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Are tow hitches becoming less common?


jmurray01
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I was just thinking tonight how I'll most likely get a hitch fitted to the 405 when I buy it, so it can be used for any (light) towing, given that it is a turbo diesel and far more suited than the petrol Primera, and realised that I hardly ever see a passenger vehicle on the road with a tow hitch these days...

Maybe I'm mistaken, but are they getting less popular in recent years?  It couldn't surprise me if they were, with people being less self-reliant (and therefore not owning trailers) and hiring vans being a cheap alternative to towing a trailer with your car. 

As I say, I could be wrong - but it just occurred to me and I thought I'd ask if anyone else has noticed this.

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It's not easy to find somewhere safe to store a trailer these days.

I'm lucky, I have a gentleman's agreement with my Cadet Unit - I can leave the trailer there, if they need it, they use it - same goes for the ATC next door (they've leant us enough kit over the years).

 

Like you said, cheap van hire has negated the need for trailers.  So unless you're into caravanning - not much need.

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Still plenty caravans on the road so can't imagine tow bars going out of fashion any time soon lol.

A good size car and caravan is still within the 3.5tonne limit for many drivers. With the weight of modest size caravans slowly decreasing too it means the tow vehicle is still a good ratio heavier than the caravan being towed. 

Like yourself though I was going to put a tow bar on the mondeo years ago but decided not to bother. I used to have a small trailer for taking rubbish to the dump. Handy for rubble and otherwise messy stuff. Storage being a problem I decided not to do it and got rid of the trailer. 

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12 minutes ago, stef123 said:

Still plenty caravans on the road so can't imagine tow bars going out of fashion any time soon lol.

A good size car and caravan is still within the 3.5tonne limit for many drivers. With the weight of modest size caravans slowly decreasing too it means the tow vehicle is still a good ratio heavier than the caravan being towed. 

Like yourself though I was going to put a tow bar on the mondeo years ago but decided not to bother. I used to have a small trailer for taking rubbish to the dump. Handy for rubble and otherwise messy stuff. Storage being a problem I decided not to do it and got rid of the trailer. 

Yeah, that's why I'd do it - that and for moving things like washing machines and small (but cumbersome/heavy) furniture items - which I do strangely often...  I wouldn't need to worry about storage as my grandfather has a trailer that I could borrow, and it just sits in his driveway when not used.

I won't be too hasty in fitting one to the 405 though, as my long-term intention is to procure an additional 405 (estate model) in rougher condition which could be used as more of a work horse.

I'd never want to own a van though, not sure why but I just can't stand them.  Even if my job involved couriering things around, I'd rather have a large estate than a small van. 

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Not sure if it's actually true, but I've got a mate who says that by having a towing hitch, you dramatically reduce the damage that can be done to rear end; when you are rear ended by another.  Every car he's had, he's fitted one citing this.

My Mk2 Focus is the first car I've had for some time that is hitchless, I think my last hitchless one was a Mk4 Cortina in mid 1980s.

Storing trailers can be irksome, as they essentially take up half a car space, unless it's one of those lightweight one you can hang up on the wall.

14 minutes ago, jmurray01 said:

I'd never want to own a van though, not sure why but I just can't stand them.  Even if my job involved couriering things around, I'd rather have a large estate than a small van. 

Oddly enough, I used to say the same thing about estates until I got Brandy:laugh: 

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1 minute ago, GMX said:

Not sure if it's actually true, but I've got a mate who says that by having a towing hitch, you dramatically reduce the damage that can be done to rear end; when you are rear ended by another.  Every car he's had, he's fitted one citing this.

My Mk2 Focus is the first car I've had for some time that is hitchless, I think my last hitchless one was a Mk4 Cortina in mid 1980s.

Storing trailers can be irksome, as they essentially take up half a car space, unless it's one of those lightweight one you can hang up on the wall.

