As a family, we love to drive off and go camping for weekends, or weeks at a time. We mostly keep it really simple, a tent, sleeping bags and a car full of provisions. Last year though, for a change, we decided to rent a caravan and do it that way. Not having a towbar on the jeep, I clearly needed to get one installed.
With this in mind, I took the jeep down to the professionals at All Vehicle Accessories (AVA) to get a towbar installed. Initially I wanted the cheapest model I could find, the less I spent here, the more I could spend on the caravan. I am glad I talked to the guys though, in their experience they showed me the folly of my ways.
They were actually pretty good about it. What they did was show me the nominal cost increments between cheap and expensive towbars. They pointed out that this piece of equipment was all that was protecting whatever it was I was towing. In my case, obviously I wanted to tow the caravan on the trip we were taking. But I also intended buying some bike racks as my wife loves triathlon. Bike racks would be really helpful on those early morning trips into the hills for a training session.
Having compiled my list, we discussed the cost of the items we were going to tow. Our bikes (two of them) are worth about $6,000 all up. Mine isn’t all that valuable, but my wife, boy she spent a mint on hers. Such is her love for the triathlon.
I didn’t know how much caravans were worth, I had to do some research on them to figure that one out. But I now know that you’ll be lucky to get anything under $5000 for a caravan and they actually go all the way up to about $120,000. That certainly is a “heavy” load for the towbar.
I was convinced. I had to change my attitude toward this towbar. If I was going to pay the money regardless, I may as well have it done properly. Instead of finding a cheap towbar, I realised I needed to find a quality towbar. Paying the few extra dollars didn’t matter anymore, when taken in perspective with the items being towed.
Having decided that, I delved further into the different towbars on offer. I was surprised to find out that there was only 1 towbar in Australia that offers a lifetime guarantee. Only Hayman Reese has that much faith in their own product. I thought that was a really interesting fact. So looking further at the Hayman Reece products, I also found 2 excellent accessories that really help with safety and efficiency.
To start with, they have a Weight Distribution Hitch which will take the extra money you spent on the towbar and hitch, and put it right back into your pocket with fuel savings. That’s right, it makes the trailer work better with your vehicle. It does this by reducing the ball weight on the towbar and therefore drag. Less drag means your vehicle drives easier, giving it better efficiency and a lower consumption of fuel. Sometimes you just need to spend a bit to save.
They also sell this cool gadget called Sway Control. It basically keeps whatever you are pulling on the straight and narrow, despite high winds, trucks coming the other way etc. Have you ever seen those retired people who are pulling a caravan behind them when a truck drives past the other way. Have you ever seen how much their caravan swerves all over the road when this happens due to the blast of air. The sway control stops this happening to you, making for a safer and once again, more efficient trip. This is very important to me given my family will be sitting next to me in the Jeep.
Its good when you go to an auto store and the professionals there actually give you advice, help you get past your preconceived ideas and make a better decision. I’m certainly glad the guys at AVA helped me see sense when it came to my towbar.