem of restricted installation space between a vehicle’s bumper and the rear panel. In scenarios where a bumper cut is required for the installation to work, Westfalia follows the cut specified by your car manufacturer, ensuring you don’t have to do anything.
Once installed, you can unlock the towbar with the handle positioned in an easily accessible position behind the bumper. The neck can then be rotated by hand into a locked position for use. To ensure safety, the company added a built-in warning sound to alert you if the towbar is not locked in properly.
This is one of the most versatile towbars made by the company.
They come in two variants: the vertical and horizontal detachable towbar. It’s one of the models designed to align neatly with the visual lines on modern cars.
Once you remove the tow ball neck, the towbar base is hidden away nicely. The installation process is designed to be completely invisible, leaving almost no bumper cut.
The system is designed to be convenient and easy to use without compromising on safety.
It is the perfect option for you if you typically tow occasionally. The detachable towbars offered by the brand today are the latest iteration of the original product designed in 1987.
Choosing it is going with a system that’s been trusted by thousands of people for more than three decades.
The fixed towbars from Westfalia are the perfect solution to go with if you need a towbar system that can be used regularly. It’s mounted permanently, which makes it the best option for regular use. The company offers two different types of fixed towbars:
The swan neck towbar is one of the most popular types of fixed towbars you can find around you. The tow ball and the neck are designed to form a piece, giving it a cleaner look. The towbar’s slimmer profile also means you don’t have to worry about triggering parking sensors with it.
The swan neck towbar is also designed to be used with a BPW or an Alko stabilizer, without modifications. Do you want to attach a cycle carrier and tow at the same time? You’ll have to choose another towbar option like the flange towbar.
The flange towbar has a completely different design. The tow ball is bolted to the towbar with two to four bolts. This is a versatile towbar option designed to be used with mounted accessories like different stabilizers, bumper protectors, cycle carriers, and more.
This makes it an excellent option to consider if you’d like to tow and attach a cycle simultaneously. All of these are designed to be mounted between the ball and towbar. The flange towbar is designed to be non-removable. Like the swan neck option, it can also work with a BPW or an Alko stabilizer without modifications.
Do you always tow over long distances? This is the option you should consider; Westfalia is the leading manufacturer of towing brackets worldwide.
This is a heavy-duty option designed to be used when you’re towing high payloads. The company supplies these brackets for lorries and small vans.
Using these towing brackets, service vehicles can tow payloads reaching 40ft (12.19m). The bracket’s height and width can be adjusted, which means you can get a bespoke solution when the standard options in the market can’t quite do the job.
This is a flexible design that can work with a swap system or a ball plate. It’s also very safe to use because the bracket also doubles as an underride guard.
What Is The Difference Between A Tow Trust & Westfalia Towbar?
There are few differences to talk about for these brands:
One of the main differences between a Tow Trust and Westfalia towbar is the design approach they take to achieve the same results.
Westfalia’s history means that they have long standing relationships with dozens of car manufacturers worldwide that allow them to produce towbars that require the least amount of installation work. They are also more likely to have towbars that will fit older car models.
Tow Trust is a younger company, but the brand has grown quickly in recent years. They haven’t boasted about working together with car manufacturers on the design of their towbars.
However, they still have a healthy catalog of products, mostly targeting cars made within the last decade. You may find towbars for car models made as far back as the early 2000s, but that’s the furthest you can go for most car brands they cover.
Pricing is another distinguishing factor between these two heavyweight brands. Westfalia towbars tend to cost around 10-15% higher than Tow Trust’s rates for similar towbars for specific car models.
The extra cost is likely just a brand name premium because users that have used both Tow Trust and Westfalia towbars in the past haven’t noted any significant differences.
This is something you should be aware of, especially when you can find the same towbar you’re looking for on both brands’ product list.
The Shopping Experience
It’s also important to note that the shopping experience differs a great deal for both brands. On the Tow Trust UK website, car models and brands are neatly arranged, ensuring that you can find the towbar you are looking for in just a few clicks.
The Westfalia shopping experience is less streamlined, as you’ll have to click through to another portal and fill out a box with the details of your vehicle to search the catalog for the right towbar.
While the Westfalia approach works fine, it’s a lengthier process, and you have to remember all the details about your vehicle, including the model and year of manufacture.
Which Is Better for You?
Westfalia and Tow Trust are excellent companies delivering great value in the towbar industry. Whichever option you choose, you’re likely to be satisfied if you choose the right towbar product for your car.
However, Westfalia has a larger product catalog, which means that you have a better chance of finding the towbar you’re looking for if you choose to go with them. This is especially true for older car models.
Similarly, Tow Trust tends to focus on products for sedans and trucks heavily, with only a few motorhomes and trailers covered. If you’re looking for a towbar for your caravan or trailer, you should go with Westfalia.