To tow or not to tow | Meet the Trudgians

To tow or not to tow

Posted by on Dec 6, 2021 in Featured, Trips & Adventures | 3 comments

To tow or not to tow

It seems lately all I’ve discussed on this site is the trials and tribulations of our tow car, so to keep the rhythm and theme, here is another one.

This time, it’s good news. We have finally bought a Volkswagen Touareg. It is difficult to say correctly and spell for me, however, I collected the car this weekend. It is the 3 litre TDI V6 variant and in a fortunate turn of events has a detachable towbar too. So, surly this means we can get out in the caravan next weekend, doesn’t it?

I asked a question in the form of a poll on twitter asking if you’d have any hesitation buying a car that already came with a tow bar. The results reflected my own personal thoughts. As long as the car has a proven service history and some clear signs of care, it shows the car was looked after to some degree. Indeed, the new car has a full-service history and a fairly intact MOT history too, in addition a stack of receipts and invoices of all the work that has been completed is also with the car. So why the hesitation on towing?




As mentioned, the car has a detachable towbar, but no release key. This is the issue, it makes me think this tow bar has not been removed for some time. In-fact looking at the swan neck, it is covered in grease on the ball, is filthy and covered in road dirt. With no key for the lock, I cannot remove it and inspect the locking mechanism further. So, the first task is obtaining a new key. This was an easy process; I just needed the number from the barrel and ordered a new key online.

The problem with detachable towbars, is they need to be detached when not in use. Owners would have paid a premium for the convenience of a removable towbar, so don’t be lazy, remove it when not towing. The mechanism that locks the neck to the car can easily corrode and in some cases cause the neck to seize in place. In fact, there are documented occasions of towbars coming free from tow cars where the mechanism has failed due to lack of care and maintenance. Simply put, If the insides rust, corrode or oxidise they can not only deform but also compromise the structural integrity of the towbar. So, for peace of mind, I’ve booked the car in for the tow bar to be reviewed, with the intention that if its bad, it will be replaced. Another good reason for a review is the current electrics are only 7pin and I need this changing to 13 pin variant complete with the additional 12 volt feed for the fridge installed.

So, in the cold light of day, with the car on the drive, there are a couple of jobs that need completing, that being a thorough clean of the interior, a touch up of some stone chips and of course the tow bar. There are also a number of projects I want to complete on the car, which may be of interest to a few, so stay tuned. To answer the question at the outset, we are holding back until the towbar has been investigated and I will create a video looking at this in greater detail. I expect many owners who have a detachable tow ball and leave it on will be interested to see this, so I will discuss the rationale for removal and share some top maintenance tips that I have learnt from Witter directly.


  1. Hi Dan,I have a detachable one on my Discovery 4,it is taken off after every trip,I spray the mechanism with wd40 also,when we link it to the car we always stand on it ,and watch the cars suspension go up and down to give us peace of mind,you have purchased a great tow car,I hope you have many years of towing with it,regards Stuart

  2. I bought our sportage 1.7crdi without towhook but we bought 2 cars in the past with towbars already fitted and no problems but no visible rust on them , our last car was fitted by indespension and came with lifetime guarantee for life of the car but I had to fix a loose wire the night before a trip away as relay box came loose and cause a light display to put Blackpool to shame. I will however use them again it was £180 for the dacia duster which no longer is alive but was a great towcar. I would advise anyone buying with a towbar in situe to ask for fitting receipts like I had . Dan once u get swan off get it sandblasted and powder coated I’m sure u will find a local wheel refurb place to do it for u

  3. Hi Dan…

    Congratulations on your new, to you, VW.

    You are clearly taking the only sensible view on safeguarding yourself, family, car, caravan and all others, by thoroughly checking the condition of the existing tow bar.

    I did wonder why you may not have negotiated this work as part of the sale deal though?

    Either way, at least it will give you peace of mind once it all checks out and you can set about enjoying car and ‘van…

    All the best,


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