Towbar EC Type Approval

European Union Flag - Towbar EC Approval RegulationsEC 94/20 type approval regulations were introduced in the United Kingdom on 1st August 1998 as a part of the wider European Whole Vehicle Type Approval. In a nutshell, the regulations mean that for passenger cars registered on or after this date, if fitted with a towbar, the towbar must be designed and manufactured to EC94/20 standards.

An EC Approved towbar will carry a plate or other durable label bearing the EC approval number plus other information including the S-Value (maximum tested noseweight) and the D-Value (the test load as calculated by EC94/20 requirements - note the D-Value is not the same as the towing capacity). The main requirements of an EC Approved towing bracket are that it is fitted to all of the towbar mounting points specified by the vehicle manufacturer, that it has undergone a rigorous testing procedure overseen by the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA), and that production towbars are subject to Conformity of Production (CoP) to ensure that production towbars are manufactured to the same standards as required by the initial test towbar.

If your car* is registered on or after 1st August 1998 and you fit a towbar, it MUST by law be approved to EC94/20 and installed correctly according to the manufacturers' instructions. It is an offence under the vehicle Construction & Use Regulations to fit, use or permit to be used, a non-approved towbar on the vehicle

* The regulations apply to Passenger carrying vehicles up to 3500kg Gross Vehicle Weight. Light commercial vehicles are not covered by this requirement, so for instance a Ford Transit van is not required to have a Type Approved towbar even if registered after August 1998.


When was my car registered?

Vehicles with an 'S' registration letter and later are subject to the type approval regulations. If your car is 'S' - registered or newer then the towbar must be type approved.


Do I need to have the towbar professionally fitted?

The towbar must be installed correctly under the EC94/20 regulations as an incorrectly installed towbar is dangerous and illegal. However there is no requirement for the towbar to be installed professionally, there is no qualification required under the regulations. Provided the towbar is installed in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, it is perfectly permissible to fit your own towbar to your car.

You may however decide that it is prudent to have your towbar professionally fitted and Towsure offer this service either at one of our fitting centres or conveniently, a professional mobile towbar fitting service at your home or workplace, fully backed and guaranteed by Towsure


Will the towbar invalidate my vehicle warranty?

No.  Provided that the towbar is installed correctly, the vehicle manufacturer or dealer cannot refuse to honour a warranty on the basis of the towbar not being the vehicle manufacturers' own part. The EC94/20 regulations mean that an approved towbar meets the standards laid down my the vehicle manufacturer.  EC Block Exemption laws mean that there can be no prevention of installing a towbar deemed by the EC Approval to be of equal quality to the Manufacturers Original Equipment towbar.

When fitting towing electrics however, if your vehicle is still covered by the manufacturer's warrant it is advised to fit e vehicle-specific wiring kit which integrates with the vehicle systems, rather than a universal aftermarket kit that is soldered or connected with "scotchlok" type self-insulating connectors to the wiring loom. Whilst an integrated kit may sound like a case of a simple plug-in towbar wiring kit, for many vehicles the degree of complexity of installation including removal of dashboard panels mean that integrated wiring kits are not generally suited to the DIY installer, and our nationwide fitting service is recommended