Releasing and retracting a factory-fitted towbar on a Volkswagen Tiguan

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This post is probably of limited value because it only applies to a factory-fitted retractable towbar on certain Volkswagen models (mine’s a Tiguan Sport) but, being a towbar newbie (I don’t tow but I do want to fix a decent bike rack onto my car!), I wanted to see how to “fold out” the towbar (and to retract it again).  The driver who delivered the car didn’t know how, there are no instructions in the handbook, and googling didn’t turn up much either but it’s quite straightforward once you find out how…

  1. Lift the rear hatch (boot) door and look out for a cover on the top-left of the rear bumper.
  2. Lift this cover by tucking something into the hole and prising it off (the car key works well for this) – there is a “knob” underneath.
  3. Give the “knob” a good tug and the towbar will be released. Pull the towbar it out until it locks into place.
  4. To retract the towbar repeat steps 1-3 but push the towbar back in under the bumper.

9 thoughts on “Releasing and retracting a factory-fitted towbar on a Volkswagen Tiguan

  1. Thanks so much for this – we are thinking of getting a factory fitted retractable bar for our CC so this has been really informative. Can you tell me – can you definatly fit a tow bar mounted bike rack to a retractable bar?

  2. Hi Laura – you certainly can. I had my Halfords tow-bar-mounted rack on my VW Tiguan’s retractable bar earlier this week. Just watch out that the weight of the bikes and rack doesn’t exceed the towbar’s maximum limit. I think that was 100kg for me on the Tiguan, but from memory it would have been lower if I’d got another Audi A4. Your dealer should be able to confirm. I wrote another post recently about my experience as a towbar newbie – if you haven’t seen it already, it might be worth checking out. ^MW

  3. Not limited value at all!! I found myself trying to pull someone out of a ditch last night, with them having gone off the road in the snow. Spent ages looking for a towing hook, with no luck, then found a reference in the handbook to screwing in a towing eye, but having opened the hatches and found the towing eye (in the snow in the dark) we realised there was nowhere to screw it in. After a bit of playing today in daylight, I found what looked like a tow bar tucked up under the rear bumper, and that led me to your blog – Many thanks and problem now solved. Shame I didn’t know that last night and that there was nothing in the handbook!!

  4. Thank you very much for this invaluable information. However there Is a green light in that compartment where the knob is found. What does that light indicate?

  5. hi I have just bought a Tiguan with a factory hideaway tow bar. But it doesn’t seem to want to hide away. When you pull the knob to release it it still has resistance on it and retracts back but the tow ball does not move. any ideas what could be wrong with it. any help would be greatly appreciated.

  6. Sorry Bruce, I don’t have my Tiguan any more. From what I remember though, the ball was fixed and the whole mechanism retracted “as one”. I’m sure that your local VW dealer will be able to advise (hopefully without charge) if it’s a factory-fitted unit. Mark

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