A lot of vehicles do not come out of the factory with a trailer hitch coupler because either the customer who ordered the car did not think to ask for one or the person who owned the vehicle before them did not feel the need to have one.
This guide provides an overview of the technology and requirements for operating trailers, which is helpful if you are considering retrofitting your vehicle with a trailer hitch but are unsure what to look out for.
Specifications that must be met to install a trailer hitch
A trailer hitch can be handy in many situations. However, technology has also made significant strides in this field in recent years.
In recent years, there has been a quantum leap in the advancement of the onboard electrical system, and the legal requirements for operating a motor vehicle while towing a trailer have also become significantly more stringent.
As a consequence of this, we would like to discuss the following issues: concerning the integration of electronic play into an older trailer coupling:
1. A valid driver’s license that allows the holder to transport a trailer while using public transportation
2. The several distinct categories of trailer hitches
3. The ever-increasing demands placed on the games’ technical components
4. The do-it-yourself assembly of an electronic coupler for a trailer coupling
1. A valid driver’s license that allows for the transportation of trailers
You were allowed to carry a combination consisting of a towing vehicle and a trailer with a total weight of up to 3.5 tons if you held a Class C driver’s license issued before 1999.
After January 1, 1999, it was legal to drive cars that weighed up to a maximum of 3.5 tons and pull unbraked trailers that weighed up to 750 kg.
After that date, drivers of trailers with a maximum total permitted weight of 3.5 tons were required to have a driving license of class BE.
Since 2013, there has also been the B 96, which allows you to drive a trailer with a maximum total permissible weight of 4.25 tons.
This license has been available. Examine your driver’s license and give some thought to the kinds of trailers you intend to or are required to haul before you go out and purchase a trailer coupling and have it installed on your vehicle.
You are required to take an additional driving exam if one is needed to obtain the appropriate driver’s license.
There are also trailers for bicycles that can be hitched up to a vehicle using a special hitch. In this state, nothing about the driver’s license will change.
2. The several distinct categories of trailer hitches
The maximum weight the trailer can support while it is attached to the drawbar of the trailer hitch is an important consideration when it comes to trailer couplings.
The maximum weight that can be legally carried by trailer or motor vehicle is the same in both cases.
In most instances, the vehicle registration document will already contain information regarding the utmost weight legally allowed to be carried by automobile.
However, only in the majority of cases because this is only the case if the manufacturer himself has equipped the car with a trailer coupling and has included the data in the vehicle documents for this reason.
I am setting the vehicle and trailer coupling loads.
There are, without a doubt, some notable exceptions: specific high-end models, sports cars, and hybrid automobiles (which combine electric motors and internal combustion engines).
If the load is already included in the vehicle documents, you must differentiate between two hitches marked with or without the CE symbol.
You will only need to carry the paperwork for the tow hitch with you if it is CE marked, which is indicated by the following: It is recommended that the documents be stored in the glove compartment.
In the case of trailer couplings and vehicles that do not have a registered load, a technical inspection (conducted by TÜV, Dekra, or one of their equivalents) is required to be performed.
The inspector may also stipulate additional requirements, such as obligating the installation of reinforced springs on the rear axle of the vehicle being towed.
In order to accomplish this, he examines the assembly and measures the distance that extends from the coupling hitch all the way down to the ground.
This needs to be somewhere between 350 and 420 millimeters. In addition, when loading the vehicle that will be doing the towing, the drawbar load is something that needs to be taken into consideration.
When calculating the maximum possible payload, the drawbar load is deducted from the total.
Couplings explicitly designed for bicycle trailers
In the meantime, there is a distinction between the trailer couplings that are available due to another feature.
To give just one illustration, there are trailer couplings that are no longer developed for use in towing services. It is more likely that they are used to transport bicycles than anything else.
Therefore, in order to obtain a registration for bicycle trailer coupling, your vehicle must have a trailer coupling that does not bear the CE marking in order for you to be eligible for the registration.
Additionally, manufacturers provide specific low-cost options. Hitchesexplicitly designed for the task of pulling bicycles behind them.
3. Detailed models of various types of tow couplings
According to the technical specifications, the following two couplings can be differentiated from one another:
– Hookups for rigid tow vehicles
– Hitches for trailers that can be detached
– Hitches for trailers that swivel on their axles
– Rigid two hitches
Fixed trailer couplings are the least expensive option and are typically capable of supporting the most weight.
At first glance, the differences between inexpensive rigid couplings and more expensive ones designed for the same vehicle are not always obvious.
