When you are towing you will be required to display your rear number plate and a lighting board on the rear of the object being towed. In order to achieve this we use the signals from the vehicle to control the lighting board.
The way in which we wire into your vehicle will vary firstly on the make/model/year & secondly your preference. The four options can be broken down:
Standard Hard Wire - Budget option for all vehicles without canbus or multiplex wiring.
Canbus bypass relay – Compulsory for vehicles with canbus or multiplex wiring (nearly all manufacturers post 2004)
Smart Integrated (not bypass) – Highly recommended for vehicles with full Canbus
DEDICATED manufacturers approved wiring – Most professional option for vehicles with or without canbus or multiplex wiring. But always more expensive.
Did you know most SMART and DEDICATED wiring options require your vehicles ECU to be programmed/coded to accept the additional trailer module we install as part of your towing package – Automotive Control are able to program this for you saving you a trip to the local dealership!
1) Standard Hard Wire:
Using modern towing sockets with ‘thin wall’ (high current) cabling we connect to your car in the traditional way. We do not use or recommend scotch locks as a permanent method for wiring into vehicle electrics. We will install an audible buzzer giving off an audible warning whilst indicating left/right when towing.
2) Canbus Bypass Relay:
Most vehicles manufactured within the last few years use very sophisticated multiplex or canbus wiring systems.
This type of electrical system can be very complex, the circuits can not be modified because the cable voltages/resistances are monitored constantly by the cars ECU. In order for additional electrics to be added onto your vehicle (eg: towbar electrics) we are forced to use a full Canbus Smart/Bypass relay.
This relay system will ensure no additional load is applied to the car, therefore not causing any damage or malfunction to the vehicles on-board electronic computer (ECU) or bulb failure warning system.
This option will not allow any interactive features like rear PDC cut-off or trailer stability (TSP) that can be found on many modern cars. Please check your handbook for terminology such as: T-ESP, TSP, DSC, VSC.
Common vehicles supporting Canbus/Multiplex wiring systems:
Most VAG from 2003, most GM vehicles from 2003, Citroen 2006 on, BMW 2000 on, Mercedes 2002 on, Saab 2004 on, Volvo 2004 on
3) SMART Integrated wiring:
Launched in 2010 the Smart is a universal relay system. SmartCAN communicates to your vehicles ECU via the Can (Computer Area Network) wiring.
This essentially gives the same level of integration as the DEDICATED option detailed below at a fraction of the price due to the SmartCAN being a universal relay without manufactures specific cabling and connections.
Highly recommended for vehicles with Full CanBUS that are not under manufacturers warranty. Only suitable for vehicles equipped with full CanBUS. Coding of the SmartCAN to your vehicles ECU is likely, if so Automotive Control can complete this for you.
4) Dedicated Manufacturers approved electrical kits:
Specifically designed for your vehicle make, model & engine type.
Dedicated electrical kits work in harmony with modern sensitive and complex wiring systems.
Each dedicated vehicle electrical kit will differ, some kits can change the way the vehicle functions whilst towing. They can also range in price from £50 to £250 upwards…and sometimes require the vehicles ECU to be programmed (even if a new car). Automotive Control can program for you.
Dedicated tow bar wiring kits can aid installation of towing electrics. However they are not ‘plug n play’ and still require connections into the vehicles wiring loom or connections to the vehicle CanBus network system.
This type of wiring can often be more time consuming than the installation of standard towbar wiring.
Key Advantages: (vehicle dependent)
- Manufacturer specifically designed and approved
- Monitoring of trailer bulbs
- Dashboard warning and towing symbols
- Any towing specific towing program the car has will be enabled
- Hill start assist
- Crash anticipation
- Parking sensor cut-out whilst towing (stops constant beeping when hitched & reversing)
- Rear fog cut-out on car only whilst towing (stops reflection from caravan)
- Trailer Stability Program (TSP) enabled
- Suspension adjustments
- Braking adjustments
- Traction Control adjustments
- Aligns with manufacturers warranty & guidelines for installation of additional towbar wiring.
The Towing Buzzer:
It is advisable to have a bulb monitoring system when towing, our installations will be fitted with a piezo buzzer, this will primarily detect when a trailer is hitched-up to your vehicle, confirmation of this will be a beep/buzz from the buzzer every time the vehicle indicates left, right or when using hazards.
The buzzer also reminds the driver that they are still towing, the piezo buzzer (installed in the boot) will sound every time the vehicle’s indicators are used when a trailer, caravan etc are being towed. No noise will be emitted once you have disconnected the towing socket.