Before you think about towing your caravan, you need to have the right tow bar fitted and therefore the necessary electrics.
However, over recent years, this job has no doubt become more problematic due to the complexity of many a vehicle’s electrical system.
What was once perhaps considered a straightforward task which anybody with a good DIY track record could undertake, now it’s becoming increasingly harder to take on by yourself.
However, it is indeed a legal requirement that your indicators can clearly be seen when towing your caravan. Yet, despite this, many people continue to get this wrong and therefore place both themselves and others at considerable risk, not to mention become liable for substantial penalties as a result.
Therefore, we strongly recommend that you arm yourself with as much information beforehand, thus ensuring you are fully confident when taking on such a task.
This is not to say that it’s impossible to do the job correctly and safely. In fact, many caravanners attempt this task themselves and look to appropriate caravan websites and indeed YouTube channels to boost their knowledge as they do so.
All it requires is taking some time out beforehand to make yourself aware of the possible problems that can occur and ensuring you know how to respond to them.
Caravan Towing Electrics Problems
Before we offer a selection of the best items that are essential for your caravan electrics when towing, here are just a few problems that people tend to come across when dealing with this area of caravanning:
- Towing electrics just seem to stop – Suggesting incorrect wiring or fuses blowing.
- Missing connections in cars – Some socket kits in vehicles may have missing pins or connections needed for the fridge and charging circuits.
- Older car and older caravan wiring issues – In particular, 12S plugs with a fridge overheating centre pin.
- Problems inserting 13 pin plugs – When the locking rings are not lined up correctly, the plug will not go into the socket successfully.
- Caravans which have rear LED lights – This may be a case of consulting your caravan dealership. However, the LED lights here will constantly flicker or may not work correctly, or even at all in some cases.
- Smart ECU controlled alternators – Now becoming standard in new vehicles, intelligent technologies control the cars ECU and can mean charging circuits will automatically be shut down.
- Engine management software updates – If a vehicle automatically undergoes a software update, any additional programming can be wiped out. This can lead to things such as the parking sensors continuing to operate even when the caravan is connected.
Essential Towing Electrics for Caravans
If you’re ready to get started, here are some items we think you’ll find the most useful to help you with this project:
This is a conversion lead which works to make both vehicle and caravan electrics compatible for towing purposes.
Suitable for those N & S type electrics, it works via a 13 pin to a 7 pin conversion. Complete with this lead is a 200mm cable.
This is a helpful appliance which is not only easy to fit but prevents the need for expensive rewiring.
This is a 13-pin car socket from Crusader which is a 12N/12S towing plug adaptor. This allows you to convert those newer European type 13 pin sockets on your car and establish them as the more traditional and indeed convenient of twin 7 pin plugs.
All you need to do here is simply connect the Male 13 pin plug to the 13 Female pin plug on your tow vehicle. Then you can plug the two traditional 7 pin, that is the 12N 12S, plugs from your caravan and into the opposite end.
This comes complete with additional securing clips and 20cm of the necessary protected cable.
This is a short adapter which is a Reelva Caravan Towing Plug and a Socket Short Adaptor. It works by plugging a 13-pin socket into the car and an auxiliary 7 pin plug into the caravan.
This is a very compact and therefore more straightforward product to fit and after that remove. It also has no trailing cables to contend with.
This will work with those vehicles that have 13 pin euro sockets, fitting to caravans with those 12N and 12S sockets.
This is a fantastic final product which we don’t think you should be without when attempting to sort your caravan towing electrics.
Working to find and then indicate to you of any failure in your car or trailers wiring circuit, this is a seven-pin tester plus adapter that is easy to use.
Simple to assemble it works with just one 9V battery and is a 12V tester which can also be applied to 13 pin with the adapter.
Compatible with normal European standards this 7-pin trailer tester can be used freely in any car, caravan, and RV.
All you have to do is follow the connection instructions, press the button on the side of the tester, and watch to see whether all the LEDs will light up. This then indicates the wiring is all good to go.
If there are any problems at all here, you’ll find them instantly and be able to work to resolve issues before testing again.
Additional Areas to Check When Dealing with Caravan Towing Electrics
Hopefully, these items mentioned here will be of some help to you and enable you to get the job done the first time correctly!
However, as well as these helpful aids, we also recommend that you pay attention to all areas of your caravan and indeed car when you’re preparing to get ready to tow.
One of the most essential elements here is your caravan towing mirrors. We touched upon the importance of having at least two rear-view mirrors when towing your caravan and here you can use them as additional guides to ensure your electrics are working correctly as you travel.
Something else you may want to think about investing in here as well is number plate tape. Once again, we discussed the advantages of this in a previous article, ensuring that you always have the strongest of tape to display your essential number plates when towing.
One final item that isn’t used that much when towing is caravan mud flaps.