Different types of towbar explained.
Fixed Flange – Traditionally used in the UK for all serious forms of towing and generally the most cost effective option. A towball is bolted with two or four bolts to the towbar to allow the fitting of accessories such as a towbar mounted cycle carriers, trailers and bumper protection plates. This style of towbar may set off reverse parking sensors.
A fixed flange is capable of using height adjustable couplings, drop plates and spacers to get different towing heights and clearances. The tow ball can be upgraded to be used with an AL-KO stabiliser (for caravan towing).
Fixed Swan Neck – Mainly used in the E.U and the least flexible design as no additional accessories can be used such as a bumper protection plate. The tow ball and the neck are all in one piece off the tow bar, in a slimmer style, making the swan neck style of towbar more aesthetically pleasing and less likely to set off the parking sensors (but not guaranteed). The swan neck tow bar can also be used with an AL-KO stabiliser without the need for modification (i.e.caravan towing ready).
Detachable Flange Towbar – The Detachable flange tow bars have all the benefits of a fixed flange tow bar with the additional option to remove when not in use. The towbar is invisible underneath the vehicle when the neck is removed and will not set off your parking sensors.
Detachable Swan Neck Towbar – As all the benefits of a fixed swan neck plus the towbar is invisible underneath the vehicle when the neck is removed and will not set off your parking sensors.
Towbar electrics explained
There are 3 types of towing electric sockets depending on your towing needs.
- Single 7 pin electrics (trailers, cycle carriers, caravans)
- Twin 7 pin electrics(same as single pin plus will power reversing lamp, battery, power supply and caravan fridge)
- Single 13 pin electrics. (caravans post 2008 will be fitted as standard with a 13 pin electric connector. It is a 2-in-1 socket, twin electrics in one essentially.)
7-pin to 13-pin adapters and vice-versa are available if necessary.
The next issue to consider are the type of wiring kits that you would like to fit to your vehicle, either a universal wiring kit (fits all vehicles) or a dedicated wiring kit (fits specifically to a single vehicle). This option often depends on your vehicle type and we can advise you accordingly.
Universal wiring kits, the cheapest option, connect the tow bar electrics to the car’s electrical systems. A lot of modern cars will also need a bypass relay when fitting a universal kit, to allow the towing electrics and vehicle electrics to working together effectively.
The disadvantage of a universal wiring kit is that some modern cars have trailer stability control programmed as an extension to the cars regular stability control system, however, if a universal wiring kit is fitted to your vehicle, the trailer stability control function may not activate when using a universal kit – a dedicated wiring kit would therefore be needed to utilize this function.
A dedicated wiring kit (the most expensive option) is recommended to cars which are still under the cars manufacturer guarantee, as fitting a universal kit could null and void your manufacturers warranty.
Dedicated kits (made specifically for your make and model of car) work to coordinate fully with the vehicles existing electrical system whilst towing. This allows full functionality of your cars systems such as brake electronics, engine electronics, cruise control or A.C.C, parking aids, reversing cameras, lane change assisting, suspension system, engine cooling system and S.P.