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Does fitting a towbar affect my warranty?

Many people with new cars are concerned that if they have their towbar fitted by an independent installer rather than the dealer that their car warranty may be invalidated.

So what are the facts?

Many dealerships tell customers that the towbar must be fitted by them using genuine parts to protect a car warranty. This is at best a lie, and at worst is illegal.

Under EC competition law, car manufacturers and dealerships are not legally allowed to prevent or hinder aftermarket suppliers from working on new vehicles.

The law is called 'block exemption', you can read the law in full here:  http://ec.europa.eu/competition/sectors/motor_vehicles/legislation/legislation.html

This is basically to stop car manufacturers and their dealers holding a monopoly on the market and to promote free competition.

The reality is that towbar fitting is so specialised that very few dealers actually undertake the job themselves.  It is far more cost effective for them to get a reputable independent supplier like ourselves to do it for them.  In fact, much of what we do is work on brand new cars at dealerships around the country.

Equivalent Quality Parts

The caveat here is that any parts fitted by an independent supplier must be the same, or of an equivalent quality, to that which would have been fitted by the manufacturer of the car.  You can't fit cheap aftermarket wiring to your new car and then expect the dealer to fix it free of charge in the case of any problems.


Any towbar fitted to a vehicle registered after 1998 must have passed certain quality-control and strength tests, and be approved by EC 94-20 Type Approval regulations.  By law any towbar that we supply must have been approved under these regulations.

When a manufacturer designs a new car they must provide mounting points for a towbar to be bolted to.  It's not a case that an aftermarket towbar manufacturer can simply design a towbar to fit however they like, it must be fitted to the manufacturers approved mounting points on the car.

This simply means that it doesn't matter whether your towbar comes directly from the dealerships in a box marked with their logo, or from an aftermarket supplier, it will be fitted to the car in exactly the same way.

However, there are still quality differences between different towbar manufacturers, a more expensive towbar will be designed to look better, and will have a better paint finish etc.

The big thing to remember here is that car manufacturers don't make their own towbars.  They buy them in from the exact same suppliers that we do!

The only difference is, for example, if you bought a towbar from a VW dealer it would come in a box that has a VW badge on it.  It would, in fact, be a Westfalia towbar which, if you wanted that towbar, we can get it for you directly from Westfalia so the towbar that we fit would be exactly the same as a VW dealer would fit.

When you place an order with us, we always look for the best quality, and also the neatest towbar for your car.  This doesn't always mean using the OE equivalent towbar because in a lot of cases they a far from the neatest fitting towbars!


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