Towbar & Towing Electrics

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Towing Electrics

Towing Electrics

Cars are becoming ever more complex and it is vital to consider how your towbar electrics are installed.

Whether you are using your towbar to tow a large caravan, or simply just to support a bike carrier, you will need some electrics with your towbar.

In the past towing electrics were simply connected to the rear lights of the car, and that was it. Modern cars are now computer controlled, with advanced safety features, and complex wiring systems. Towing electrics are no longer 'simple'.

When choosing the type of electrics that you need fitting to your towbar there are 2 steps that you need to take.


Step 1

The first step is to decide which type of socket that you need.  There are 3 options used in the UK. Single 7 Pin electrics (12N), Twin 7 Pin electrics (12N & 12S), and Single 13 Pin electrics.

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Step 2

The next step is to consider how you would like the wiring to be installed.  On older vehicles there is a choice between universal aftermaket electrics, and vehicle specific wiring.  On some newer vehicles it is compulsory to have vehicle specific wiring to activate safety features on your car.

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Which wiring should I choose?

Universal Aftermarket Wiring

Universal Aftermarket Wiring is fitted to your vehicle using an interface relay to protect your car's electrics. This type of wiring is available for most models where the vehicle is out of its warranty and does not have built-in safety features that must be activated. The universal wiring is connected to a 7-way bypass relay that protects the car's Canbus system, which won’t cause any faults on the dash as the car doesn’t detect the towbar system.

If your vehicle is still within its manufacturer’s warranty, we would recommend the fitment of Vehicle Specific Wiring.

Vehicle Specific Wiring

Each kit is designed specifically for the vehicle it is fitted to. Rather than soldering or using ‘Scotch Locks’ to connect the towbar wiring, which is the case with universal aftermarket wiring, these kits interface with the vehicle systems in the same way as the vehicle manufacturer intended.

If your vehicle is less than three years old or is still within its manufacturer’s warranty, you would need vehicle-specific wiring to protect that warranty. Other towing functions such as Trailer Stability Control that are available on your car would be activated when vehicle-specific wiring is fitted.

What is coding, and does my car need it?

With any vehicle-specific wiring loom, there is a chance your vehicle will need coding. All our engineers are equipped with coding machines to plug into your car to update the system. Most new vehicles have towing functions, and without the coding, it is possible they won’t work. Some functions include deactivating your parking sensors, trailer stability control, and deactivating some safety functions such as lane assist.

Although this may sound daunting, we have invested heavily in up-to-date coding equipment. All our engineers have been trained in using it, which means you will have the whole installation done the right way and save you from taking your vehicle to a manufacturer to finish the job. There are minimal occasions where we cannot code a vehicle, and you may need to get the dealership to complete this for you.

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