Towbars, the Law, and Other Important Information

  • Witter Towbar Systems
  • Westfalia Automotive
  • Tow Trust Towbars
  • PCT Automotives
  • Brink
  • A1 Towing
  • Frans Remorques
  • Maypole
  • Trelgo

As responsible fitters and suppliers, Solent Towbars provides information to ensure that you travel safely and within the limits of the law, and about some of our manufacturers. Please read this page carefully and check back regularly to ensure that you are up to date with any changes to laws and regulations regarding towbars.

Towbar Law

European Law now states that all light passenger vehicles registered on or after 1st August 1998 require a type-approved towbar tested to EC94/20 and towball with suitable D&S values. This is not retrospective and does not affect any vehicle registered before this date.

Fitment of a non-type-approved towbar on a vehicle registered on or after 1st August 1998 could result in prosecution, and in the event of an accident, the vehicle’s insurance could be invalidated.

What Is the Maximum Weight I Can Carry in My Trailer?

For an unbraked trailer, there is a legal maximum of 750kg gross trailer weight, or 50% of the towing vehicle’s kerbside weight – whichever is less. For a braked trailer, the maximum is 3500kgs. Both weights depend on the trailer and its weight restriction.

What Are the Speed Restrictions When Towing?

It is 60 mph on motorways and dual carriageways with a national speed limit, 50 mph on other roads unless there are lower speed restrictions in operation.

Can I Tow in the Fast Lane of a Motorway?

No, you must not travel in the fast lane of the motorway whilst towing unless there are lane restrictions or you are directed by a police officer.

towbar Restrictions

All towbars are designed (with the aid of the latest CAD system) to fit precisely to mounting points and are renowned for their ease of fit and unobtrusive appearance. Once the design is approved and tested to rigorous European standard EC94/20, it is then manufactured by an experienced production team using only certified British steel and finished in a high-quality primer.

Quality management systems cover all areas from design to distribution to ensure customer satisfaction. Our towbars come with full fitting instructions complete with diagram should you wish to fit them yourself.

All type approved towbars carry a label to ensure product traceability and all the information necessary to conform fully to the European standard. Some care should be taken when selecting a towbar to ensure the D&S values are great enough for the model of vehicle required. Again, we are happy to advise on our entire range.

British & European Standards

All towbars comply with ISO 1102 and BS AU 113, which specifies the dimensions and location of the towball to ensure a safe and level towing height of between 350mm and 420mm (ground to centre of towball when the vehicle is laden).

As per EC94/20 the European Regulation, towbars are required to conform to this standard and have a full testing programme underway in conjunction with the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA).

Westfalia Diagnostic Tool

Wiring Diagnostics

Solent Towbars can now offer our customers a complete vehicle-specific wiring service using both wiring and industry-leading diagnostics technology. VSW kits are individually designed on the requirements of each individual vehicle, and, when installed, will ensure any towing-related safety features are active and functioning. Here at Solent Towbars, we have invested heavily in the latest diagnostic equipment.

VSW (Vehicle Specific Wiring)

An increasing number of modern vehicles are now being equipped with electronic systems dedicated to towing*, such as:

TSP (Trailer Stability Programme) - This detects snaking on a trailer or caravan and uses the vehicle’s braking to bring it back under control.
Fog Light Cut Out - This turns the vehicle’s fog lights off when a trailer is plugged in.
Reversing Sensor Cut Out - This deactivates the vehicle reversing sensors when a trailer is plugged in.
Dashboard Indication - Uses a light to signal trailer indicators are working.
Bulb Failure Detection - Can detect if a bulb is not working on the trailer.

* Dependent on vehicle make and model

"Vehicle specific wiring is the way ahead, it is more expensive than standard wiring but if you have features built into your vehicle … why not use them?"

The system is fitted using either factory-prepared connectors, original vehicle harness connectors, or connecting directly to the vehicle’s network via the CAN bus and other specified points using automotive-grade connectors.

Towbar Types

There are different types of towbars and you should make sure you know which one is suitable for your car and the purposes for which you can use them.

Two-Hole Flange/Fixed

Two-Hole Flange/Fixed

The two-hole flange is the most common type of towbar in the UK. It can be used with a wide range of accessories such as bumper protection plates, cycle carriers, and all types of stabilisers, though they can sometimes pick up and interfere with reversing sensors.



Growing in popularity in the UK, the detachable towbar may appear the same as a swan neck towbar, but you can detach the neck by means of a simple action, leaving very little or nothing of the towbar visible. They are very good if reversing sensors are fitted but, as with the swan neck, you are unable to use a cycle carrier whilst towing and other towball-mounted accessories.

