TOW HOOKS

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QUALITY SOLUTIONS FOR JDM, STREET & RACE CARS

Some people consider tow hooks an essential accessory of trucks and SUVs that go off-road. However, when you think of a classic JDM vehicle, one of the accessories you see on the front fascia is a bright red tow hook. Sounds familiar? Well, our experts have carefully studied all aspects of the tow hook applications and this resource will answer all questions you may have about this accessory.

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Tow Hooks for JDM

Tow Hooks for JDM & Race Cars

Race cars are known to have the best possible equipment that will last long and should help to avoid breakdown. However, race accidents and crashes are the part of the game, where the performance cars are the major players.

When an accident happens and the car becomes non-drivable, it has to be removed from the track as soon as possible. On track, the priority of the emergency crews is safety of the driver and the other participants of the race.

So, the team ensures the driver safe and tows an inoperable car out of the track as quickly as possible, in order to avoid further damage. This is when a tow hook is in the game! Properly positioned racing tow hook takes the guesswork away, as there is no need to spend time seeking for a good attachment spot. This way, such a small part saves a lot of time, the vehicle and health of other drivers, helping to clear the track quickly.

If there was no defined location to attach a tow strap or cable, trackside personnel has another protocol to remove a non-drivable vehicle from the track. They wrap the tow strap around tie rods or certain other crucial parts that could get damaged when the car is towed.

As a result, the vehicle may get additional damages on top of what was damaged during the accident. So, further you are getting a way more expensive repair bill.

Q & A

Why are Tow Hooks Painted Red?

red tow hookNow we are getting closer to the question many people ask. Why are tow hooks painted red? And the answer is getting pretty clear: a tow hook should be visible and has to be noticed at a glance. Red is the brightest color, so many manufacturers offer red tow hooks. However, there may be other colors available. Besides, you will usually find ‘TOW’ script on the surface. Some car owners also add a bright arrow-shaped sticker on the bumper. Another crucial thing you should keep in mind when selecting a tow hook: it has to be strong enough to cope with the weight of the vehicle.

Tow Hooks for Street Cars

In the majority of racing series, tow hooks and straps are recommended equipment. Some race rules say, that the tow hooks and straps are required.

Some performance-oriented vehicles come equipped with tow hooks from the factory. If you do not participate in races, you still may want to use your factory tow hook when needed.

Also, you may wish to make it more visible by upgrading to a more visible and better-looking tow hook.

  • A bright aftermarket tow hook is one of those racing-inspired accessories that adds race-ready visual appeal to the vehicles, that will hardly go to track days.
  • If you are into that sporty look and plan on adding an aftermarket body body kit, consider, that the majority of body kits by Extreme Dimensions, Seibon, Carbon Creations and certain other brands are not compatible with the OE tie downs.
  • If you are looking for an upgrade to the existing hold downs, or your vehicle simply does not have this feature from the factory, consider aftermarket tow hooks.
tow hooks for street cars
WIKI

Aftermarket Tow Hooks for Street Cars: Types

If you shop for aftermarket tow hooks for your vehicle, you will notice, that there is a variety of tow hook options. The main two types of tow hooks are vehicle-specific and universal.

Vehicle-specific tow hooks are designed to perfectly fit the specific year, make and model of a vehicle. They use the factory mounting locations to bolt on or screw into. Such type of tow hooks does not require any extra modifications to a vehicle or tow hook. This makes the installation simple enough to do it by yourself. The main drawback of this kind of tow hooks is the price, which is usually higher, than for the universal options.
Universal tow hooks are designed to work with the majority of the American vehicles with the minor modifications to the vehicle. So, if you are working on a custom race car project, consider the universal hold down solution.

Most Popular Aftermarket Tow Hook Configurations

  • Fixed and folding tow hooks;
  • Tow hooks with one or more mounting holes;
  • Tow hooks with adjustable brackets;
  • Custom side mount tow hooks;
  • End-mount tow hooks;
  • Tow hooks with 90-degree brackets;
  • Retractable tow hooks (common setup for modern race cars).

Materials & Components

Tow hooks feature exposed location, unless you have a race car that is equipped with a retractable tow hook, that hides when not in use. This means, that tow hooks are always under attack of road debris and weather conditions, road salt, moisture, etc. To make sure the tow hooks will not corrode or rust under the influence of moisture, snow, rain, and small stones, manufacturers finish tow hooks in anti-corrosion coatings and eye-catching colors, which make them noticeable.

tow hooks materials

Usually tow hooks are made of corrosion-resistant materials, like aluminum or high tensile steel. Note, that bright color of tow hook is great not only for track use. If you have street car that has to be towed, bright color will give a tow truck operator an opportunity to quickly find the spot to hook onto without having to waste time investigating the vehicle.

