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Q & A. Your Questions Answered...

94/20/EC applies to all new light passenger vehicles (NOT commercial vehicles) which have an European Whole Vehicle Type Approval (EWVTA) Certificate of Conformity and are first registered in the UK on or after the 1st August 1998.

A legal requirement to comply with 94/20/EC in the UK has been introduced through an amendment to the Road Vehicles (Construction & Use) Regulations 1986

Q "I rarely tow anything. Do I need a Type Approved towbar ?"
A YES. If your vehicle should have a type approved towber by law then even if you are not using the towbar for towing purposes it must still conform to 94/20 EC regulations to remain legal.
Q "Does the EC directive apply to all types of towbar ?"
A YES, if the vehicle was registered on or after August 1st 1998 the towbar must be type approved unless the towbar is to be fitted to the following :
Van or any other similiar goods vehicles
Chassis cabs and tippers
Pick-up trucks (inc double cabs which have 4 doors, 4/5 seats)
Motorhomes or motor caravan conversions
Any vehicle classed as a motorcycle
Vehicles not for use on public roads
In some cases personally imported vehicles can be exempt from EC94/20 depending on where in the world they were imported from. For more information regarding these types of vehicle's in the UK, check with DVLA, Swansea.

"May I fit the towbar, or must I use an authorised installer ?"

A Anyone can fit the towbar, as long as it is installed correctly,but it would be advisable to use a specialist installer.

"Does towing invalidate the warranty on my vehicle ?"

A In your vehicle handbook, you will find the towing limits specified by the manufacturer. If you have a correctly installed Type Approved towbar, and you remain within the specified limits, you will not invalidate the warranty.

"I must fit a towbar recommended by the manufacturer, or invalidate warranty. Is this true ?"

A NO. One of the purposes of the directive was to create free trade, and any attempt to impose otherwise would be regarded as restrictive practice and therefore illegal. If you fit a Type Approved towbar it will not invalidate vehicle warranty.

"I have a Ford Ka, but canít find a tow bar listed. Can I have one made ?"

A NO. When your vehicle was type approved, the manufacturer did not declare it as being suitable for towing; it therefore has no specified towing capacity, and no specified mounting points.

"How can I tell if a towbar is Type Approved ?"

A It will have a data plate, label or stamping showing an ĎEí number, e.g. E1100-0914. In this case it has been type approved in the UK (E11), and the approval number is 0914, which relates to the Land Rover Freelander 1997 onwards.

"I bought a used car, registered March 1, 1999. The towbar fitted is not Type Approved. What should I do ?"

A Contact the dealer immediately, and ask for the towbar to be removed and replaced with one that is Type Approved. If you donít get a satisfactory response, you should advise your local Trading Standards Office.

"I have an European registered vehicle with a non Type Approved towbar fitted after 01/08/1998, is this legal ?"

A MAYBE. EC regulations are often introduced on different dates in different countries, but it is the country in which the vehicle is first registered that defines when the regulations become effective, and this date will then apply throughout the EU.

"Where can I go to find all about towing and trailer law ?"

A The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) produce an easy to follow guide called Towing and the Law. This can be readily obtained from their offices at, Forbes House, Halkin Street, London SW1X 7DS. Tel. 0171-235-7000.

"Are there any regulations governing the use of a towbar ?"


YES. There is an EC directive (94/20/EC), which applies to passenger vehicles, i.e. it does not apply to commercial vehicles, registered on, or after, August 1, 1998.


"Why has European Type Approval been introduced for towbars ?"

A It is part of a European Whole Vehicle Type Approval to provide a common standard across the EU. Irrespective of where a Type Approved towbar has been made, it will have been manufactured to known specifications and quality standards.


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