When buying a towbar for your vehicle in order to tow a trailer or caravan, an important decision to make is what kind of towing electrics or wiring kit you will use to connect the vehicle to your trailer / caravan.
7 pin socket, Twin or 13 pin?
To start off there is the choice between what socket you will need, 7 pin single socket, twin 7 pin sockets, or the new 13 pin socket. If you are towing a trailer and you need to run just your rear lights behind the trailer you will probably want a 7pin socket.
7 Pin Electric Socket
If you need to run a leisure battery in a caravan while you are towing you will want a twin (2x7pin) or a 13 pin socket(standard in Europe), check your caravan for the correct plug connection.
Twin (2x7pin) Electric Socket
13 pin Electric Socket (standard in Europe)
Universal Electrics or Vehicle Specific?
With modern vehicles and the increasingly complex vehicle wiring a new decision now also has to be made: Universal Electrics or Dedicated Electrics.
Universal electrics has been the standard for many years, involving cutting and splicing wires into the vehicle’s existing wires to allow the power feeding from each wire to each vehicle light / function to also travel through to the corresponding trailer light / function.
More complex vehicle wiring now means that in many modern vehicles wires power more than one light and the power system often works on a pulse system rather than a constant feed. These changes have meant a bypass relay is required for most modern vehicles using universal wiring.
Vehicle Specific or Dedicated Electrics
An alternative to Universal Electrics is Dedicated Electrics, also known as ‘Vehicle Specific’ wiring or ‘Plug-In’ electrics.
Dedicated kits are made specifically for each vehicle, and do not require the cutting or splicing of wires. Often a module can be found in the back of the vehicle in which the dedicated kit is plugged in, leaving a relatively simple job of feeding the wires through to a few points on the vehicle to connect in to place.
A Dedicated kit is more expensive, usually costing between £50 and £200 dependant on vehicle model, and also does not usually come in the twin 7 pin socket variety (normally 7 pin or 13 pin) however there are several benefits over universal electrics to consider:
• Will not void your vehicle warranty (Most vehicle warranties will be void if using universal wiring and so in the long run a dedicated kit could in fact save you a lot of money)
• Will allow the vehicle to automatically activate any towing modes (including safety and stability features)
• Much simpler and easier to fit.
• Designed to original equipment specification.
One point to note is that several dedicated kits will also require recoding. We are able to recode most vehicles without you having to go to your local car manufacturer dealer at an additional cost. To find out more about recoding click HERE
To go to our towbar page click HERE