Towbars can be fitted by a professional installer or someone who is competent at DIY. We would always recommend having your towbar fitted by a professional company, especially if you are having newer Vehicle Specific Wiring fitted due to specific tools needed and any coding that maybe required once connected. If you are thinking of fitting a towbar yourself, we have compiled a check list for your reference below:
Choosing a Towbar & Electrics
Deciding which towbar and wiring kit is correct for your vehicle when so many different options are available can be pretty confusing, Here’s some key things to check before making a purchase:
- Vehicle details – Make sure you check the vehicle make and model including the type, if you have a model with a different style bumper for example, such as Audi makes which have S-Line & Quattro models or Ford ST, ECOnectic, Vignale and so on. If you are unsure you can check the details in the vehicle handbook.
- Check the vehicle has a towing capacity on the VIN Plate
- Parking Sensors – If your vehicle has parking sensors it would be recommended to go for a detachable option, however some swan neck options are compatible with parking sensors, this info would be listed in the towbar info on our product pages.
- Electrics – There is two options of Universal Electrics or Vehicle Specific Electrics and 7 or 13 pin options, depending on what you are towing a 7 pin option would supply the road lights (excluding reverse) and the 13 pin would supply the fully set of road lights and a charging feed if required for caravans as an example. Universal electrics would require connections to the vehicle wires using snap connectors or soldering and no towing/safety features on the vehicle (if this applies) would be activated. Vehicle Specific kits are designed to mate with the existing wiring of the vehicle and in turn will activate an towing/safety features available, in some cases the vehicle may need to be programmed with a specific diagnostics tool to activated any features.
- Type of Towbar – Flange, Swan Neck & Detachable are the main three choices of towbar available. The best option for you would be based on what the towbar is being used for, for example some cycle carriers required a Flange towbar as the carrier may bolt on behind the towball or a Al-Ko stle towball neck is required and a Swan Neck or Detachable would be the best option in this case. If you are on a budget you will find the Flange or Swan neck options to be the least expensive, if you want to keep the style of your vehicle, Detachable towbars can be removed when not towing and the electrics folded away so it is completely invisible.
It is recommended to thoroughly check all instructions to understand exactly what is involved in fitting a towbar.
- Check all components with the fitting instructions to ensure you have everything
- Check all mounting points are available and clean of debris
- Ensure you have adequate room around the vehicle for removing bumpers, doors open etc..
- Correct set of tools, spanners, torque wrench etc..
- Make sure you have enough of a timescale to complete the work, always allow more time than estimated
- Follow the directions and order of the fitting instructions included with your towbar and make sure each point is completed beofre moving on to the next stage.
- Whilst removing any bumper or interior parts need for the installation it is a good idea to keep all the clips and screws together in a separate container and also take notes / pictures of where these have been removed from for later reference.
- When it comes to assembling the towbar together, loosely attach the parts together with a few turns of the nuts/bolts to leave enough room for the towbar to move whilst connecting the remaining parts.
- Retrace all the points of the towbar an ensure all nuts and bolts and are torqued to the correct setting as stated on the towbars fitting instructions.
- Check the electrics connections are all working by using a testing device on the socket, a lightboard or connecting up a trailer or caravan and activating each function on the vehicle.
- Once these steps are completed make sure the interior and bumper (if removed) are correctly put back together using all the clips and screws that had been removed.