We’ve been having a lot of phone calls lately requesting Plug and Play tow bar wiring kits. So, I thought we should give you the information needed regarding plug-and-play tow bar wiring.
Plug-and-Play means that a device can be added to a computer system with minimal user intervention or knowledge. The operating system will automatically recognise that additional hardware has been added to its system and activate it. When you plug a USB memory stick into your laptop your laptop’s operating system automatically loads the drivers and activates the device ready for use.
Although vehicle computer systems do have programs that can be activated, this is normally done by updating the vehicle’s software.
True plug-and-play devices are not available as aftermarket products for the majority of vehicles.
The whole plug-and-play tow bar wiring is a myth that appears to have come from several websites and online forums where people have been incorrectly advising others that they can have a plug-and-play wiring kit for their vehicle that simply plugs in and works.
Let us start by saying there is no such thing as a plug-and-play tow bar wiring kit.
There are dedicated wiring kits that plug into the vehicle’s prepared socket, but these are rare. Certain Land Rover models have a prepared connector where the wiring kit does plug into, and models such as the Evoke will recognise the connection and work. (The Range Rover Evoke is truly the exception to the rule though, as the majority of vehicles do not allow you to simply plug in the wiring kit.)
Dedicated tow bar wiring connects to the vehicle’s electrical connections, sometimes these are pre-wired connections that the wiring plugs into, but in many cases the fitting of the wiring is complex. Many of the dedicated wiring kits require accessing the CanBus wiring and the vehicle’s fuse box, often the vehicle’s dash has to be partially removed to get to the fuse box. (Not an easy task on the best of days.)
One vehicle in particular where people do get confused is the Ford Transit Custom with a towing prep connector under the nearside rear…
The dedicated wiring kit for the Ford Transit Custom requires attaching under the front passenger step and then connecting from the rear tow plug. On post-2019, Transits the wiring also needs to be connected up by de-pinning and re-pining a connector block under the front nearside, this then allows you to connect to the rear tow plug. Once the wiring kit is correctly fitted you will then need to get the vehicle software updated to activate the vehicle’s towing features and the bulb failure ( C2, a legal requirement.) As you can imagine, this is a long way from what one would describe as plug-and-play.
Of particular exclusion from what could be called Plug and Play are the vehicles that require a software update to activate the vehicle’s features, and in some cases to activate the actual wiring kit. All Audi, Citroen, Cupra, Ford, Mercedes, Peugeot, Porsche, Seat, Skoda vehicles require a software update after dedicated tow bar wiring has been fitted. (This can be completed by your local dealership or tow bar fitting company.)
If you require any further information or would like information on ordering a dedicated wiring kit then please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to assist.
For more information about dedicated towbar wiring please visit the ConWysAg website at https://conwys.ch/en/