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Frequently asked towbar questions

1. What may happen if I don’t fit a Type Approved towbar?
A Type Approved towbar has been manufactured to a known technical and quality standard. If a vehicle was first registered on or after 1st August 1998 and you don’t fit a Type Approved towbar you could be prosecuted for an Infringement of Construction and Use Regulations or your insurers may decline to pay out in the event of an accident claim.

2. How can I find out if my new vehicle is EC Type Approved for towing?
Find the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) plate, it is usually located under the bonnet. The VIN plate should have four figures stamped into the lower edge denoting its carrying capacity:
XXXX kg (maximum vehicle weight)
XXXX kg (maximum train weight, i.e., vehicle plus trailer)
XXXX kg (maximum front axle load)
XXXX kg (maximum rear axle load)
If no train weight is specified then the vehicle manufacturer did not declare that it was suitable for towing. The vehicle therefore is not EC Type Approved for towing and cannot legally do so. If a train weight is specified, then the:
towing weight = train weight – maximum vehicle weight.

3. How can I tell if a towbar is EC Type Approved?
An EC Type Approved towbar will have a label, data plate or stamping showing an E Number, for example:
E11*0030*00 E11 is the UK EC Approval Number
0030 is the Approval Number
00 is the EC Document Revision Number.

4. My vehicle dealer says that my warranty will be invalidated unless I fit the manufacturer’s towbar?
Under Block Exemption Rules a vehicle manufacturer cannot prevent a retailer from supplying or fitting components such as a Type Approved towbar deemed to be of equal quality to that supplied by the vehicle manufacturer.

5. Can I fit a ‘drop plate’ to an EC Type Approved towbar?
You can only fit a ‘drop plate’ to a towbar if the towbar has been tested for EC Type Approval using a ‘drop plate’.

6. Can I fit a cycle carrier or stabiliser plate between the face plate of an EC Type Approved towbar and the towball?
You can only fit a cycle carrier or stabiliser plate to a towbar if the towbar has been tested for EC Type Approval using a spacer. Tow-Trust and Witter towbars are tested and EC Type Approved for a 25mm spacer between the towbar and the towball.

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