Can I fit a towbar myself? Well, when we first started fitting towbars 34 years ago, it was a case of drilling through the rear floor pan and the chassis rails and bolting it on, sometimes the holes would not line up so you had to enlarge holes etc to make it fit.
All this was long before computer aided design technology came along.
Then there was the electrics, single or double socket? Not much changed there apart from the introduction of the 13 pin socket.
The wiring was taken through a drilled hole and then connected to the rear light circuits with Scotch-locks or similar (We soldered the connections from early on)
Job done, just about anybody with some mechanical knowledge and a little electrical know how could do it.
Towbar fitting today.
Towbars are specifically designed to fit the manufacturers mounting points and type approved, some vehicles are not even allowed to have a towbar fitted.
You can still buy and fit yourself of course, and now I will tell you how involved it is. Firstly, after having a look at the fitting instructions you will almost certainly need to remove the bumper, finding all the fixings for this is sometimes very difficult, they are well hidden and will need large parts of the interior trim removed to find them.
Now bumper off, be very careful not to damage or scratch that plastic bumper which is very easy to do.
Now bolt up the towbar ensuring the bolts are tightened to the correct torque.
Next the electrics, you cannot just run the cables into the rear and connect to the rear lights, all modern car electrics feature Canbus systems which mean the wiring going to the rear lights are only signal cables which cannot power your trailer lights etc. Instead power cables must be run straight to the fuse board normally located at the front of the vehicle and various relays are used to carry out the switching of the circuits.
So now it’s time to remove more trim and run cables to the front, not forgeting if you are towing a caravan you are going to need a hefty supply for the fridge and aux battery.
You also need to be very careful to make sure you are connecting to the correct cables, with vehicle leveling systems, bulb failure, electrical braking systems not to mention the cars brain the ECU if you get it wrong it could be expensive.
Then it’s time to replace that bumper and test everything, but the car display is throwing up errors, it needs coding before the car can tow? Not want you were expecting, so now a main dealer will have to do the coding for you on a coding machine. Hmmm.
Can I fit a towbar myself?
So to answer that question posed at the start, can I fit a towbar myself?
Yes, but it is not easy anymore and mistakes can be very costly, even some main dealers get companies like us to fit towbars for them because we use manufacturers approved equipment and our technicians are trained on how these systems operate.
We use all the major brands like Westfalia
The money spent by getting us to fit for you gives you the knowledge everything will work as it should and it will be safe. See our Towbar page.