The variations in their prices are, on the one hand, attributable to the high standard of the steel alloys that were utilized. But most importantly, also to the corrosion protection that is already in place.
Even in this regard, the manufacturers have an opportunity to differentiate themselves positively.
However, depending on the design, there may be a portion of the trailer coupling that is still visible under the bumper. Detachable couplings can be fitted in either vertical or horizontal orientation.
Typically, the vertically detachable couplings are located behind the bumper in a concealed location.
Each and every other component is inserted into and attached to the square profile that can be seen underneath the bumper.
A piece of advice regarding detachable towbars is as follows: It’s not always the case that people want the towbar removed.
There is also no requirement under the law to have it removed if it is no longer required, with a few notable exceptions.
On the other hand, from a legal standpoint, this is a murky area because the relevant courts have reached no definitive decisions as of yet.
In point of fact, hitching a trailer to a vehicle raises the probability of being involved in an accident and, as a result, the amount of damage sustained.
When the trailer hitch is attached to the vehicle, the amount of damage that can be caused in the event of a collision with a car that is moving in reverse or backward can be significantly increased.
Trailer hitches that can rotate 360 degrees
To lower the trailer, one need only swivel the swivel hitch downward. This is a method that has become prevalent in more recent times. Despite this, it could never be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The elevated technical standards for electronic starter kits
The cable set that you require is determined by the vehicle that you will be using it with. To begin, it is important to differentiate between vehicles that have electronic systems that have been digitized and older models that have conventional electrical systems.
The latter is equipped with a CAN bus system, which is used to transmit electrical data.
This is a streamlined version of a cable that consists of just two wires but controls all functions.
There are a lot of differences between these CAN bus systems, and those differences can be traced back to the manufacturer or model of the vehicle.
The electrical system required for towing services is typically already installed on vehicles that are equipped with CAN buses.
After the device and cables have been connected, it may be necessary, depending on the type of vehicle, to activate the control unit.
Only a service center that is authorized by the relevant automobile manufacturer will be able to perform this task.
When the trailer is being used, it is possible that it will be necessary to incorporate, for instance, a control system that deactivates the parking assistant.
When operating a trailer with a vehicle that has what is referred to as a “simple” electrical system, on the other hand, it is typically necessary to retrofit the turn signal relay and dashboard control light with the electronic set. These parts are suitable for incorporation into the electronic package.
Selecting the Appropriate Plug: Seven or Thirteen Sockets
In addition, you are able to place an order for several electronic sets that are identical to one another and have either a 7 or 13-socket plug.
More connections are especially vital for specific trailers, such as caravans, which are becoming increasingly popular.
These can have wiring for lighting, as well as positive permanent current and charging current (for example, if batteries are installed that need to be set). In addition, these can have a positive permanent currents.
A 7-socket plug should only be used for extremely basic trailers that do not include any additional functions other than lighting.
On the other hand, given that the requirements might shift at any time and that the price difference might not be all that significant, our standard recommendation is that you go with an electronic kit that has a 13-socket plug.
You can easily connect the vehicle’s 13-socket plug to the trailer’s 7-socket plug with the assistance of an adapter that you can carry with you. The connection will work in either direction, depending on the circumstance.
4. Attach the towbar to the vehicle’s frame
Installing the electrical system
In particular, with regard to the wiring harness, it may be in your best interest to get in touch with a specialized repair shop.
Incorrect connections can result in significant and expensive technical damage, and this is especially true with the CAN bus.
If not, in the vast majority of instances, simple 7-pin sockets are simply connected to the electrical system of the rear lights (which includes the blinkers, brakes, tail light, and rear fog light, as well as the reverse light, if applicable).
In most cases, the installation kit is comprised of comprehensive installation instructions in addition to a detailed circuit diagram.
Installation of the towbar
The installation instructions are included with every high-quality towbar coupling that you purchase.
However, setting it up is not difficult.
It is recommended that you use a jacking platform or pit. In the event that jacks are utilized, the vehicle is required to be fastened using the appropriate brackets.
The assembly process is now straightforward.
The hitches used to connect trailers to vehicles are custom-made for each individual vehicle. The attachment points have been positioned, so the car already contains the holes corresponding to them.
Either in the reinforcements of the subfloor or the subframe.
– Either one.
Attaching the trailer couplings is as easy as pushing them onto the frame and screwing them on when it comes to off-road vehicles and SUVs with ladder frames.
– The holes are typically already drilled in all other types of vehicles because it is possible to order them from the manufacturer equipped with a trailer coupling.