What is a Towbar?
A towbar or tow hitch is a device fitted to the chassis of a vehicle to enable the towing of caravans, trailers etc.
Thinking of buying a Towbar?
Whether you have bought a new car or plan on fitting a towbar to your existing vehicle, our frequently asked questions are here to ensure you have all the information you need before making your purchase.
What Towbar do I need?
There are two different types of fixed and detachable towbars: swan neck and flange. Towbars are vehicle specific so some will only suit one style of bar but with newer vehicles there are more options available.
Fixed Flange Towbar
The Flange towbar is the most common in the UK. The flange style sees the tow ball bolted to the towbar itself. This offers the most versatile style of towbar and is the best option if you are looking to attach a bike carrier, butterfly step, stabilisers, bumper protectors or other towing accessories, as these are mounted between the towball and towbar. They also offer the option of adding height adjustable couplings, spacers and drop plates to tailor to different towing heights and clearances.
Detachable Flange Towbar
The detachable Flange towbar has all of the same features as a fixed bar, but with the added option of removing the neck when it’s not in use. On most vehicles, it will not be visible that there is a towbar fitted once the neck is detached.
Fixed Swan Neck Towbar
The Swan neck towbar is the most common in the E.U. and is growing in popularity in the UK. The Swan Neck Towbar is one unit so the towbar and towball are attached as one complete item. This offers a neater finish as the swan neck bars tend to be slimmer than the alternative Flange towbars. The fixed swan neck towbars are also less likely to trigger parking sensors due to the narrower frame of the bar. The swan neck towbar can carry most ball mount cycle carriers, however it is less versatile than the flange bar as it is limited to the accessories that can be fitted. In addition, you can only attach either a bike carrier or caravan/trailer to the swan neck bar at any one time.
Detachable Swan Neck Towbar
The detachable Swan Neck towbar has all of the same features as a fixed bar, but with the added option of removing the neck when it’s not in use. On most vehicles, it will not be visible that there is a towbar fitted once the neck is detached.
Do I need a fixed or detachable towbar?
The main features of fixed and detachable towbars are the same with the only obvious difference being the removal of the neck on a detachable bar when it’s not in use. Detachable Towbars tend to be a more expensive option and may be chosen for the following reasons:
- More aesthetically pleasing (may not appear that the vehicle has a towbar once the neck is detached)
- Parking Sensors (if a vehicle has parking sensors the neck may trigger them whilst its attached)
- Prevent walking into the neck of the towbar when it’s detached
Which towing electrics do I need?
Single 7 pin socket: this features just one socket which powers the lights on your trailer, cycle carrier or caravan.
Twin socket: this features two 7 pin sockets, one for the lights and one to power the fridge and battery etc. on your caravan.
13 pin socket (Europlug): this does the same as the twin sockets, this is mainly on newer caravans.
Vehicle specific kits/Dedicated Electrics are also available should you require them. These plug directly into the vehicles existing wiring loom. This is a good option if your vehicle has multiple different internal electrical features.