Tow bar fitting faults and what you should do…

Lately, we have been receiving multiple daily calls from people asking us to rectify faults with their tow bars and associated wiring that has been fitted by other companies or independent tow bar fitters. the calls usually start with “can you help…”, or “will you have a look at my car?”

The call usually ends with us telling the caller they must get in touch with the person who fitted their tow bar to resolve the problems, apart from being the tow bar fitter’s responsibility.

Towbar Fitting Fault.

Firstly and most importantly DO NOT USE THE VEHICLE!
The tow bar attaches to the vehicle’s structural points; if it hasn’t been attached correctly, it may be dangerous to use the vehicle or even move it.

Badly fitted or incorrectly fitted tow bars are both highly dangerous and illegal. They must be fitted exactly to the manufacturer’s instructions. Unless the tow bar is fitted to the maker’s instruction then the towbar will lose its type approval, yes the type approval includes the fitting of the bar.

Tow Bar Type Approval

Type-approval is the legal requirement for tow bars that ensures tow bars are safe for use and comply with government regulations. The type approval includes everything from tow bar design, build, to fitting. Type-approved tow bars must have a type approval label that is visible on the tow bar. This label will have information relevant to the tow bar, including the type-approval number, the tow bar part code,. the maximum legal towing weight and the maximum legal nose weight. More can be found about type-approval at the following website

You may also find that fitting an unapproved tow bar will ruin your vehicle’s chance of passing an MOT test. See article >

Tow Bar Electrical Fault.

DO NOT USE THE VEHICLE if you have any on-dash faults or faults that affect your vehicle’s lighting. Modern vehicles have complex wiring that carries signals to activate your car’s features. This includes things like ABS braking, adaptive cruise control, anti-crash radars, engine management and vehicle stability control. A wiring fault that affects any of these safety features will render the vehicle dangerous and illegal to drive.

If you suspect your tow bar and wiring have a fault or possibly not fitted correctly, then you must contact the company or person that completed the installation. It is their legal responsibility to rectify the issue.

Finding another tow bar company to resolve the problems will be like looking for a needle in a haystack. They will probably not want to get involved in sorting out issues caused by another company. Also, it is very unlikely their insurance will cover them for fixing faults caused by a third party.

We recently had a call from someone who had taken their car into Ford because of dash warning lights showing faults. Ford refused to touch the vehicle because it hadn’t been fitted with approved tow bar wiring. The car owner contacted us to request help, unfortunately, this wasn’t possible due to the responsibility being with the original tow bar fitter.

As stated previously, you must get the company or person who fitted the tow bar to rectify any problem. If the fitter or company refuse to take calls or answer communications then you need to take the case up legally through a solicitor or through Trading Standards, found on your local Council’s website.

We cannot emphasise enough the importance of having your towbar fitted by an approved tow bar fitting company. (Tow bars and associated wiring are critical safety parts.) Having a tow bar installed at the lowest price possible is asking for trouble. Always get a fitting certificate that states the tow bar has been fitted correctly. Make sure you get a written guarantee that covers the fitting, the tow bar and the electrics (Not just the guarantee that is provided by the tow bar manufacturer.) and always make sure the tow bar company has a registered address and you have more than just a mobile number to contact them.

Keep safe and keep towing

Team Ultimate

Ultimate Towbars are an industry-approved tow bar supply and fitting company. We specialise in vehicle-specific tow bar electrics and only fit high-quality type-approved tow bars. Companies House and VAT registered along with being registered with the ICO for data protection. We supply our customers with a written guarantee and fitting certificates to ensure they have a reliable and safe towing experience.

To get a mobile tow bar fitting price complete the fitting quote form found here >