Towbar

Opt for quality with a Brink towbar

A quality towbar is vital when you want to safely transport your possessions and passengers by car. An incorrectly fitted towbar and wiring kit can cause a trailer to sway and triggers error codes – your trailer or bike carrier may even come loose from the car. For over 100 years, Brink has been a top player in developing, manufacturing and testing towbars and highly values quality, user-friendliness and safety. Brink offers a wide variety of towbars and wiring kits to provide a quality and safe solution for virtually all car makes.

Different types of towbars

Brink offers a wide range of towbars, allowing you to choose one that suits you. If you use a towbar often, then a fixed towbar would probably be the best choice. If you want to preserve the aesthetic look of your car, then you should opt for a retractable or detachable towbar. This allows the towbar to be concealed when not in use.

Detachable towbar

A large number of towbars sold nowadays are of the detachable type. The beam assembly is similar to that of a conventional towbar, however, the towball on the front of the crossbeam is replaced with a fitting for attaching the detachable towbar. This allows a detachable towbar to be easily attached. A detachable towbar is only attached when required.

Fixed towbar

A fixed towbar is a type of towbar that is permanently fixed to your car. This type of towbar is offered for most cars. This type of towbar is a good choice if you plan on using the towbar frequently.

Retractable towbar

The retractable towbar is pure luxury. With one movement you can use, but also store the towbar. This towbar is as safe and strong as a fixed towbar. The retractable towbar is not available for each type of car. Please enter your vehicle registration plate above to see which towbars are available for your car.

Hybrid towbar

An increasing number of people are opting for small and environmentally friendly cars. These cars are economical and more environmentally friendly than other cars. The disadvantage of these cars is that they are hardly capable of towing. A fact that the majority of people who purchase such a car are fully aware of. But what if you are keen cyclist and regularly like to take your bicycles with you on a bicycle carrier? You are actually carrying very little weight, but you do not have a towbar on which to mount a bicycle carrier.

Monitor your towball pressure

Towball pressure is the amount of pressure exerted by the trailer or caravan on the towbar. This must never be too high or too low. Achieving the correct towball pressure is vital before you take to the road. If you have too much weight in the back of the trailer or caravan then the rear of your car will lift. This will affect the handling of your car.

A caravan or trailer should not be overloaded at the front. This will exert too much pressure on the towbar and the rear of your car will be pushed down. This is not only bad for your car, but also for your comfort.. When the rear of the car is pushed down, the front of the car can be lifted from the road surface.

Try to distribute loads evenly to reduce the pressure on the towbar. Depending on your caravan, the recommended towbar pressure is from 50 to 70 kilogrammes. The maximum vertical load can be found in your vehicle documents. The maximum load stated in the vehicle documents should be adhered to. This has been determined by the car manufacturer. Contact your caravan dealer for further information. Caravan dealers also sell towball pressure meters to help caravan owners monitor their towball pressure.

The towball pressure exerted by bicycles mounted on the rear of the car will be close to the maximum recommended by the car manufacturer. A carrier with two bicycles is generally no problem, but carriers for four bicycles should only be used on much larger cars. So always check that your towbar bicycle carrier does not exceed the recommended towball pressure. The maximum permitted towball pressure is located on the towbar type plate.

Pression sur la boule d'attelage

Driving economically with a trailer or caravan

You can save a tremendous amount of fuel by following a few simple tips. These tips are also useful for camper van drivers. A caravan or trailer obviously increases wind resistance drastically. However, this may vary somewhat. A well streamlined caravan obviously saves more fuel in comparison to a less streamlined model. A low, narrow caravan and/or a caravan with a rounded front will always have a better fuel economy.

Gears

The purchaser of a caravan is usually persuaded by its size and interior. In spite of this, it is still possible to drive a caravan combination economically, even though driving in fifth gear is not always possible. However, driving in the highest possible gear is always to be recommended. There are two rules of thumb for selecting the correct gear for a caravan combination. If the accelerator needs to be fully depressed to maintain any progress, then it is advisable to select a lower gear. If the case of a strong head wind or gradient, it is advisable to maintain the most efficient engine RPM – i.e. the RPM that provides the best pulling power. The towing car is then at its most powerful and can maintain its speed.

Speed

Fuel consumption in practice: two things are certain. Firstly, fuel consumption will always be higher with a caravan behind the car than without. Secondly: the higher the speed, the higher the fuel consumption. In France, for example, it is permitted for caravan combinations to drive at speeds of 130 kilometres per hour, but that obviously results in increased fuel consumption. In spite of that, an economical driving style remains important, because it can save up to 10% in fuel.