Swan Neck

Swan Neck

The swan neck is the most common in Europe, and is where the towball and towbar neck are all in one. They are suitable for an AL-KO stabiliser though you are unable to use a cycle carrier whilst towing.

Electrics Type

Electrics Type

Before you order your tow bar, you need to ensure you have the correct electrics. Please see our guide below to determine your towing requirements and what type your vehicle is.

Single Electrics

Single electrics (also known as 12N) are used when all that is required are road lights, such as for a trailer or cycle carrier lighting board.

Double Electrics & Relay

Double electrics and relay incorporate the single electrics plus another socket (also known as 12S) to provide a permanent live feed into the caravan. With the aid of a relay, this allows the fridge and battery charge facility in the caravan to be used, and enables a reversing light to be wired, if required.

13-Pin Electrics

13-pin is the new EU wiring that is slowly filtering into the UK. Most used by caravaners, it incorporates the double electrics and relay (12N and 12S) in one socket. All new caravans and some cycle carriers now come with a 13-pin plug. Here at Solent Towbars, we have two other types of wiring for your vehicle:

Bypass/Vehicle Interface Relay

This is a universal fitting for most vehicles. It is a cost-effective way of wiring by means of connecting to the vehicle’s rear lighting looms. All mandatory lights will operate, but no towing-related features will be activated. This system works with bulb failure systems, multiplexed wiring, mixed voltage, low voltage, and digitally controlled lighting.

Please note: some older vehicles will only require fitment of an audible buzzer and not the above relays.

Vehicle-Specific Wiring

This is specific to the individual vehicles and, when fitted, will integrate into the electrical systems and activate any towing-related features.


AL-KO Stabilisers

The AL-KO can be recognised by its red handle, although there are various styles:

If your caravan is fitted with an AL-KO-type stabiliser, then you will require an additional AL-KO-compatible towball, with an extended neck that enables a more secure and stable connection. The head of the towball should be taken back to bare metal to allow for metal-against-metal grip, and should always be used completely grease-free. This is recommended by AL-KO, and failure to adhere to this recommendation could invalidate your insurance in the event of an accident.

PCT Automotive


Founded in Sheffield, PCT Automotives is one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of towbars, towing electrics, and automotive products. All their towbars are designed to fit precisely to vehicle mounting points as specified by the manufacturer, and are fully compliant with the European type approval regulations for standardised towbar manufacturing.

With a lifetime guarantee to the vehicle on which it is fitted, PCT towbars are made from certified British steel and come with a phosphate chemical pre-treatment and powder coated finish to enhance both durability and appearance when fitted.


Swedish company Thule has been around since the 1940s, and has manufactured towbars for major vehicle brands such as Land Rover, Toyota, and Jaguar since they merged with the towbar company Brink in 2006.

Thule specialises in all towbar variants, including swan neck, fixed flange ball, detachable, and retractable systems. The company is also the leading manufacturer of cycle carriers, holding up to two to four bikes with ease, and having the added advantage of integrated lights.



Based in North Warwickshire, Tow-Trust Towbars are one of the foremost manufacturers and designers of towing equipment. All their towbars are designed to fit precisely to vehicle mounting points as specified by the manufacturer, and are renowned for their ease of fit and unobtrusive appearance.

Tow-Trust’s towbars are made only from high-quality British steel, and are rigorously tested to ensure they are fully compliant with the European type approval regulations for standardised towbar manufacturing. Their quality management system covers the entire manufacturing process, from design to distribution, to assure high standards and customer satisfaction.

Witter Towbars


Witter is Britain’s largest and best-known towbar manufacturer. Based in Deeside, North Wales, Witter provides quality-assured towbars and various towing accessories, including cycle carriers, towing steps, and roof racks. To date, it has distributed more than 6 million towbars.

All Witter towbars are made from high-quality British steel and designed using 3D computer-aided design with the latest software. All testing is carried out in-house using Servo hydraulic testing machines and is observed by the UK Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA). Through this rigorous testing, Witter ensures that all their products are fully compliant with the European type approval regulations for standardised towbar manufacturing. All Witter towbars come with a lifetime guarantee, and technical support from the Witter factory.

Please give us as much detail about your requirements as you can, and we’ll answer you as quickly as possible

privacy policy

This Privacy Policy applies to Solent Towbars. (along with all subsidiaries, affiliates, successors and assigns thereof, referred to hereinafter collectively as “Solent Towbars”, "we", "our" and/or "us"), our websites and services. Solent Towbars knows that you care how information about you is used and shared, and we appreciate your expectation that we will do so carefully and sensibly.

By visiting this or another Solent Towbars website displaying this Privacy Policy or a link thereto (a "Website", or collectively the “Websites”), or by otherwise interacting with Solent Towbars you agree to accept the practices described in this Privacy Policy. This Privacy Policy is further subject to the Solent Towbars Services Agreement related to the Solent Towbars services you utilise and/or purchase. For questions on this Privacy Policy please contact our team via the contact information found on this Website.