Types of  Tow Hooks

 

The style of tow hook you need for your specific vehicle application highly depends on the type of the vehicle you have. The most common types of tow hooks you may need for a US-built or JDM vehicle are:

  • J-hook;
  • R-hook;
  • D-hook;
  • T-hook;
  • a combination of grab hook and cluster hook, that features an R-hook.

Tow Hook Types by Car Makes

Different car manufacturers add different types of tow hooks to the vehicles they make. So, as it was noted before, the type of a tow hook on a vehicle depends on the car manufacturer. It is important to know, what type of hook your vehicle has in order to properly attach a recovery strap when needed.

  • “R” hook is designed to tow vehicles by Ford;
  • “T” hook is capable of towing GM/Chrysler vehicles;
  • “J” hook can tow non-US-built vehicles.

Now, let us consider the aftermarket tow hook options that are available for these car makes. A swivel design tow hook combines a D-ring, J- and T-hook. A cluster hook assembly features a D-Ring, combined with a J hook, T hook and R hook.

types of tow hooks

Now, you just need to pick the proper hook style and attach it to the OE hole that is in the undercarriage of your vehicle. This way, you will ensure safe and efficient towing when needed. If you need a heavy-duty tow hook, that is stronger, than the regular ones, check out 14’’ tow hooks.

Q & A

What is a Pintle Hook?

pintle hookA pintle hook is a kind of tow hitch that is normally used to handle heavy duty towing. The hitch consists of 2 pieces and is mounted to the vehicle using a plate or a hitch receiver. You can close such a hook around a pintle or lunette ring, that is mounted on a trailer.

To operate a commercial vehicle with a pintle hook, the driver has to have a Class A CDL license, that features a pintle hook restriction. However, pintle hooks for towing can be installed on the regular cars and trucks that are used for towing. Check out our material on pintle hooks if you are looking for detailed information.

Who Uses Vehicles Equipped with Pintle Hooks?

These are used by the industries such as:

  • electrical utilities;
  • department of highways;
  • construction;
  • trades requiring large trailers (between 10,000 and 60,000 lbs).

The Most Wanted Towing Accessories

Note, that a tow hook is not the only towing accessory you need for your vehicle. The other towing products you may also need are:

  • tow chains;
  • hauling chains;
  • tow straps / recovery straps;
  • trailer hooks;
  • car tie downs;
  • V-bridles;
  • cable pullers;
  • axle straps;
  • cluster hook assemblies;
  • tow strap accessories.

When you have the right combination of these, your vehicle will be easily towed, when needed. This way, towing will be safe and effective.

TOW STRAPS

Today many people think that they can use either of these straps to handle towing and recovery. However, they are quite different, so each of these straps has its features, benefits and differences in design.

Tow Strap vs. Recovery Strap

Tow straps are designed to tow, yet they feature very little stretch. So, when one needs to tow a vehicle that is stuck immobilized, using a tow strap is not the best idea. Usually they come with a hook on one end, or are made to be used with hooks. It is recommended to use a tow strap for efficient towing of a vehicle that can freely move.

tow straps

Recovery straps feature loops on both ends (not the hooks) and have enough stretch. To use a recovery strap, you can simply slip it over the tow hook. As a result, the recovery strap will create gentle stretch, that is enough to pull out a vehicle that got stuck. Recovery straps are considered safer, than the tow straps, since they do not feature a metal hook that can get unattach from the vehicle and create damage to the vehicle that is being towed.

recovery straps

Where to Place Tow Hooks and Recovery Straps?

The only place on the vehicle that is capable of handling the weight of pulling another vehicle is the frame. Note, that bumpers are not designed to handle towing, so when used as an attachment spot, they can get completely damaged or even pulled away completely. Another spot that should not be used to attach a recovery strap or a tow rope is an axle, as it can be easily bent this way under pulling pressure.

Note, that all US-built vehicles are required to have 4 attachment points on the frame that can serve as spots for recovery straps attachment. If a vehicle does not have tow hooks, they can be professionally welded to the frame in an ASE certified body shop.

WIKI

Strengths & Limits of Towing Equipment

When you consider towing your vehicle being towed, it is important to know the strengths and limits of your towing equipment. If you are just collecting the information, we have got you covered! Below are the most common terms you will need.

  • Break strength, also sometimes referred to as Rated Capacity. This is the average force, that the product was discovered to break at, during the series of tests conducted by the manufacturer and/or a trained representative. Note, that these tests are conducted under controlled, ideal conditions and the product is new.
  • Work load limit, also sometimes referred to as Safe Working Load (abbreviated as SWL or WLL) is the max load capacity that can be ever applied in cases of straight line pull under any conditions. SWL is the limit guidelines, that are determined based on the general conditions. Note, that SWL does not take into account environmental conditions, such as temperatures (higher or lower, than normal), prolonged immersion (in water or chemical solutions), etc. Overall, the working load limit noted for the specific piece of towing equipment should never be exceeded.

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