How do you choose the right towbar for a car? The choice depends on several factors we outline in this handy guide with tips about different uses.
Do you only want to pull a small trailer with the towbar? Should this be used to mount a bike rack? Or are you planning to start your next vacation with a large caravan? When choosing the right towbar, the main thing is that the permissible trailer load is sufficient. You also have a choice of different types of towbars to choose from.
Choose the right towbar for your needs
There is the classic rigid trailer hitch that is permanently attached to the car. However, if you only rarely want to tow a trailer and do not want to always see the towbar, there are now other options when you need to choose the right towbar.
A detachable towbar is a good option, for example. This allows you to easily remove the ball head of the towbar and usually also fold away the socket for the power connection. This means that you don’t see from the outside that your car has a towbar when you don’t need it. The assembly and disassembly is done with just a few simple steps.
A swiveling trailer hitch is even more convenient . You should select these directly when buying a new car, as this type of trailer hitch can only be retrofitted with great effort, if at all. The towbar can be folded out and in again at the push of a button or with a cable. So you can always hide it quickly when it is not needed. Of course all types of towbars have advantages and disadvantages. The sometimes significant price differences will certainly play a role in your decision. In any case, it is worthwhile to obtain several offers before retrofitting. So make sure you pay a fair price.
The socket on a trailer hitch is required to connect the lights of the trailer to the on-board electronics of your car. Taillights, brake lights, turn signals and the license plate lights also work without problems on the trailer.
In most cases, the trailer also has a rear fog lamp and a reversing light. For a safe journey, it is of course essential that the entire lighting of the trailer works in the same way as that of your car. There are 2 different connection types for the connection between trailer or caravan and towing vehicle: the 7-pin and the 13-pin socket.
The version with 13 pins is the newer socket version. Compared to the 7-pin version, it has more cables to connect the new technical systems to the trailer. To improve driving stability, many cars now have an electronic stability program (ESP), which uses the car’s CAN bus to detect when a trailer is coupled.
The electronics ensure that the wheels are balanced and the trailer is stabilized by braking individual wheels in limit areas. The parking aid at the rear of your car is also automatically deactivated as soon as a trailer is installed. The new version also has other advantages. Compared to the 7-pin version, the connection is watertight, which prevents damage to the electrical system. The connection of the 13-pin plug to the socket is secured by a rotary movement.
The cover flap of the socket has a spring and additionally stabilizes the connection. Most of the time you have the choice of which socket you want. As a rule, 7- and 13-pin versions are offered. However, if you ever want to pull a trailer that has the other system, there are corresponding adapters from 7- to 13-pin and vice versa.
If your car does not have a towbar, it may be worth considering retrofitting.