If you have the bad luck of your car breaking down, one of the first things you’ll have to know is how to install a tow hook.
On most modern cars the tow hook is not welded to the car body like it used to be but is mounted when needed.
Because of this, many drivers find themselves in an awkward situation. They hold the hook not knowing what to do next.
In order to avoid getting stuck in this situation, this article will guide you through the whole procedure and show you that it’s very easy.
If you want to watch the video tutorial, scroll to the end of the article or watch it on our YouTube channel.
HOW TO FIND THE TOW HOOK?
In case you don’t know where the tow hook is, its’ usually located near or inside the spare tire.
Mainly inside the plastic tool kit where the car jack and tire wrench are located. This tool kit is usually fitted inside the spare tire.
If you want to see how to take out the spare tire and the tool kit, click here for a separate article on that topic. Also, you can watch the video tutorial by clicking here.
When you have a fix-a-flat system, perhaps look somewhere near the repair set. Either this or inside the various compartments located under the trunk floorboard.
In any case, the location of the tow hook should be obvious and easy to find regardless of the car type. If you have problems finding it, read the user’s manual or Google it.
The tow hook looks like a huge bolt with a thread on one side and a loop on the other.
HOW TO INSTALL A TOW HOOK?
The example shown here is done on a Skoda Fabia but the basic principle can be applied to other cars also.
Installing is more or less the same and standardized for most cars in order to make it easier to use and mount.
So, whatever car you drive, this article should give you a good idea of what to do.
1. FIND THE PLACE FOR INSTALLING THE TOW HOOK
This is the step where most people have problems.
Unlike older cars, where the tow hook is immediately visible as a metal loop sticking out of the bumper, on modern cars the place for mounting the hook is hidden.
This was done mainly for aesthetic reasons and because of using uniform plastic bumpers.
So, one part of the tow hook is in your trunk while the other part is behind the bumper, welded to the car frame.
For the rear of the car, it’s pretty much the same situation, the thread is under the bumper. Although on many cars (like in the example shown here) the rear tow hook may be welded on.
The best way to find the place is to look closely at the bumper and try to find an access lid or a predefined opening.
2. OPEN THE ACCESS LID ON THE BUMPER
With the Skoda Fabia, the thread is accessed through an opening on the bumper.
A part of the plastic grill has to be removed to install the tow hook.
On other cars, you might likely encounter an access lid like in the picture below.
It looks like a small outlined lid on the left or right side of the bumper. The lid is meant to be pulled out by hand or using a screwdriver or trim tool.
3. SCREW THE TOW HOOK INTO PLACE
Make sure to properly align the tow hook so you don’t damage the thread.
A very important part of how to install a tow hook is to know that some may have a counter-clockwise thread.
This is the case with the Skoda Fabia for instance. Instead of naturally turning clockwise, the tow hook has to be turned counterclockwise to screw it in.
If you don’t know this, you might end up thinking the thread is bad and not being able to install it at all.
Screw the hook as far as it goes and tighten it. The thread is usually made so that when you screw it to the end it aligns in the best position for hooking up the towing cable.
Once you do this, you’ll get the old-style tow hook, it’s just made out of two parts.
4. UN-SCREW THE TOW HOOK
Once you’re finished towing, unscrew the tow hook.
Due to pressure from towing, it may give some resistance.
If it does, best use a screwdriver or wrench as a lever, slide it through the loop and turn it.
5. RETURN THE ACCESS LID INTO PLACE
In the case of the Skoda, the plastic part of the grill should be returned. Align it with the opening and push it until it clicks in to place.
If you have the access lid on the bumper, first align it with the hole. Then push it back until it clicks into place.
One word of advice if the access lid is on the bumper.
When it’s loose or the plastic string holding it is weak, best take the lid off until you fix it or buy a new one.
Otherwise, it may fall off during driving, you’ll lose it, and end up with a nasty hole in the bumper. Not very nice aesthetically speaking.
Learning how to install a tow hook is easy, as you’ve seen. Perhaps the most important thing is to know your car and where are all the vital things located.
When you know where the tow hook is and where to install it, everything is over in a matter of minutes.
If you’ve never done this before, find some spare time. Make a drill and see how it would look like if you actually have to tow the car. This is the best way to see where you might encounter problems.
Better be safe than sorry. When it comes to towing the last thing you should be worried about is how to install the tow hook.
Written by: Sibin Spasojevic
Former car technician, life-long car and DIY enthusiast, author for Despairrepair.com
HOW TO INSTALL A TOW HOOK? YOUTUBE VIDEO