There seems to be a lot of controversy over the use of drop plates…
So, are drop plates legal?
The answer depends on the age of your vehicle and also if your tow bar has been designed for use with a drop plate.
If your vehicle was made after the 1st of August 1998 then you must have a TYPE APPROVED tow bar fitted. Prior to 1998, there was no type approval law, and any adaptation of the tow bar, for example, fitting a drop plate was completely legal.
If your vehicle was made after 1998 then the law requires that you can only use a type approved tow bar for towing.
Now here’s the bit…
If your tow bar has a standard flange tow ball fixing of two bolt holes then it will NOT be approved to use a drop plate. If it’s a commercial tow bar then it will have 4 holes where a tow ball can be attached. If the tow ball height is above 420mm on the lower holes then you can fit a type approved drop plate to lower the ball height. (The type approval needs to be visible on the drop plate)
You shouldn’t need a drop plate unless you have adapted your vehicle in some way, or it is a commercial vehicle that has been fitted with a type-approved commercial tow bar.
Don’t get caught towing illegally. Remember… If before 1998 then you’re OK to fit a drop plate. If after that date then you must use a type approved tow bar and only fit a type approved drop plate if the manufacturer has approved the use of a drop plate with that particular tow bar.
Fitting a drop plate to a standard flange tow bar is illegal and extremely dangerous.
Stay safe and stay legal.