28/06/2016
Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Caravan basics: The tow bar hitch

35f38d5e-e96d-47fb-a7bf-151b2612799e

A caravan's tow hitch is what attaches the tow ball of your car to the caravan, creating a secure, articulated connection for safe towing.

But there's more to the front end of a caravan exterior than just an A-frame and connection.

Technology helps to prevent a caravan snaking from side to side while on the road, clever bits of kit put the brakes on automatically as and when needed, and electrical accessories keep everything going on the road for your own and other road users' safety (and to keep the milk chilly in the fridge, of course).
 

-- Click here for the latest caravan reviews --



Take a look below for an introduction to all things caravan hitch-related...


Drawbar

The drawbar compresses and extends when braking or accelerating. To ensure that the caravan’s brakes are not turned on when pitching (to prevent them seizing), it’s always advised to pull forward and extend the drawbar before unhitching your caravan and applying the handbrake.


Hitch-head stabiliser

Most caravans these days (apart from some lightweights, where they’re not needed) come with hitch-head stabilisers. These reduce the likelihood of instability while towing and are made by AL-KO (or by Winterhoff on chassis made by BPW.

Often, the stabiliser includes stability control systems that also activate caravan brakes alternately, to reduce snaking should it occur. These are known as ATC (active trailer control) for AL-KO and BPW’s iDC (intelligent drive control).


Handbrake

Applies the car handbrake equivalent for when you’ve pitched your caravan.


Breakaway cable

This is possibly the most important bit of your tourer when it comes to safety. Should your hitch become, well, unhitched, the breakaway cable is the last bit of equipment to stop your caravan rolling away. Brilliantly, should the breakaway cable be pulled, it’ll apply the brakes on your caravan.
 

Tourer, trailer, RV... Whatever you call your caravan, join our community and club today


Jockey wheel

The third (on single-axles) or fifth (on twin-axles) wheel on a caravan, this allows you to raise or lower the hitch head for levelling and hitching up.


Jockey wheel clamp

This prevents the jockey wheel from dragging along the road while towing.


Electrics

The caravan’s road lights (and more) when towing – brakes, indicators, reversing, etc – are connected to your car via a 13-pin plug that fits into a socket next to the towbar. Older tourers have a seven-pin system. Click here for our caravan towing electrics guide.

 

 

Or simply tell us what you think!
 
          

 

Back to "General" Category

28/06/2016 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Enjoy world cuisine no matter where you’re pitched up ...


10 top attractions in the Malverns

Extend and enhance your stay at the Western Motorhome & Campervan Show with these unmissable attractions ...


Caravan cookery Summer 2022 in association with Campingaz

Ditch the usual barbecue fare and try something more unusual ...


All you need to know about towbars & towballs

Flange, detachable, swan neck, retractable – towbar technology choice is bewildering. Don’t worry. We’ll ...


Other Articles

Get the grill on and gather the tribe for a meal together ...


Caravan cookery in June in association with Campingaz

Try a new dish this month with these exciting recipes ...


Smart caravans: the E-Trailer system

Even if you have an older caravan, the E-Trailer app, a new system with a range of useful functions, will ...


Caravan awnings - a buyers' guide

So you want to enhance your living space with an awning – great idea. Here we tell you everything you need to ...