North of Seattle - Hwy 405 BUSTED TOW BAR – CLOSE CALL!!
It was a very close call indeed! Back in April 2015, on our way back from Yuma AZ, I was towing my SUV with my 2002 Newmar Mountain Aire Motorhome. It was our very first long trip since we purchased the motorhome in Yuma AZ. As a beginner, it took a lot of research and headaches to get the coach and SUV fitted for towing. All went well during the first three days of the trip. The breaking system in the SUV was working , the tow var seems to be doing its job and I had not hit too many curbs yet. On the fourth day, we were riding North of Seattle on Hwy 405 (bypass). It was late afternoon with lots of traffic. As I usually do periodically, I looked at my left side mirror and to my horror I could see the driver side mirror of my SUV, which I had never seen before from that angle. In addition, it seems that the SUV was swaying left and right a little bit. At 55 MPH, my heart rate started to go up and I was desperately looking for an exit. I did not dare say anything to the wife who was sitting beside me, because she would have lost it and made the whole thing even more stressful!! The hwy was very busy, which made the whole thing even more frightening. We eventually got off the hwy and pulled into a parking lot. When I finally stopped and rushed to the back of my motorhome, I had my first look at the twisted tow bar that was barely secured to my SUV. One side of the tow bar was disconnected, causing the bend in the angle bar of the tow bar. One of the safety chains was extended to its maximum, where the steel D ring had broken open and was barely secure to its connection to the SUV. I managed to get the whole thing off the motorhome and SUV with the few tools that I had driving the SUV back and forth to release the tension on some of the twisted parts of the tow bar. We drove the last day of our trip with my wife following the motorhome in the SUV, replaying the whole ordeal in my mind all the way home. All in all it was a hairy experience. We are relieved and blessed that no one was hurt during this ordeal, especially on hwy 405 where things started to fall apart. I contacted the makers of my tow bar and sent them the pictures. They said that they only offer a one year warranty on these things. They added that the angle of my tow bar from my SUV to my motorhome looked too steep and not within the allowable distance. I bought the tow bar used from the same owner who sold me the motorhome, so I was out of luck with a replacement or sympathy from the manufacturers of the tow bar. Since our return back home in mid April, I have purchased a tow dolly and will be towing my other small car on it for future trips! Not sure if we will ever tow four wheels down again. But the future will tell!