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Many people associate a Towbar with towing a Caravan, however there are many other uses for a towbar, such as towing various types of trailer, e.g. for rubbish, motorbikes, jet skis, horses, camping equipment etc. or commercial use. Also, many people use a towbar to mount a cycle carrier or bike rack.

There are 3 type(s) of Towbars

Fixed Towbars

  • Compatible with most stabiliser plates
  • Alko Towball needed for alko hitches
  • Compatible with most bike racks
  • Not removable
  • Can interfere with parking sensors

Swan Neck Towbars

Swan Neck Towbars
  • Original/Genuine type design
  • Cannot be used with stabiliser plates
  • Compatible with Alko stabiliser
  • Not removable
  • Can interfere with park sensors

Detachable Towbars

Detachable Towbars
  • Easily removed without tools
  • No interference with parking sensors
  • Cannot be used with stabiliser plates
  • Compatible with Alko stabiliser
  • Less obstruction when reversing
  • Gives better access to boot area

Single or Twin?

All vehicles when towing will need the single electrics, however the supplementary Twin (or '12S') Electrics will mostly be required by vehicles which will be towing a caravan, where the facility to charge a caravan battery and power a fridge is required.

7-Pin or 13-Pin?

All Trailers, Bike Racks & Lighting Boards will use a 7-Pin socket. Modern Caravans now adopt the 13-pin (Euro) electrical socket. If you want to the flexibility of being able to use both 7-Pin and 13-Pin, choose the one which you will use most and have this fitted - then purchase the appropriate adaptor.

Alko Stabiliser Ball?

If you tow a caravan, you need to check if the caravan uses an Alko Stabiliser Hitch. (Red Handle). If you are towing an Alko Stabiliser, you need a setup which provides enough clearance gap between the ball and your vehicle bumper. Swan-Neck and Detachable will always be fine for Alko Caravans. If you opt for a Fixed Flange Towbar, then you will need to purchase an Alko Towball. It can be complicated, but at Kens we can offer all the variable options and we can discuss any of your queries further by telephone or e-mail.

Should I have Dedicated/'Plug-in' Wiring?

Dedicated wiring kits are a relatively new phenomenon; we often hear the term 'plug-in' and although this sounds very sophisticated, in reality it's never quite plug 'n' play. The dedicated wiring harness kit will communicate with the vehicle's on-board computer telling the vehicle it's 'towing.' How the vehicle responds depends on the vehicle. For most cars, it will do two things when towing:

1) Turn off Reversing Sensors

2) Turn on a display light on the vehicle's dash

There has been much written about the benefits of dedicated wiring kits, but we have found that once customers weigh the extra cost of the dedicated wiring kit with the additional feature benefits described above, it's not always worth it. 

There are certain vehicles which have additional towing features which can only be activated if a dedicated wiring kit is used e.g. on some Range Rover's the vehicle's suspension changes to allow for a smoother ride. In these cases the dedicated wiring is definitely worth considering. Some vehicles have to be taken to the dealer to be reprogrammed in order to activate the vehicle's towing features.

For additional advice call us on 0115 9502114