Towbar Types

Towbars for All Makes of Vehicle…

Whatever you tow, caravan, garden trailer, boat or machinery, the correct installation of a towbar is critical with absolutely no room for compromise. That's why when you come to Crofton Towbars  you can be confident of no-nonsense, sound, professional advice.

You'll be advised on the best make of towbar for your vehicle, one that suits your needs, and not us, not necessarily the easiest to fit or the brand with the highest profit. Take a look at towball types and if you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact us.


Fixed Flange

Most common towball and most versatile as it can be used in conjunction with other towball mounted accessories. The only downside of this towball is that it is more likely to trigger  reversing sensors and you'll need an extended ball with an Al-Ko stabilizer. Cycle carriers, stabilizer plates & bumper protection plates can all be easily fixed securely behind the towball.

Fixed Swan Neck

The swan neck ball, compact and
mid-ranged price, although less versatile than the fixed flange can look tidier and with it's narrow neck is far less likely to interfere with parking sensors, This type can also be used with Al-Ko stabilizers without any modification. It can't be used with bumper guards and you can't tow and carry a cycle carrier at the same time

Detachable Swan Neck

Although the most expensive type of towball, this range will suit the driver with aesthetics in mind as when not in use it is simply removed, preserving the lines of the  vehicle and in some cases is then completely invisible. Detachables now come as swan neck or flange, although the range of vehicles covered is currently limited.

Detachable Flange

Detachable flange ball towbars combine the advantages of a fixed flange ball with the versatile options a detachable bar provides, making them ideal for most applications and requirements.

Tow bar electrics explained

The complexity of modern cars means that fitting tow bar electrics can be very difficult. It is important to choose the right electrics to suit your towing needs, whether that be towing a caravan, trailer, cycle carrier or anything else.  

There are 3 types of towing electric sockets to choose from depending on your personal preference and towing needs, they are single 7 pin electrics (12N towing electrics), twin 7 pin electrics (a combination of 12N and 12S towing electrics) and single 13 pin electrics.

Single 7 pin electrics

Single 7 pin electrics, also known as 12N towing electrics are needed to power the lighting on a trailer, caravan, cycle carrier or anything you're towing. (The single 7 pin electrics power left and right indicator and taillights, fog lights and brake lights.) If you don't require any further power to your towing counterpart, the single 7 pin electrics socket will be your main choice.

Pin locations are from rear of socket.

Pin locations are from rear of socket.

Twin 7 pin electrics

Twin electrics is a 2 plug system which combines the single 7 pin 12N electrics socket with a 12S electrics socket. You will need twin electrics if you require more power than what a single 7  pin socket can provide on a pre 2008 manufactured UK caravan (post 2008 UK caravans are fitted with 13 pin connectors). The twin electrics will power everything that a single electrics system powers plus reversing lamp, battery, power supply and fridge. The brown pin 5 in most cases is not used when wiring tow bar electrics and it is important to ensure that the white pin 3 cable is earthed.. In some cases a split charge relay might be needed in order for the power to switch divide from charging a leisure battery and the car battery.

Pin locations are from rear of socket.

13 pin electrics

13 pin towing electrics are the most modern style of towing socket, all EU caravans post 2008 will be fitted as standard with a 13 pin electrics connector. This is essentially a 2-in-1 socket, it has all the capabilities as twin electrics in one rather than 2 separate sockets. 13 pin towing are more adaptable for detachable tow bars that have a spring mounted single socket plate that can be folded up behind the bumper so that it's invisible.

Wiring Kits Explained

Wiring kits

Once you have chosen which electrical socket you need, you can choose which wiring kit to fit.

There are 2 types of wiring kits to choose from, dedicated and universal. Universal kits are available for all vehicles whereas dedicated are vehicle specific so may not be available for some cars (more information on whether your car has a dedicated tow bar wiring kit available can be found on the chosen tow bar product page).

Universal Wiring Kits Universal wiring kits are needed to connect the tow bar electrics to the car electrical system. In some cases, mostly in modern cars, a bypass relay will be needed when fitting a universal kit, this is to ensure the towing electrics and vehicle electrics co-ordinate voltage/ power and wont detect the drop in voltage/ power as a fault.

 Things to consider before purchasing a universal wiring kit Trailer Stability Control Some modern vehicles have trailer stability control programmed as an extension to the cars regular stability control system, however, if a universal wiring kit is fitted to your vehicle, the trailer stability control function may not activate and become null. Vehicle Warranty If your vehicle is still under warranty then you might want to consider the affect of fitting a universal wiring kit. Most warranties will specify that any tow bar wiring fitted must be equivalent to the wiring supplied by the vehicle manufacturer. Meaning, they prefer a dedicated wiring kit over a universal wiring kit.

Dedicated Wiring Kits

Dedicated wiring kits are made to fit a specific car make and model. Unlike universal kits, dedicated kits work in coordination with the vehicles existing electrical system allowing it to run as functional as it was intended to by the manufacturer.

The advantage of a dedicated wiring kit is that the vehicle will know when you are towing and will automatically adjust the following systems (only if the vehicle has them):

  • Brake electronics
  • Engine electronics
  • Cruise control or A.C.C
  • Parking aids
  • Reversing cameras
  • Lane change assisting
  • Suspension system
  • Engine cooling system
  • S.P

Conversion leads are available for 13 pin towing electrics to twin 7 pin towing electrics or twin 7 pin to 13 pin towing electrics if your vehicle has a 13 pin socket and your caravan has twin 7 pin towing plugs or vice versa.