Tips for driving economically:

  • Select a higher gear as soon as possible.
  • Drive at a uniform speed at a low RPM in the highest gear possible
  • Look as far ahead as possible and anticipate traffic conditions
  • Should you need to slow down or stop, release the accelerator and allow the car to slow down or stop in gear
  • Turn off the engine during brief stops. Restart the engine without depressing the accelerator
  • Check tyre pressures regularly
  • Where possible, utilise onboard equipment (rev counter, cruise control and onboard computer)

Advance checks are important

Most car drivers need to tow a trailer or caravan behind their car at sometime. When the occasion arises, many people break immediately into a cold sweat. However, this can be prevented with the correct preparation. A number of simple checks can make towing a trailer safe and trouble-free. Advance checks are extremely important before taking to the road.

advance checks are important

Controleer voor het wegrijden altijd:

  • The tyres
  • The coupling
  • The towbar
  • The handbrake
  • The restraining cable
  • The wing mirrors
  • The lighting

Tyres

The tyres are the only contact between the trailer and the road. Check the trailer tyres thoroughly for any perishing before setting off. The natural ageing process can cause the tyre rubber to become hard and brittle. Hard rubber can cause the tyre to quickly become overheated. Warm air expands and can provide the final ingredient for a puncture. A puncture can also be caused by insufficient tyre pressure. So always check the tyre pressures. The ideal tyre pressure is between 3 and 3.5 atmosphere. If the tyre pressure is lower, then the trailer will “behave erratically” behind the car. The tyre pressure has not only an enormous influence on the roadholding of the trailer. If tyres are too soft, this can seriously increase friction with the road and consequently the fuel consumption of the towing vehicle. Furthermore, increased road friction results in the tyres becoming overheated with a greater chance of punctures.

Coupling

To ensure a safe journey, any kind of trailer being towed should be firmly attached to the car. The most important connection is the trailer coupling head which is attached to the towbar. Inspect the coupling head of the trailer for excessive wear. Wear of the coupling head caused by friction with the towbar may be inevitable, because this involves steel against steel. Regular lubrication is therefore advisable.

Towball

The towball is also prone to wear, which is why the towball is measured during a MOT inspection. If the towball had a diameter of 50 mm when purchased, the diameter must be at least 49 mm to pass the MOT inspection. If excessive wear has resulted in the towball becoming too small – or the coupling head becoming too generous – then this can eventually result in too much play in the coupling head: the coupling head moves about on the towball. Depending on the degree of wear, the trailer could become detached during towing. It is also important to ensure that detachable or retractable towbars are firmly locked in place. The majority of detachable and retractable towbars have a red/green safety indicator.

Restraining cable

Technical defects to the coupling head or sudden violent manoeuvres while driving can cause a trailer to become detached from the towing vehicle. To limit the possible consequences, trailers without a braking system (up to 750 kg total weight) should be attached to the towbar by means of a steel restraining cable. This cable attaches the trailer coupling head to the towbar, ensuring that the trailer always remains attached to the car. The cable is secured to an additional fixing eye on the towbar. Check this cable regularly and ensure that it is properly attached. As an additional safety measure, trailers with a braking system (mandatory with a total weight in excess of 750 kilos) are attached to the towing vehicle with a special breakaway cable. If the trailer becomes detached from the towbar, the breakaway cable applies the trailer (hand) brake immediately. The cable then snaps, allowing the trailer to come to a halt. This cable should also be firmly attached to the fixing eye on the towbar. When purchasing a used vehicle, check that the towbar is equipped with a fixing eye. Ensure that the cable is securely attached and that the trailer braking system is working correctly. Apply the handbrake and push firmly against the uncoupled trailer; if the trailer remains stationary, then the braking system is working correctly.

Wing mirrors

If you intend to tow a luggage or tent trailer behind your car and the field of vision is sufficient, then a right-hand wing mirror would not be mandatory. However, it would be advisable.

Luggage or tent trailer

If you intend to tow a luggage or tent trailer behind your car and the field of vision is sufficient, then a right-hand wing mirror would not be mandatory. However, it would be advisable.

Lighting

Seeing is important, but being seen is just as important. Ensure that your fellow road users are not hindered by bright headlights. The weight of a trailer can cause the front of almost any car to be raised, resulting in your headlights dazzling oncoming motorists. Adjust your headlights accordingly. Some cars make this adjustment automatically. If this does not apply to your car, then you should adjust your headlights manually. Finally, check that the hazard warning lights, the reversing lights, the rear fog lights and the brake lights of the caravan or trailer are working correctly. The car-trailer combination is now ready to travel.

Maintaining stability on the road

It is many a caravanner’s nightmare: the car is towing the caravan and the caravan begins to veer more and more from side to side, until steering the car becomes almost impossible. But a solution is at hand – simply fitting a stabiliser to the hitch of the caravan or trailer will make the towing vehicle and caravan more stable, as the stabiliser will absorb the vibrations.

