How to Wire a Towbar

Written by bob white
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How to Wire a Towbar
Wiring a towbar provides power to the tow vehicle's lights. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

A towbar is a towing device that is used for pulling a vehicle. It is popular amongst RV enthusiasts because it affords quick attachment to the tow vehicle once the towing brackets are installed. All vehicles being towed must have trailer lights for legal travel on public roads. The towbar wiring is similar to a 7-pole trailer harness except that there are a few differences where the wires connect. Wiring a towbar is a process of trial and error in locating the correct vehicle wires.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 12N towbar harness
  • 12-volt test light
  • Screwdriver
  • Scotch lock connectors
  • Electrical tape
  • Cable ties

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  1. 1

    Open the rear hatch or tailgate of the vehicle. Locate and remove the screws that fasten the taillights to their sockets. Pull the lights out and disconnect the vehicle electrical harness.

  2. 2

    Turn the vehicle's ignition to the "power on" position. Activate the left turn signal with the driver's controls.

  3. 3

    Fasten the alligator clip on the 12-volt test light to any bare metal near the left turn signal. A bolt head is a good grounding point.

  4. 4

    Probe the bare metal connections inside the electrical harness with the test light until it flashes. This indicates that you have found the supply wire for the left turn signal. Repeat this process to find the power wires for the rear fog lights, right signal, left marker light, right marker light, and brake lights.

  5. 5

    Connect the yellow wire on the 12N towbar harness to the power wire for the left turn signal with a scotch lock connector. These work by placing one wire in each groove and closing the gate.

  6. 6

    Connect the blue wire to the rear fog light power wire, the green wire to the right turn signal, the brown wire to the right marker light, the red wire to the brake lights, the black wire to the left marker light, and the white wire to any black wire on the vehicle's harness.

  7. 7

    Wrap each of the connections in electrical tape to protect them from moisture. Secure the loose wires with cable ties.

Tips and warnings

  • Testing the tow vehicle's lights prior to every trip is a good habit that assures a safe trip.

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