LNB Towbars - Towbar Fitting Service in Bristol, FAQ's
Q. "Why has European Type Approval for towbars been introduced?"
A. Directive 94/20/EC was introduced as part of EWVTA to provide a common standard throughout the European Community, thus creating an open market. Irrespective of where a towbar has been Type Approved, a customer will know that it has been manufactured to a known technical and quality standard.
Q. "What happens if I don''t fit a Type Approved towbar?"
A. If your car is first registered on or after the 1st August 1998, you could be prosecuted for an infringement of Construction and Use Regulations or your Insurers may decline to pay out in the event of an accident claim.
Q. "I only tow a small trailer on rare occasions, surely I don''t need a type approved towbar?"
A. The towbar must be certified even if not used for towing! Otherwise it does not comply with the Road Traffic Act.
Q. "I am changing my car, can I fit the towbar from my old car onto my new car?"
A. Not unless you are purchasing the same make, model and year group of car and your towbar is type approved. We would recommend a replacement bolt kit.
Q. "Is the towing capacity relevant to my car or towbar?"
A. The towing capacity is relevant to your vehicle and all vehicles have varying towing capacities. Ask us for your vehicles tow weight.
Q. "Can I transfer my non approved towbar from my 1996 Vauxhall Vectra to the new Vectra I am getting after August 1998 if I fit it myself?"
A. No. Only Type Approved Towbars can be fitted to vehicles that are registered on or after the 1st August 1998.
Q. "Does 94/20/EC mean that I can only have a swan neck towbar fitted as supplied by the vehicle manufacturer?"
A. No. A towbar with the popular two hole faceplate and towball made by an independant towbar manufacturer can be EC Type Approved.
Q. "How long does it take to have a towbar fitted?"
A. It can take anything from 1hr to 5hrs to fit a towbar as fitting times vary with each bar, but normally most vehicles are around 3hrs.
Q. "I have a Ford Ka and want to tow my small trailer but nobody lists a towbar. Can I have one specially manufactured?"
A. No. When EC Type Approving the vehicle, the manufacturer did not declare that it was suitable for towing. It therefore has no specified towing capacity and no specified mounting points. Towing with, or even the fitment of a towbar to any such vehicle registered on or after the 1st August 1998 would make you liable to prosecution.
Q. "How can I tell if a towbar is EC Type Approved?"
A. It will have a label, data plate or staming showing an "E" No e.g. E11*0001*00. This figure denotes that it is EC Approved in the UK (E11), has an approval number (0001), of EC Document revision 0.
Q. "I am towing a small trailer for my jet ski, what type of electrics will I need?"
A. You will require single electrics in order to power the normal tail / side lights, indicator, brake and fog lights.
Q. "When would you require double electrics?"
A. Double electrics are needed when towing a caravan to supply power to the fridge and battery as well as taking a 12v feed into the caravan for interior lights etc. A split charge relay can also be added to double electrics to prevent your car battery being drained by your caravan.
Q. "My local motor dealer says that my warranty will be invalidated unless I fit the manufacturer''s towbar."
A. 94/20/EC was designed to create free trade. If you fit a Type Approved towbar it will not invalidate the vehicle warranty. Under EC Block Exemption rules, a motor vehicle manufacturer cannot prevent a franchised outlet from supplying or fitting components deemed to be of equal quality to that supplied by the vehicle manufacturer - such as a Type Approved towbar.
Q. " I am only using a bike rack, do i need electrics?"
A. Yes, you are likely to be blocking the visibility of your lights and number plate, so you will need to attach a lighting board.
Q. "I only tow off road, do i need an electrical socket?"
A. If the towing vehicle is a road going vehicle yes. To comply with the road traffic act and new MOT guidlines it should have the means to provide suitable and legal rear lighting even when towing.
Q. "What is a 13 pin socket?"
A. A 13 pin socket is the same as twin 7 pin sockets but in one. It is now the common standard in new caravans.
Q. "What height should the towball be?"
A. The million Euro question! The EC Directive 94/20/EC states that the towball height should be between 350 and 420mm with the vehicle in the ‘laden’ condition. Laden condition may have been defined (by the manufacturer) as either fully laden (the maximum technically permitted mass of the vehicle as shown in the vehicle handbook), or, conventionally laden (defined as 68.5kg per specified passenger seat and 6.5kg of luggage per specified passenger and located in the centre of the luggage storage area). Alternatively, the towball may be at the height or height range specified by the vehicle manufacturer in the homologation documents and possibly the vehicle handbook. Not so straightforward!
Q. "Can I use a raiser/drop plate to change the height of my towball?"
A. No! To do so could significantly increase the leverage on the towbar/towball interface, and could result in damage or failure of one of the towing system components. It would also almost certainly invalidate the EC approval of the towbar. There are very few instances where a raiser plate can be used. Also these must be with written permission of the towbar manufacturer and use is usually limited to special applications where a pin and jaw (not towball), is raised to the same position as the towball.
Q. "Do I need an Alko ball?"
A. If you have an Alko stabiliser coupling on your caravan and a flange fitted towbar, your coupling will not fit over a standard flange fitting towball, so yes an Alko ball will be needed.
Q. "How do you join into the car electric loom?"
A. The method of joining into your cars wiring varies from car to car and join to join. our skilled technicians will use either crimp connections, solder joins or splice joins as appropriate.
Q. "Are the electrics covered by a guarantee?"
A. Yes, we only use top quality products in our installations to give trouble free motoring. Our electrical workmanship is covered by a three year guarantee.