Solent Towbars values your privacy and is dedicated to protecting your personal information and providing you with notice about what personally identifiable information we collect and how it is used, what choices you have regarding the collection, use and distribution of that information, the security procedures we implement to protect that information and what access you may have to correct any inaccuracies in the information we have collected from you.

What Information Is Collected
We receive and store any information you enter on our Websites or give us in any other way, such as via telephone, electronic mail, online or otherwise. For example, this information may be collected when you contact us for customer support.

Here are the types of information we gather:
Contact Information: We collect and retain personal contact information that you submit to us voluntarily and this includes, but is not limited to, your name, mailing address, web address, telephone number, and e-mail address. This information may include your full name, mailing address, phone number, email address, and, where provided, your fax number. Such contact information may be used, for example, to communicate with you when necessary with respect to transactions. Additionally, we may collect contact information provided to us during any correspondence relating to customer support, as well as in connection with products and services offered on our Websites.

Financial Information: We collect and retain certain financial information from when you purchase our products and services. For example, when you sign up for any other product or service through Solent Towbars, we require you to provide a credit card number and billing address before we will process that application. We will not sell, share or rent any financial information collected from you except as disclosed in this Privacy Policy or as necessary to fulfil any order for our products or services.

Demographic Information: We may collect and store anonymous demographic information (such as your postcode, gender and age), and use this data to tailor your experience on our Websites, provide content that we think you might be interested in, perform general improvements to the Websites, and display the content according to your preferences. Such demographic information may be shared with partners, market researchers and other third parties on an aggregate, non-personally identifiable basis. No personally identifiable information will be linked to such aggregated demographic information that is shared with third parties.

Other Information: We collect and store certain types of information whenever you interact with us. For example, our servers track the type of web browser you are using and the page from which you link. Additionally, we log IP addresses (a unique number assigned to every computer on the Internet) in order to improve security, analyse trends and administer the Websites. We may track your movement within the Websites, the third-party website pages from which you were referred, access times and browser types. We use this information to gauge the effectiveness of our Websites, track information for statistical purposes and to improve the products and services we provide. We collect this information to better develop a sense of what services our customers need and identify areas of improvement to the Websites. We may use such information for marketing purposes, and to send information to you that we believe might be of interest. In addition, such information may be shared with partners, market researchers and other third parties on an aggregate, non-personally identifiable basis. No personally identifiable information will be linked to such aggregated information shared with third parties.

We may supplement the information you provide us by acquiring publicly or commercially available information as available in the public domain or from third parties, for instance, to verify your address or to update your information and to create a profile of your preferences. We tie your personally identifiable information to information in the profile, in order to improve the content of the Websites for you or to inform you about products or services that we think will be of interest to you. From time to time, we may also ask you to participate in surveys or other communications conducted by us or third parties designed to help us improve the Websites or the products or services we provide.

Cookies: The Websites use “cookies” such purposes as enhancing your online experience by making it easier for you to navigate through the Websites and making certain features work better. Cookies are text files which are commonly deposited by websites on a user's hard drive when the user visits a website. The file identifies a user's computer and can record the user's preferences and other data about the user's website visit. We do not extract information about individual users during this process. Your web browser may enable you to disable cookies, but please note that certain services may not function correctly without it and your experience on our Websites may be hindered.

Third Party Cookies: We may use third-party advertising companies to serve ads on our behalf across the Internet. These companies may collect and use information about your visits to this and other websites and your interaction with our products and services in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. However, no personally identifiable information (such as your name, address, email address or telephone number) will be connected with such information. They may use information about your visits to this and other websites to target advertisements for goods and services and may be used to keep track of user response to each advertisement. These targeted advertisements may appear on our Websites or on other sites that you visit. The anonymous information is collected through the use of a pixel tag or cookies, which are industry standard technologies used by most major websites. If you do not want such companies to collect this information you may opt-out.

To learn more about the use of this information or choose not to have this information used by certain third-party advertising partners, please visit the Network Advertising Initiative at Please note that if you delete your cookies, use a different browser, or buy a new computer, you will need to renew your opt-out choice.

Web Beacons: The Websites may contain electronic images (called a "single-pixel GIF" or a "web beacon") that allow a website to track the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. No personally identifiable information will be transmitted via web beacons.

Telephone Recording and Monitoring: To ensure Solent Towbars customers receive quality service, Solent Towbars selects phone calls for recording and/or monitoring. These calls, between Solent Towbars customers (or potential customers) and employees, are evaluated by Solent Towbars representatives. This is to guarantee that prompt, consistent assistance and accurate information is delivered in a professional manner. In contacting Solent Towbars creating an account with Solent Towbars, or by otherwise utilising any Solent Towbars products or services, you hereby consent to any such call recording and/or monitoring.

