Frequently asked questions
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Technical - Tow bars, Towballs and stabilisers
Detachables are ideal if you want to keep that aesthetically pleasing outline of a new car. Other advantages are no bruised shins or interference with reversing sensors when solo and they also fit Al-Ko stabiliser hitches without the need for a special towball. But, they are more expensive than fixed tow ball systems.
If you have a traditional lever arm stabiliser, it is unlikely that you will be able to use it with a detachable towball. Similarly, if you have other equipment such as a bike rack that bolts on the tow bracket behind the towball, this will no longer be suitable for a detachable towball, although alternative equipment is available which will be suitable.
Most detachables are now of the push-fit automatic locking system type such as Witter’s Quantum and Brink’s BrinkMatic ranges. So, although you need to fit it each time you want to, these towballs are generally quick and easy to secure in place. Some towbars have a horizontal connection to the receptor on the tow bracket and others have a vertical connection, which reduces even further the evidence of a towball being fitted to the car. Do visit your local towbar fitter and ask to see several samples or visit:
All towbar systems need to be checked periodically for the sake of safety. In particular, the push-fit automatic towballs have springs and other moving parts, which can deteriorate if neglected. It is best to remove them from the car when driving solo and be sure to fit the sealing cap to the receptor. If any movement is noted in such towballs when fitted, ask your towbar fitter to check it out.
This is not an unusual occurrence in hitch-type stabilisers, it is an indication that contamination has built up on the pads. This could be due to spray from the road, paint or coating not removed from the towball, rust particles, fumes from a diesel exhaust or grease on the towball.
For this type of hitch, always ensure that your towball is cleaned before hitching up. For further advice on stabilisers and towball problems see: http://www.al-ko.co.uk/
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