Oddly enough, I used to say the same thing about estates until I got Brandy:laugh:

Whilst I thought that to be true, our 1994 Peugeot 405 GLX suffered chassis damage when it was rear-ended by some twit in a Land Rover back in 2004 (405 was stationary and LR was doing about 10-15MPH).  It seemed to have been protected by the hitch, and aesthetically it was, but come the MOT it turned out to have caused severe underbody damage thanks to the hitch.  Mind you, without it the whole rear end would have been shoved in, so it's six and half a dozen.  At least with the hitch it looked OK and stayed on the road until the MOT.  If it had smashed the bumper (et al) then it may have been written off immediately.

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I had a Mazda MX5 get temporarily attached to the BMW 740 tow hitch.  It was one of those traffic light junctions that only let a couple of cars go through on each change. I went forwards, knew I wasn't going to make it and stopped on amber.  Mr Mazda thought I was going to continue, he said after thee impact, he wasn't as observant as he should've been; as he was fiddling with his phone.:ohmy:

My tow hitch went through his radiator grill and deformed the radiator.  It wasn't a particularly hard impact but it disabled the Mazda.  The only damage the BMW had was a scuffed tow hitch cover, which must have been no more than £5 to replace!

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1 minute ago, GMX said:

I had a Mazda MX5 get temporarily attached to the BMW 740 tow hitch.  It was one of those traffic light junctions that only let a couple of cars go through on each change. I went forwards, knew I wasn't going to make it and stopped on amber.  Mr Mazda thought I was going to continue, he said after thee impact, he wasn't as observant as he should've been; as he was fiddling with his phone.:ohmy:

My tow hitch went through his radiator grill and deformed the radiator.  It wasn't a particularly hard impact but it disabled the Mazda.  The only damage the BMW had was a scuffed tow hitch cover, which must have been no more than £5 to replace!

Served him right!  I think the old 405 was maybe just unlucky - bearing in mind that by 2004 it was a 10 year old car that probably had a decent amount of undercarriage corrosion, which wouldn't have helped matters.

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Still plenty caravans on the road so can't imagine tow bars going out of fashion any time soon lol.

A good size car and caravan is still within the 3.5tonne limit for many drivers. With the weight of modest size caravans slowly decreasing too it means the tow vehicle is still a good ratio heavier than the caravan being towed. 

Like yourself though I was going to put a tow bar on the mondeo years ago but decided not to bother. I used to have a small trailer for taking rubbish to the dump. Handy for rubble and otherwise messy stuff. Storage being a problem I decided not to do it and got rid of the trailer. 

The Mk2 Focus can tow upto 1200kg - with a MAM of 3460kg if I remember rightly.

As for rubble etc, my local tip won't accept it in trailers!

They accept most stuff in it though lol

(I have a fair sized box trailer, and I think the guys are beginning to recognise me lol)

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You can get removable tow hooks these days.  I had one on both Golfs, keeps it useful for towing the trailer (which I was doing frequently at the time) but takes seconds to remove so looks aesthetically pleasing without the trailer... :smile:  Also bought 306s and 106s with a fixed tow hook so I don't think they're that unusual.  Towing a trailer of rubble with a 106 wasn't a good idea lol.

Trailer laws are quite confusing though, I passed my test in '09 and trying to work out what I could actually tow wasn't easy!  What I find daft is that on my licence I can't tow a car on a trailer, but I can drive a transit recovery truck with a car on lol!

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The only reason I want a tow ball is so I can get a decent bike carrier. I'm too short to be comfortable at putting bikes on the roof, and womens bikes do not sit well on the boot lid style carriers. 

Those removable ones look good! Are they cheaper to get installed than a normal one?

 

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3 hours ago, Arwen said:

The only reason I want a tow ball is so I can get a decent bike carrier. I'm too short to be comfortable at putting bikes on the roof, and womens bikes do not sit well on the boot lid style carriers. 

Those removable ones look good! Are they cheaper to get installed than a normal one?

 

Have a look on ebay for PF Jones - they have a wide range in stock at good prices - and they have excellent customer service!!

You don't need to update your license to have a towbar fitted - nor to carry a bike carrier (it's not a trailer, it isn't covered)

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