Towbar guide

Confused by the wide variety of towbars?

Our handy guide will help you.

What Can I Tow

Ensuring you have the legal capacity to tow your caravan is imperative. Failing to accurately match the weights of your car and caravan could result in costly fines, license points, and potential hazards to yourself and others. It’s essential to verify that your car is equipped to tow a caravan within legal limits.

To facilitate the safe towing of such a substantial load, we’ve compiled guidance on towing capacity. This resource is designed to assist even the most seasoned caravanners, offering comprehensive insights into determining what you can safely tow. Our guide provides practical advice and tips for identifying your car’s towing capacity, enabling you to tow with confidence.

Every car has a maximum towing capacity. The maximum mass you can tow is set by the vehicle manufacturer and can be found by reading the vehicle identification plate (VIN plate).

Located under the car bonnet or on a door pillar, the VIN plate has four lines. The VIN plate will look like this:

1. Gross Vehicle Weight 3000kg
2. Gross Train Weight 5000kg
3. Maximum Front Axle Load 1500kg
4. Maximum Rear Axle Load 1600kg

1. The 1st line is the gross vehicle weight (GVW). This is the total maximum weight of the vehicle. Do not load the car over this weight.

2. The 2nd line is the gross train weight (GTW). This is the total maximum weight of the vehicle plus caravan plus load. Do not load the car and trailer/caravan over this weight.

3. The 3rd line is the maximum front axle load (MFAL). This is the maximum distributed weight that may be supported by the front axle of the vehicle.

4. The 4th line is the maximum rear axle load (MRAL). This is the maximum distributed weight that may be supported by the rear axle of the vehicle.

Calculate your maximum towing weight

To calculate the maximum weight your car can tow, all you need to do is subtract the gross vehicle weight (GVW) from the gross train weight (GTW)

For example: Gross Train Weight of 5000kg – Gross Vehicle Weight of 3000kg would give you a Maximum Towing Capacity of 2000KG

This is the heaviest weight your vehicle can safely tow. Going over this limit can be dangerous and may result in fines and point on your license.

Types of towbar

When it comes to towbars, you’ll find two main styles: fixed and detachable, each offering swan neck and flange options. With such a diverse range of choices available, selecting the right towbar can be a perplexing task. It’s important to note that towbars are designed to be vehicle specific, which means the available options may vary depending on the make and model of your car. Nevertheless, it’s reassuring to know that the majority of modern vehicles offer compatibility with all towbar styles and types, ensuring a comprehensive selection to suit your needs.

fixed flange tow bar

Fixed Flange TowBar

  • Capable of fitting a bumper protector plate
  • Can be used with to ball mounted accessories like cycle carriers.
  • Capable of using height-adjustable couplings, drop plates and spacers to get different towing heights and clearances
  • Most popular type of towbar in the UK and tend to be cheapest.
  • Capable of fitting a towbar and pin system required to pull plant trailers and generators
  • Capable of putting a butterfly step on (mainly used on commercial vehicles)

detachable Flange Towbar

  • Same benefits of a fixed flange towbar, with the added benefit that it can be removed when not in use.
  • Neck mechanism locks to the vehicle to stop it being stolen
  • If parking sensors are fitted to a vehicle the detachable towbar will not interfere once removed
  • You will not bang your legs or trip on the towbar when utilising your boot or walking around your vehicle when the neck is removed
  • Detachable flange tow ball necks look less sleek when fitted
  • More expensive than fixed flange towbars
detachable tow bar

Fixed Swan Neck TowBar

  • More aesthetically pleasing than a flange style towbar
  • Price is very competitively priced compared to its detachable counterpart
  • More chance of the parking sensors not picking up the towbar when in reverse (but not a guarantee)
  • Can be more expensive than a flange depending on make and model.
  • Towing and using a towbar mount cycle carrier at the same time is not possible
  • Capable of carrying all types of ball mount cycle carriers

detachable Swan Neck TowBar

  • Same benefits of a fixed swan neck towbar, with the added benefit that it can be removed when not in use
  • If parking sensors are fitted to a vehicle the detachable towbar will not interfere once removed
  • The neck of the towbar can be removed leaving the vehicle looking like there is not a towbar fitted and towing capacity is the same as a fixed bar
  • Towbar height cannot be altered
  • Capable of carrying any tow ball mount cycle carrier
  • Neck mechanism locks to the vehicle to stop it being stolen

Contact us

Email

TowbarsNorthEast@gmail.com

Phone

0113 4180573
0191 3665767
07359 396229

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