Which bar type?
There are basically 3 options
1 Standard Flange type
with two bolts holding the towball on this makes it easy to fit extras such as cycle carriers, bumper protectors and stabilizers. Many newer caravans use ALKO inbuilt stabilizers (large red handles on hitch) in which case you will need an Alko type ball which is taller and deeper than a standard ball to cope with alko's larger hitch head (black image on left)
2 Swan neck with just a, normally, round tube protruding from the back of the car with the towball part on the top. The electrics are normally mounted under the bumper. Prettier than the flange but it is not so easy to get to the electrics or to fit extras or in some cases not possible at all.
3 Detachable similar in shape to the swan neck and again with the electrics mounted either out of sight or under the bumper they can with the twist of a knob be removed so no bar is visible when not required
Considerably more expensive but aesthetically more pleasing. They also help to avoid obscuring your cars number plate but invariably mean getting down yourself to clip them into place and remove them
What electrics do I need ?
1 Single 7pin electrics This is the standard socket that repeats your cars lights on the trailer ( ie left and right indicators, side lights, brake lights and fog light) This socket is known as your 12N or black socket
2 Twin electrics This involves the fitting of a second socket which powers the fridge in a caravan and charges the battery in the caravan as you drive along. It also provides a constant 12volt supply for your caravans interior lights and a supply to your caravans reversing lights. It is fitted via a relay to ensure that the fridge or caravan battery do not drain your cars battery. The relay only lets power through to the caravan when the cars battery is fully charged. This socket is known as 12S or grey socket
It should be pointed out that twin electrics are by no means essential.A fridge on 12volts basically ticks over and if you are plugging in to the mains when you reach your destination your caravans battery will be charged when connected to the mains.
3 13 Pin electrics This is a new system to the uk combining both the 12n and 12s sockets together and has been used on new caravans since 2009. You can buy converting plugs and leads to convert your 13 pin back to the two 7 pins if you tow trailers or use lightboards that use the common 7 pin plugs
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