How to Wire a Car Tow Bar

Written by joe faulkner-edwards
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How to Wire a Car Tow Bar
Tow trucks have an easier time hooking onto older cars than the new ones being manufactured today. (towing truck image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from Fotolia.com)

Wiring a tow bar to older cars is more often than not a simple task, requiring a female-end harness to be attached to a male-end harness on the trailer. Unfortunately, with newer vehicles there is a little more to it. There are two kinds of wiring kits, featuring a 12N or a 12S connector. They are almost identical but 12N connectors are used for towing trailers and most vehicles, whereas 12S connectors are used for motor homes and caravans, taking the auxiliary systems into account. Both operate 7-pin sockets with different colour-coded wires for each.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Tow bar wiring kit

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Connect the yellow wire to pin number 1. For 12N systems, this operates the left blinker (indicator). For 12S systems, this operates the reversing lights.

  2. 2

    Connect the blue wire to pin number 2. For 12N systems, this operates the fog lights. For 12S systems, this powers the battery.

  3. 3

    Connect the white wire to pin number 3. For both systems, the white wire is the earth.

  4. 4

    Connect the green wire to pin number 4. For 12N systems, this operates the right blinker (indicator). For 12S systems, this is the power feed.

  5. 5

    Connect the brown wire to pin number 5. For 12N systems, this operates the right sidelights. For 12S systems, this operates any sensor systems and the rear lights.

  6. 6

    Connect the red wire to pin number 6. For 12N systems, this operates the right break-lights. For 12S systems, this powers the fridge in the motor home or caravan.

  7. 7

    Connect the black wire to pin number 7. For 12N systems, this operates the left sidelights. For 12S systems, this acts as an earth for pin 6.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure your wiring is functioning correctly. It is illegal to tow a vehicle or trailer without the electrics functioning.

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