How Personal Information Is Used
Our Use: We receive and store any personal information you enter on our Websites or give to us voluntarily in any other way and may use it to contact you from time to time. We take steps designed to ensure that only the employees who need access to your personal information to fulfil their employment duties will have access to it. By registering on a Website and providing your telephone number, you agree that this action constitutes a purchase, enquiry and/or application for purposes of telemarketing laws. Regardless of the fact that your telephone and/or cell number may be listed with the TPS, you are providing your express written consent to receive future information (including telemarketing) about products and services from us and/or our affiliates, and you hereby agree and consent to our contacting you using the information you have provided and will provide to us. This means we may contact you by e-mail, phone and/or cell number (including use of automated dialling equipment and/or pre-recorded calls), text (SMS) message, social networks or any other means of communication that your wireless or other telecommunications device may be capable of receiving (i.e. video, etc.). We may also send you information or offers from time to time to the postal address or email address we have on file (as further outlined in this Privacy Policy). You further acknowledge that you are not required to agree directly or indirectly or enter into an agreement regarding our telemarketing efforts as a condition of purchasing any goods or services from us or our affiliates.

Electronic Mail: From time to time, Solent Towbars may use your personal information to contact you by electronic mail concerning our services. These communications are often intended to inform you of important information regarding your account, or about general services provided by Solent Towbars and/or its affiliates. If you do not want to receive email from us or our affiliates regarding new services, please click the "unsubscribe" link which is included at the bottom of any email you receive from us. However, in order to fulfil our service obligations to you, we will continue to send you emails regarding your account administration, as well as any necessary information, such as renewal notices and instructions. By providing us with your email address you consent to receiving communications from us electronically and all notices, disclosures and other communications that we provide to you electronically satisfy any legal requirement that such communications be in writing.

Service Related Uses: We may use your personal information to contact you about the goods or services you have purchased from us, or for other purposes in which you have expressed an interest, for example, if you have contacted customer service or made an enquiry. We will also provide you with service and account related announcements. For instance, if the delivery of a service or product is delayed we might send you an email, or other message, or if there is some service issue with something you might have ordered. Generally, you may not opt-out of these communications, which are not promotional in nature. If you do not wish to receive them, you have the option to cancel your services with us.

Protection of Solent Towbars and Others: We may release account and other personal information when we are required to do so by law, court order, subpoena or other government or law enforcement authority or regulatory agency, including ICANN, in order to enforce or apply our Services Agreement or other agreements, or when we believe in good faith that disclosing this information is necessary or advisable, including for example, to protect the rights, property, or safety of Solent Towbars, our users, or others. This includes exchanging information with other companies and organisations for fraud protection, credit risk reduction or other similar purposes. Sites Other Than Solent Towbars, Solent Towbars has no control over and is not responsible for the privacy policies or information gathering practices of other websites, including those to which we may link and those which may link to us. We strongly recommend that you review the privacy policies of every online service you use before submitting any personal information and direct any concerns to the site administrator of that website.

How Long We Keep Your Personal Data.
We keep information only for as long as we need it to provide you services, manage our business or as required by law or contract. Where you have a contract with us, we will retain your data for the length of the contract, and will further retain that information for a time period consistent with our legal or regulatory responsibilities, after you terminate all your services with us to resolve disputes, enforce our relevant Service Agreement, and to adhere to the technical and legal requirements and constraints related to the security, integrity and operation of the Sites. If you have any questions about how long we will keep your specific data, please contact us.

How We Keep Your Personal Data Safe.
We work to protect the security of your financial information during transmission by using Secure Sockets Layer ("SSL") software, which encrypts the information you input on the Site. However, no method of transmission over the Internet or method of electronic storage is completely secure and we cannot guarantee its absolute security. You can further help to ensure your security by taking a few simple precautions. For instance, it is important to protect against unauthorised access to your computer, and to be sure to sign off when you are finished using a shared computer.

Limitation Of Liability.
Solent Towbars assumes no responsibility or liability with regard to any theft, loss, alteration or misuse of personal or other information lawfully provided by Solent Towbars to third parties, or with regard to the failure of any third party to abide by this privacy policy or such third party.

Contacting Us.
If you have questions or concerns regarding this Privacy Policy, you can contact us by writing to us at or by mail at Hammond Industrial Estate, Stubbington Lane, Fareham, Hampshire, PO14 2NF

If you have any further enquiries about any aspect of towbar installation, safety, or manufacturing, please don’t hesitate to contact Solent Towbars, the number 1 fitting service in Hampshire.