Don’t buy a tow car until you have the following:

■ Kerbweight figure

Check the car handbook for this information. If the car is a new one, the brochure will usually have it listed, although the handbook is a better bet.

■ Maximum towing limit figure

Every car has a maximum towing limit but it’s impossible to guess what it is. Some are surprisingly low and towing in excess of the limit will invalidate your insurance. Again, the place to look is the car’s handbook. Manual and automatic models often have different limits.

■ Towball limit figure

There is a limit to the amount of load that can be applied to the towball of a car and, as with other limits, it is vital that this limit not be exceeded. Again, some cars have surprisingly low limits. Contact the relevant towbar manufacturer to get the figure, look for the information on the towbar data plate, if a bar is fitted, or check the handbook.

■ Cost of towbar installation

It costs around £500 to get a towbar installed on the average car, but some models cost significantly more. Get a quote for installation before buying to avoid a nasty shock.