What You Need to Know About Towbars - LNB Towbars


So, you’re thinking of investing in a towbar for your vehicle?  Luckily there are reliable towbar suppliers in Bristol to ensure that you find the right equipment for your car but before you make your purchase, there is some essential information that you should know about using a towbar. Here, we shall inform you on everything you need to know about towbars.

Leal requirements in the UK

A-frames are a reliable and easy to use towbar available from towbar suppliers in Bristol. Towcar A-frames are legal to use in the UK, as the UK department for transport recognise a towcar on an A-frame as a trailer. Therefore, the same rules apply to a towcar as they do to a trailer, which means that your towcar must comply with the European trailer legislation for it to be legal for use. If your A-frame setup meets the current European trailer legislation, then you are legal to tow your car in the UK.

The current legislation includes:

  • UNECE Regulation 55 for couplings.
  • UNECE Regulation 13 for braking.
  • Statutory Instruments Road Vehicle Lighting Regulation 1989 No.1796 and its amending directives for lighting requirements.
  • The UNECE Regulation 13 was effective from November 2014 and is the legislation that most traditional A-Frame systems struggle to meet.

UNECE Regulation 13 breaches to be aware of:

  • Having no means to apply the brakes in the event that the vehicle detaches from the towing vehicle.
  • Adjustment or control over the trailers braking from the cabin of the towing vehicle.
  • Movement in the towing frame whilst towing.
  • Power assisted brakes on trailer inoperable (vacuum servo not working).
  • Power supply (the towcar’s battery) for braking system not controlled by the towing vehicle.
  • The towcar must not have brake drag when reversing, this being a common problem with inertia systems.
  • There not being a 50% plus braking efficiency being achieved across all 4 wheels.

Key points of current legislation for trailers (and towbars):

  • A minimum breaking efficiency of 50% across all four wheels must be achieved. This breaking efficiency must be met for any deceleration of greater than 2 metres per second.
  • If the trailer or towed car has vacuum/ electronic or assisted brakes, then you must be sure that the system is operable before towing your car.
  • The towcar must have a means of applying the brakes across all wheels so that in the event that the towcar becomes detached from the motorhome, it can achieve a deceleration of 2 metres per second.
  • The towcar must have legal lights displayed at the rear to match the towing vehicle.
  • You must visibly identify your towcar as a trailer by displaying reflective triangles and the towing vehicles number plate.
  • There should be no movement of the coupling or A frame whilst driving.
  • Powered braking systems must have a sustainable power supply from the tow vehicle.
  • The towcar must be able to reverse without brake drag.
  • The motorhome must have no manual controls or adjustment in the cab for the tow car braking system other than normal brake pedal application.

Generally, the two most important requirements are that you must achieve a minimum of 50% braking efficiency across all four wheels and if the trailer has power/vacuum- assisted brakes then the system must be operable.

Legal requirements abroad

In Europe, there are certain countries such as Germany and Spain that do not allow the towing of motor vehicles unless you are driving an authorised break down vehicle. However, as a holidaymaker who is staying less than six months in a European country you are legal to tow your car as long as your A-frame complies with the required trailer legislation to be legal in UK.

Tow bar suppliers in Bristol

Are you looking for a towbar in Bristol? Here at LNB Towbars, we supply specialist motorhome towbars and towcar a-frame services. We supply the towmaster A-frame, designed for strength, longevity and ease of use. If you are searching for towbar suppliers or towbar fitters in Bristol where you can get more information or make a purchase, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.