If the caravan has been loaded correctly, is fitted with the correct suspension and has good tyres, the likelihood of such problems on the road are extremely remote. Not only will a vehicle towing a caravan fitted with a stabiliser drive more comfortably, but it will be much safer to drive, as the stabiliser all but eliminates any risk of veering. Nowadays, vehicle manufacturers are also playing their part when it comes to ensuring the stability of the vehicle and trailer combination. Increasing numbers of new cars are being supplied with a system that intervenes if a trailer causes a car to veer off course: the car decelerates automatically and the brakes are applied. Loading a caravan.

How the stabiliser works:

The coupling of a caravan or trailer that is fitted with a stabiliser is fitted with a special coupling head. This coupling head is fitted with high-friction pads that clamp firmly around the towball. These high-friction pads provide a high degree of additional friction, which significantly reduces any swaying action created by the coupling. This not only reduces the risk of veering from left to right, but it also limits any up and down movement. Almost all modern caravans can be supplied with a stabiliser, and many models are fitted with a stabiliser as standard. If you are considering purchasing a stabiliser, it is important to check whether it is suitable for the towbar on your car. On certain towbars, the space between the towball and the bumper is not sufficient for a stabiliser. During the development of their towbars, Brink towbars make allowances for the use of stabilisers by ensuring that the distance between the towball and the bumper is sufficient. Generally speaking, a stabiliser costs a few hundred euros and is easy to fit. It is just as easy to use as a conventional caravan or trailer coupling head. However, remember never to apply grease to the towball, as this would prevent the stabiliser from working correctly.

“Several modern cars are now equipped with TSP, or Trailer Stability Program. This ensures that stability on the road is maintained by slowing the car down if the caravan or trailer starts to veer.”

The loading of a caravan or trailer can greatly affect the road handling of the combination. Furthermore, a heavily laden caravan or trailer may cause additional problems for the towing vehicle, such as with its roadholding. The following tips will help you to load your vehicles correctly and ensure a safe journey.

Towing capacity

Before you attach a trailer to the car, it is vital that you are aware of the towing capacity of your vehicle. This can be found in your vehicle logbook, or for vehicles manufactured before 1999, on a separately added sheet. Are you considering buying a new car and you wish to know its towing capacity? The towing capacity can usually be found in the technical specifications of the relevant vehicle. However, it is reassuring to know that Brink Towbars are capable of towing the maximum permitted weight: Brink subjects all of its production towbars to rigorous testing, including the heavy-duty versions. What is the maximum acceptable load for my car?

Towball pressure

The towball pressure – the weight of the coupling head on the towbar – must remain within a certain margin. This varies per car, but is usually between 45 and 75 kg. The maximum permitted towball pressure can be found on the type plate of the towbar. If the towball pressure is too high, the rear of the car will be excessively low. This will cause the car to ground more easily and the front tyres to have less grip. This will result in poor roadholding which will affect both the car and the trailer. The combination may also become less stable if the towball pressure is not sufficient. A hanging measurement of the towball pressure can be determined using a calibrated balance spring. However, it is much easier to use bathroom scales. Insert one end of a wooden batten in the coupling head and place the other end of the batten on the bathroom scales. Then using the batten and scales check the weight under the jockey wheel. You can now be confident that the towball pressure is correct.

Tips for loading a caravan summarised:

  • Check the maximum towing capacity of the car.
  • Check the maximum towball pressure of the towbar (see type plate).
  • Weigh luggage before loading.
  • Distribute the weight correctly.

loading a caravan

The picture below displays a caravan that is wronly loaded.

loading a caravan

When a caravan is loaded with all of your holiday requirements, it can easily achieve the maximum load capacity of the caravan. The caravan accessories alone can account for quite a few kilos. The canopy or a awning, the groundsheet, the steps; they all add up to additional weight and can sometimes account for up to 100 kg. So always consider the total weight of your luggage. Record in advance the weight of each piece of luggage and keep a list with your caravan documents. This can save you a great deal of time when you arrange your next holiday.

Weight distribution

Apart from the load capacity, weight distribution is important for the stability of any towing combination. If the rear of the car is excessively low after attaching a trailer, then remove any heavy articles from the boot. Do not attempt to “raise” the towbar by placing heavier articles at the rear of the trailer. This can seriously affect stability. The correct towball height when carrying a loaded trailer should be 35 cm when measured from the road surface to the centre of the towball.

General rules for caravan loading

  • Do not place heavy objects in the wall cabinets.
  • Place heavy objects in the bed settees and as close to the wheel axle as possible.
  • Any bicycles in the caravan should be firmly secured.
  • Do not travel with a water tank filled to the brim.

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