TYPE APPROVALall bars supplied or fitted by Norfolk Towbars have
European type approval unless otherwise stated
European type approval 94/20/EC In the U.K, with effect from 1st August 1998
all Passenger Carrying Vehicles up to 3500kgs Gross Vehicle Weight (M1 Vehicles)
cn only be fitted with European Type Approved towbars if the vehicle has received
European Whole Vehicle Type Approval. Non M1 vehicles,
light commercial vehicles and private imports from outside the EEC do not need
Approved Towbars; however, most car and some Light Commercial Vehicles such
as vans commonly use the Type Approved Towbar. Accessories
Most towbar manufacturers have allowed, in the towbar test and approval
application, for the inclusion of various accessories, often by including a
spacer in the towbar kit, which is removed when the accessory is fitted.
This information should be clearly stated in the fitting instructions.
If there is any doubt, you should contact the towbar manufacturer. This would apply
to all accessories that move the towbar rearwards from the towbar.
Design, Testing and Certification
The towbar manufacturer requires the following vehicle data to design a towbar:
1. Manufacturer's specified fixing points.
2. Gross vehicle weight or mass (GVW or GVM)
3. Gross Trailer Weight or Mass (GTW or GTM) thatthe model of vehicle
This information is included in the Vehicle's Handbook. From this data the towbar
manufacturer constructs a test load, called D Value, which will be used to test the towbar.
As well as providing the test load, the towbar manufacturer is obliged to include
a D value in kn on the towbar identification plate.
Towing Capacity, existing general guidance recommends that the laden weight of the caravan does not exceed 85% of the unladen weight of the car. In the majorityof cases, ( 4x4 vehicles can differ)
caravans and small trailers towed by cars should be within the new category B
threshold.An exemption from the driver licensing trailer limit allows a
category B licence holder to tow a broken down vehicle from a position where it wouldotherwise cause danger or obstruction to other road users.By passing a
category B test national categories F (tractor), K (pedestrian controlled vehicle)
and P (moped) continue to be added automatically.
Category B+E: Vehicles up to 3.5 tonne
CommercialVehicles/DG_10013073?cidss MAM towing trailers over 750kgs MAM Category B+E allows vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes MAM to be combined with trailers in excess of 750kgs MAM. In order to gain this entitlement new category B licence holders have to pass a further practical test for category B+E. There is no category B+E theory test. For driver licensing purposes there are no vehicle/trailer weight ratio limits for category B+E.
further information may be obtained at this government site which also has links to licence requirements etc
1. How can I find out the towing capacity of my car?
A car that has EC Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) will have a Vehicle Identification Number plate (VIN plate) bearing the vehicle manufacturer's name, chassis number and an approval number including the letter "e" in a small rectangle. This plate is usually located under the car's bonnet, but it can sometimes be located in other positions, for example near the driver's door.
The plate will look something like this:
VIN No (This is sometimes called the chassis number and it is unique to that specific vehicle)
XXXX KG (The maximum vehicle weight, e.g. the total weight, it does not include any trailer weight)
XXXX KG (The maximum train weight, vehicle plus trailer)
- XXXX KG (maximum load front axle)
- XXXX KG (maximum load rear axle)
So if for example you have a car with a maximum weight of 2180 kg and a train weight of 3980 kg the maximum towing capacity will be 3980 kg minus 2180 kg which gives a towing capacity of 1800kg
This information may also be found in the vehicle handbook, or from a vehicle specification sheet supplied by the manufacturer.
2. I have a type approved car, but no train weight is shown on the VIN plate, may I still tow with it?
If the manufacturer has not authorised the towing of a trailer by declaration during the type approval process, no train weight will be shown and it is not permitted to fit a coupling device or tow a trailer.
For example the Ford KA has no declared train weight, and no mounting points for a tow bar. There are a number of other vehicles which do not have a declared train weight and are not able to tow a trailer.
Information on towing Capacity together with a list of individual cars towing capacity and much more is available at
Information on which car can tow which caravan and load limits are available at (remember to click the union jack to obtain uk not eu figures)
Basically two types fixed and removable. Normally these can only be fitted to the two bolt flange type towbars
There are manydifferent makes and types from :-
1/ ones that clamp around the ball which are suitable for swan neck and detachable bars as well as flange types BUT you can not tow at the same time as carrying cycles
2/ Carriers that mount between the towball and the towbar (flange type bars only)
and are easilydetached when not in use they can carrier up to 4 cycles
3/ Cycle carrier systems that carrier the bikes on a special platform. These are usually considerably more expensive that the other types and you can not tow whilst they are attached. But they do protect your bikes more carefully
Witter cycle carrier carries up to 4 cycles alternative designs
for use with rear mounted spare wheels , 4x4 etc
ball mounted cycle carrier can be used with detachable and
swan neck bars as well as flange, but no towing when fitted !!
Thule cycle rack, the luxury option, not cheap but
protects cycles , but no towing whilst fitted !!
Call Norfolk Towbars anytime on 01692 670824 or 07774781291
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