Towbar Electric Kits Explained

In the past fitting an electric kit to a vehicle involved simply connecting to the rear lights and that was all what was required.
Today, modern vehicles have complex wiring systems built with advanced safety features which are computer controlled. Therefore, fitting an electric kit is no longer a simple process.

Modern vehicles electric systems means fitting a towbar electric kit can be a very difficult process. It is essential to choose the right electrics to suit your towing needs, whether you are towing a caravan, trailer, cycle carrier or anything else. We recommend speaking with us, to confirm your requirements before making a purchase.

There are 2 main types of electric kits for vehicles, Universal or Dedicated (vehicle specific). Universal kits are available for all vehicles, where as Dedicated are vehicle specific. Fitting a dedicated kit protects the vehicles warranty, works with the vehicles built in safe features and more.

Rear of vehicle with towbar electrics plug
Universal Electric Kits

Universal towbar electric kits used to be the standard method for supplying power to trailers or caravans. This is the lower cost option than dedicated “vehicle specific” towbar electric kits. Although universal electric kits do compromise on some features as a result.

Universal kits will provide all of the lighting functions required to keep your vehicle legal while towing your trailer or caravan. However it does not provide the additional benefits of vehicle specific towbar wiring.

As an example with universal electrics, wiring your vehicles parking sensors and fog lights would not be disabled whilst you are towing as they would when using a dedicated “vehicle specific” system. Also this kit will not interact with built in stability programmes when towing like a dedicated system will.

Pros
  • Lower price
  • Audible warning for trailer indicators
  • Universal fitment
Cons
  • Trailer Stability Control not activated
  • Warranty not protected
  • Parking aids not disabled while towing
Dedicated Electric Kits

Dedicated Electric Kits, also known as 'dedicated wiring looms', ‘vehicle specific’ or 'plug in kits', are today becoming ever more popular for towbar electric installations. Putting it simple, dedicated kits are the way the job should be done.

Each dedicated kit is specifically designed for the vehicle, rather than soldering or using 'Scotch Locks' to connect the towbar wiring. Dedicated kits interface with the vehicle’s systems in the same way as the vehicle manufacturer intended. Due to the complexity of a dedicated wiring, it is obvious that this kit is more expensive than the alternative universal option.

Pros
  • Vehicle warranty protected
  • Built in safety features activated
  • Parking aids disabled while towing
Cons
  • Higher cost
  • Software update by dealer may be required