When it comes to towing, having the right tow bar electrics is crucial for safety, functionality, and convenience. Tow bar electrics ensure that your trailer, caravan, or bike rack operates smoothly with your vehicle’s electrical system. In this ultimate guide, Ultimate Towbars provides an in-depth look at tow bar electrics, their types, installation, and maintenance.

What Are Tow Bar Electrics?

Tow bar electrics refer to the electrical connections between your vehicle and the trailer or caravan it is towing. These connections control the lighting, indicators, and sometimes additional features like battery charging or fridge powering in caravans.

Types of Tow Bar Electrics

There are primarily three types of tow bar electrics:

  1. Single 7-Pin Electrics (12N)
    • Purpose: This is the most basic form, primarily used for trailers and bike racks.
    • Functions: Controls the trailer’s indicators, brake lights, and tail lights.
    • Suitability: Ideal for trailers without additional electrical needs.
  2. Twin 7-Pin Electrics (12N and 12S)
    • Purpose: Suitable for caravans that require additional power.
    • Functions: The 12N plug controls the lights, while the 12S plug powers the fridge, interior lights, and charges the caravan’s battery.
    • Suitability: Ideal for older caravans that need a separate power source for additional equipment.
  3. 13-Pin Electrics
    • Purpose: A modern, all-in-one solution.
    • Functions: Combines the functions of both 12N and 12S in one connector. It provides power for lights, indicators, and additional equipment like fridges and batteries.
    • Suitability: Standard for new caravans and trailers due to its comprehensive capabilities.

Types of Tow Bar Wiring

Universal wiring and vehicle specific.

Universal tow bar wiring is now outdated and not recommended for use on modern vehicles. Unreliable and bypasses any towing safety electrics that your vehicle has. Fitting Universal electrics for your tow bar will invalidate any dealer warranty on your vehicle.

Vehicle Specific Wiring. Also known as dedicated wiring, this type of tow bar wiring is designed specifically for your vehicle. With vehicle-specific wiring, in most cases, any towing safety features that the vehicle has will be activated when towing. This type of wiring uses a dedicated wiring loom. Making the vehicle-specific wiring safer and more reliable than Universal electrics. Fitting vehicle-specific wiring will not invalidate your vehicle dealership warranty.

Installation of Tow Bar Electrics

Due to the complexity of modern vehicle electrics, we do not recommend fitting tow bar wiring yourself.

Maintenance of Tow Bar Electrics

Regular maintenance of your tow bar electrics is essential to ensure longevity and reliability. Here are some tips:

  • Regular Inspections: Check for any signs of wear, corrosion, or damage to the wiring and connectors.
  • Clean Connectors: Keep the connectors clean and free of dirt and moisture to prevent electrical faults.
  • Check for Secure Connections: Ensure that all connections remain tight and secure over time.
  • Update When Necessary: As technology evolves, consider updating your tow bar electrics to newer standards, such as moving from a twin 7-pin to a 13-pin system if required.


Properly installed and maintained tow bar electrics are vital for safe and efficient towing. Whether you are towing a simple trailer or a fully-equipped caravan, choosing the right type of electrics and ensuring their proper installation can make your towing experience smoother and more reliable. For any assistance or professional installation, Ultimate Towbars is here to help with expert advice and quality services.

Feel free to contact Ultimate Towbars for more information or to schedule an installation appointment. Safe towing!