We have had a couple of people send us screenshots and links to what could be one of the dodgiest recovery items ever created. It’s a piece of equipment designed to make a dangerous operation more convenient, but not safer. A recovery method that claims lives every other year, made easy.
This piece of equipment is the “Tow Dawg”, from the good ol’ USA. Land of the brave, and foolhardy.
Okay, let’s digress a little. Sold attached to either a 2-ply or 4-ply strap, the tow dawg is a simple tow rope. It seems to be meant for slow, gentle ‘take up the strain’ style pulls. It probably works well moving cars around sealed roads. But not all’s well that means well. The moment the throttle is blipped or traction changes, stresses beyond the towball’s capabilities will be introduced, and that lands the now broken tow ball and Tow Dawg through your windscreen or back window, and maybe your head. There’s just too much risk for something to go wrong.
Unfortunately, the manufacturer and retailers claim the straps are rated at 31,000lbs (>14 tonnes) breaking strain and 10.333lbs (>4.5 tonnes) horizontal working load for the 2 ply strap and nearly twice as much for the 4-ply strap.
Anyone remember the Holden Colorado ads, two of, that have been cancelled over the years for showing chains attached to tow balls? Doesn’t matter if you’re pulling bogged tip trucks out of a stadium demolition site or ‘uprooting’ a plant from an obviously pre-dug hole, don’t ever use your tow ball with a strap or chain.
Want to use your towbar as a recovery point? Don’t use the ball at all. Remove the hitch completely, and use either the hitch pin or a recovery hitch and properly rated shackle.