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Car Hire With Tow Bar

Motorists often struggle to arrange a hire car with tow bar due to the restrictions that many rental companies have in place. The main issue tends to be insurance as many companies are cautious about who they will cover to tow a trailer or Caravan.

Working with several specialist suppliers, we get out of the ordinary requests every day and a question we are frequently asked, especially during the summer months, is whether we offer hire cars with a tow bar fitted.

We can help you to hire a car with a tow bar for any driver aged 25 or over who has been driving for more than 2 years and, most importantly, we are able to provide insurance for these vehicles. In order to rent these vehicles you will need to meet the UK’s legal requirements for towing a trailer or caravan.

A hire car towing a boat

Types of Tow Bar

Tow bars can be either fixed or detachable although both offer the same towing capacity. All the vehicles with tow bars from our suppliers come with the fixed variety. There are two different types of tow bar; flange and swan neck and it is important to understand the difference between the two to ensure that you hire a car with the correct variant.

Flange Tow Bars

A hire car with a flange tow bar fitted

The flange tow bar has a towball bolted onto a bar on the back of the car and is the most common type of tow bar in the UK. Flange tow bars are generally considered to be more versatile and better suited for purposes such as carrying bikes whilst towing for example.

Flanges are generally considered more expensive to buy and less attractive than swan neck tow bars but for a short term hire car this is less of a concern.

Swan Neck Tow Bars

Hire car with Swan Neck Tow Bar Fitted

A swan neck tow bar is different in that it is attached directly to the underside of the vehicle and is less obtrusive than the flange it is the more popular of the two types in the EU. One of the reasons the swan neck tow bar is popular is that due to it being narrower than the flange, it is less likely to set off parking sensors.

A downside to this type of tow bar is that you are not able to attach a cycle carrier and tow at the same time which may be a problem if you are hiring a car for something like a caravanning holiday where you also plan to go cycling in which case the flange is a better option.

All the hire cars with tow bars that we arrange come with either 7 or 13 pin electrics as required by law to ensure that the safety features or your caravan, trailer or cycle carrier function correctly.

Towing Capacity

If you are planning on hiring a car to tow either a trailer or caravan it’s essential to know the towing capacity of the vehicle you are renting as this is both a safety and legal requirement. The two important things that you need to know when working out towing capacity are the kerb weight of the car you are planning to hire and the maximum mass of the load you will be towing.

Kerb Weight

The kerb weight of a vehicle is simply the total weight when fully fuelled and properly maintained with oil, coolants and all of the standard equipment that the vehicle requires. Kerb weight excludes any additional weight such as passengers, non-standard luggage etc.

Typically, you can find the kerb weight of a car by checking in the owner manual, checking for a plate in the door sills or sometimes on the V5 document for the car however when considering hiring a car you would not have access to this information and this is an area where we can help you make the right choice of car. There are also various online services which let you search by manufacturer and model to find the kerb weight of a car you are interested in hiring.

Maximum Mass

Once you know the kerb weight of the towing car, you need to know the maximum mass of the load you will be towing. Caravans typically display this information somewhere close to the door, but you can also check with the manufacturer to be sure that you have the correct information.

Once you know the figures above, you can divide the Mass of the caravan by the kerb weight of the car and multiply by 100 to get an idea of towing capacity as a percentage. The RAC recommend that for an amateur this should be around 85% and only those experienced in towing heavy loads should hire vehicles above this ratio. You can find more guidance on towing capacity from the RAC here

If all of this sounds a bit confusing don’t worry. Any of our team will be more than happy to answer any questions you have.

Frequently Asked Questions About Car Hire With a Tow bar

Below are some of the questions that we are most commonly asked by our customers about Car Hire With a Towbar. If you can’t find the answer to your question below then contact our reservations team who will be happy to help.

How do I arrange hiring a car with a tow bar?

If you are hiring a car and it needs to have a tow bar fitted then it is best to contact us so that we can help you with your enquiry. You can call our reservations team on 44 (0)113 880 0748.

you are booking a vehicle during the summer months it is best to give plenty of notice as this is the peak of the camping season and when demand for vehicles with tow bars is at its highest and we often have limited availability.

What are the legal requirements for towing a trailer?

If you are hiring any vehicle with a tow bar then not only do you need to meet our criteria for age and driving experience, you also need to satisfy certain legal requirements:

If you started driving prior to January 1st 1997 and hold a full Category B License then you are eligible to drive a vehicle with a Gross weight of up to 3.5 tonnes. The weight of the trailer that you are towing must be no more than 750 kilograms in total. This means the total combined weight must be no more than 4,250 kilos in total.

You can find more information on the official laws for towing a trailer or caravan on the Directgov website. You can also find some great tips on safe driving when towing.

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Indigo Car Hire
Average rating:  
 3 reviews
by Mike on Indigo Car Hire
Good to see another option for tow car hire

There are a lot of companies out there who claim to be able to offer tow car hire but don't have the resources in place to do so. Good to see a solid company with the ability to source vehicles who are actually able to deliver.

by Sire Barlow on Indigo Car Hire
Highly professional, friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and more than accommodating

Rob managed to source a tow vehicle to be delivered at my home address at short notice after finding various options. Despite being a specialised car hire, the price was comparable with similar vehicles without the tow bar. As my circumstances changed, Rob was able to offer different solutions. In the end, my damaged car was returned far sooner than originally thought and I didn't require Indigo's services, despite Rob's outstanding service. If I were ever in a similar situation again (car crash the week of going away on holiday with the caravan), I know exactly where to look and wouldn't hesitate in using Indigo.

by Roger Appelqvist on Indigo Car Hire
Perfect so far

I have hired a car with a tow bar trough Indigo 3 times now with the pickup near Birmingham Airport and ii has so far worked perfectly with everything.