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FAQ

1.Why does the price of a towbar vary so much?

2. My car has parking sensors; will this affect my choice of towbar?

3. Will the towbar from my old car fit my new car?

4. What is the advantage of a vehicle specific wiring kit and do I need one?

5. What is an AL-KO compatible towball?

6. Will my car need a bumper cut?

7. Can I use a bike rack with a detachable towbar?

8. What can my car tow?

9. What is the correct towing height for my vehicle and can I adjust this?

10. Can I just turn up and get a towbar fitted today?

 

 

1. Why does the price of a towbar vary so much?

 

This will depend on a number of factors; whether you want a fixed or detachable towbar, whether you require single or twin electrics, or a 13 pin socket arrangement, whether your vehicle requires a vehicle specific wiring kit and if the caravan you are towing has an AL-KO stabiliser which requires a compatible towball to be fitted.

 

 

2. My car has parking sensors; will this affect my choice of towbar?

 

If a vehicle has parking sensors we usually recommend that a detachable towbar is fitted. This is because a fixed towbar could be detected by the sensors when the car is put into reverse. Some fixed towbars are upgradeable to detachable if the sensors detect the towbar.

 

 

3. Will the towbar from my old car fit my new car?

 

Every towbar is designed specifically for the vehicle so a model change frequently requires that a new towbar is fitted. However it is useful to reclaim items such as bike carrier brackets, stabiliser brackets and stabiliser compatible towballs as these items can often be refitted.

 

 

4. What is the advantage of a vehicle specific wiring kit and do I need one?

 

Many modern vehicles have incorporated in their electronic systems safety functions such as Trailer Stability Program which can only be activated by using a dedicated wiring kit. Bypass relays, which will allow the lights to function, do not speak to the vehicle computer and are therefore not able to be read by diagnostic equipment. Vehicle specific kits on certain vehicles also activate features such as reversing sensor cut-off, fog light cut-off, adjusting air suspension and hill start assist.

 

 

5. What is an AL-KO compatible towball?

An AL-KO compatible towball is a 50mm towball which is designed to go specifically with the AL-KO stabiliser fitted to most modern caravans. The towball allows additional clearance between the bumper on the vehicle and the towball, as the hitch-head on the caravan is larger than a standard hitch. This towball needs to be used grease free and should have the paint removed before use. This stops contamination of the stabiliser pads in the hitch.

 

 

6. Will my car need a bumper cut?

 

Some towbars require a cut-out in the bumper so it is advisable to ask if this is of some concern to you.

 

 

7. Can I use a bike rack with a detachable towbar?

 

There are bike racks that fit to a swan neck or detachable towbar but it cannot be used whilst towing as the bike rack clamps onto the 50mm ball.

 

 

8. What can my car tow?

 

Every towing vehicle has maximum towing weight. This figure can usually be found in the vehicle handbook. The VIN plate on the car (sometimes located in either the driver or passenger door shut) shows the gross train weight which is the maximum permitted combined weight of the vehicle and trailer. The Caravan Club recommend a maximum of 85% of the vehicle kerb weight with a braked trailer and 50% with an unbraked trailer as a safe towing limit. All type approved towbars have a plate upon which the maximum nose-weight is shown as an “S-Value” and under no circumstances should this be exceeded.

 

 

9. What is the correct towing height for my vehicle and can I adjust this?

 

The regulations governing towbars dictate that the height of the towbar meets certain specifications. Most modern caravans and trailers are designed to allow for this height. This height cannot be altered unless the towbar has been designed with a height variation or non type approval allows for a drop plate to be used. Drop plates must never be used to raise the height of a towball as this will invalidate the towbar warranty.

 

 

10. Can I just turn up and get a towbar fitted today?

 

Due to the complexity of most vehicles and customer’s requirements we advise that you phone and book an appointment. Occasionally we can fit a towbar without an appointment but it’s always best to phone in advance.

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