A Beginner’s Guide to Tow Bar Baseplates

Updated on June 22, 2020

Baseplates are one of the essential elements of a towing system, including tow bars, supplemental brakes, and accessories. They are especially important since vehicles are not designed with tow points on the front. 

Tow bar baseplates come in various styles and are mounted onto the frame of the vehicles directly. Here is what you need to know about tow bar baseplates.

What Are Tow Bar Baseplates?

No matter what kind of tow bar you pick, baseplates are an indispensable component in the towing system. Tow bar baseplates are used as a connector that helps attach the tow bar to the towed vehicle. Instead of a plate, a base plate has a bracket-like design. Generally, baseplates are secured to the vehicles’ frame, subframe, core support, or other areas along their undercarriage.

Every baseplate is made to fit a specific vehicle or range of automobiles. Each is application-specific and is designed to distribute towing and braking loads uniformly. Thus, be sure to pick the right baseplate for the vehicle to prevent issues and headaches during installation. 

Some baseplates are a single, solid bar bolted to the vehicles’ frames and came with receiving breakers on either end. Other baseplates, in contrast, consist of two distinct components that are mounted separately.

The leading baseplates manufacturer in the industry includes Demco, Blue Ox, and Roadmaster. These reputable manufactures have multiple vehicle-specific baseplates that come in various styles.

What Are The Types Of Baseplates?

Baseplates are categorized into two types: direct-connect and crossbar-style baseplates. The direct-connect style is the easiest system for connecting and disconnecting baseplates. The style allows users to connect the baseplate directly to their tow bar, without the need for a cross-bar. It is an ideal style for users with motorhome-mounted tow bars, except Sterling.

On the other hand, the cross-bar style accommodates tow bars and accessories by using a mounting system that is based on the cross-bar and rapid-disconnect system. This style is suitable for users with car-mounted tow bars or a Sterling.

Benefits Of Tow Bar Baseplates

Installation of tow bar baseplates to vehicles offers several advantages, which include:

  • They make towing easy and efficient.
  • Help protect the drivers and vehicles against injuries and damages, respectively. It safely attaches the frame of the towed vehicles to the tow bar without convoluted shortcuts.
  • Baseplates do their job behind the screen without being visible, which would preserve the vehicle’s appearance.

How To Install a Baseplate?

Baseplates installation differs greatly from one vehicle to another. In every case, the baseplates will be securely bolted. Still, there are various baseplates designs available on the market, all of which are created to match today’s vehicles.

The installation complexity varies between vehicles. Most baseplates can be affixed with the use of simple tools and a short amount of time. Hence, if the vehicle owners are knowledgeable enough, they may be able to attach the baseplates by themselves, through the job may need jacks or ramps.

Nevertheless, although some baseplates have an easy installation process, it can get complicated for beginners. And most of the time, mechanical skills are needed, so it would be best to seek the help of a professional installer.


Regardless of how you decide to attach the baseplates, check the work and ensure that all brackets and tow bars can function efficiently. Since towing of vehicles involves pulling vehicles weighing hundreds of pounds across a long distance with speeds, let the expert install your baseplates, especially if you’re a beginner. 

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