Frequently Asked Questions

An answer on the most frequently asked questions about our services and products.

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Questions about Towbars

The prices for towbars can vary strongly. The price depends on the brand, the type and availability. GDW offers you towbars at a competitive price as well as premium towbars. In most cases, on older vehicles and light commercial vehicles, a standard fixed towbar is often chosen. For more exclusive vehicles, where esthetics and also often parking sensors play a role, it’s common to install a detachable towbar.

In most cases it is possible to install a towbar on a vehicle. However, there are some exceptions, in particular electrical and hybrid vehicles that are not approved for the use of a towbar. Moreover, it’s likely that some environmental friendly cars are not suited to mount a towbar. To be completely sure that your car can have a towbar, we recommend to check the COC (certificate of conformity) of your vehicle. As customer it is important to check this in advance or to contact your dealer.

As for the towing weight:

If the towing weight is equal to 0kg, then it means that the vehicle is not suited for a towbar.

If for example the towing weight is 675 kg, then it is possible to install a towbar.

In some cases it might be possible to install a fixed towbar in combination with parking sensors, while in other cases this might be problematic. It depends on many factors, such as if the parking sensors were installed originally by the car manufacturer, and also where the parking sensors are located. If you want to be really sure, it might be wise to choose for a removable towbar.

This depends from country to country.

For Belgium:

  • Every new towbar that is installed has to pass inspection as soon as possible after installation, even if the vehicle is younger than 4 years old. Afterwards the towbar will be checked every year during the regular inspection.


More details:

No, that won’t be the case!

The European 94/20/EC directive is established to guarantee free competition

If you install a towbar that comply with the European type approval, it won’t affect your warranty.

Because of the increasing complexity of the electronics in modern cars, it’s not an easy task anymore to install a towbar and its corresponding wiring kit.

Special equipment is often required, for the mechanical aspect of the installation as well as for the removal of the car’s interior.

For connection of the wiring kits a special module is needed, and even the smallest mistake during this process might cause damage to the vehicle’s operating system, failures, and damage to modules, what could easily cost hundreds of euros.

Incorrect installation of the towbar can lead to serious problems, such as:

  • Serious accidents (as a result of the mechanical part of the towbar that loosened)
  • Failures to the vehicle’s operating system
  • Short circuit and fire

GDW disposes of both the required equipment and the expertise to finish the installation of the towbar successfully. We also can always inform you about the nearest dealer in your area that you could contact for professional installation of the towbar.

In reality, from a technical point of view, it is possible, since the hook is fixed with nuts and bolts. However, we would strongly advise against it. During installation of the towbar the nuts are tightened with a specific force (in kilonewtons) to guarantee the safety. If you remove the hook yourself, there is always a risk of this not being done correctly. Vibrations while driving the car might cause the bolts and nuts to loosen, with all the associated consequences.

Some cars have their license plate (or fog light) located so low that a potential towing hook could cover the license plate, making the license plate badly visible. In this case you can only participate in traffic if a trailer, caravan or bike carrier with their own license plate is connected to the towbar. If nothing is connected, you have to remove the hook to ensure a good visibility of the license plate. A towbar with fixed hook is allowed as long as the hook is demounted when nothing is connected.

Installation of a removable towbar is of course more practical, since removing and refitting the hook in case of a fixed towbar requires more work. Moreover, the hook has to be tightened using a torque wrench.

In short, a fixed hook is allowed in case of a vehicle with a very low license plate, but a removable towbar is often easier.

Most towbars are specifically designed for a specific car brand and model. Even if it’s in some cases possible that a towbar fits different models, in reality this rarely happens.

There are two important reasons as to why this is rarely done:

  • Demounting the current towbar involves almost the same labour costs as the installation of a new towbar.
  • During installation of the towbar the metal bumper beam is often removed. That is the reason why a bumper beam is missing when removing the towbar, which complicates the installation of the towbar on another vehicle.

It is very important to respect the maximum pressure on the ball of the towbar. This pressure (vertical force) is mentioned on the type plate of the towbar, is included in the type approval and legally can’t be exceeded. Most of the time you can find the type plate of the towbar next to the plug connection. If that isn’t the case you can always contact your car dealer.

At this moment the pressure on the ball of the towbar is the only legal reference with regard to the maximum authorised weight of the towbar when using a bike carrier. Although on a European level further regulations are being established, the maximum pressure on the ball so far needs to be respected. The car manufacturer and GDW have determined this maximum pressure on the ball and the maximum towing weight based on different elements, such as fixation of the towbar to the car, the chassis of the car, engin capacity, suspension and driving characteristics of the car. Therefore it’s essential to check whether your car is suited for the use of a bike carrier, especially when you have a smaller car with a pressure on the ball limited to 50kg. This is important, because the weight of the bikes, together with the weight of the bike carrier itself, has to be added up to determine the maximum charge on the ball.

Questions about Bike Carriers

The towbars used in Europe are on some points standardised. This means that every manufacturer of towbars has to meet certain legal requirements. The ball of the towbar for example has a diameter of 49,61 – 50mm, and the neck of the towbar has a diameter of 27-29mm. These standard dimensions allow the producers of bike carriers to offer universal bike carriers. In 98% of the cases the bike carrier will fit on the towbar.

However, there are some exceptions. There are special “towbars for bike carriers” in circulation that can exclusively be used in combination with a bike carrier (see next point regarding BCO-frames). Towing a trailer or caravan is not allowed with these towbars, because they are not considered as standard towbars. Since drivers of hybrid cars like to use bike carriers and this however is authorised, solutions have been invented, that may vary by brand.

No, this frame is not suited to tow a trailer or caravan (no towing weight). A BCO is so designed that the frame has a pin on top or on the side of the ball, and this pin can’t be removed. This obstacle is intended to make any coupling impossible.

No. Before bying a BCO-frame please indicate which bike carrier you have, so we can check which pin configuration applies. The position of the pin (on top or on the side of the ball) depends on the type and brand of your bike carrier.

The GDW bike carrier MODEL Y fits both pin configurations.

In order to know how much weight you can put on the frame (bike carrier + bikes), you need to consult the car documents. If there’s no maximum load indicated, then 65kg needs to be used as maximum weight.

If you want to load or unload much luggage when the bike carrier is mounted, then it’s important that you have an easy access to the trunk. In this case a tiltable bike carrier might be a practical solution, since you can fold it (including the bikes), and in this way access to the trunk is easy.

The bike carrier GDW MODEL Y has this option. Watch for more detailed information the following video:

GDW bicycle rack MODEL Y (

However, there’s not always a guarantee, that a tiltable bike carrier will provide enough space to open the trunk or the tailgate.

There are different reasons as to why a bike carrier can hang crooked behind the car, and this might have to do with the way the bike carrier is loaded, the towbar on the car, or the bike carrier itself.

Loading of the bike carrier:

If the bike carrier isn’t well balanced during loading, the bike carrier can lean to one side. This can occur with electrical bikes where the motor is located in the front or back wheel. Also a heavy loaded bike carrier can cause the bike carrier to lean backwards.

The towbar on the car:

Most towbars are installed by the dealers, but sometimes it’s possible that they didn’t level it perfectly. This is normally not a problem if the towbar is used to tow a trailer, but if a bike carrier is installed it might look uneven. Most bike carriers are positioned on the ball of the towbar, so if the towbar has a default, it will immediately be visible in the position of the bike carrier.

In order to determine if the towbar on the car has a default, it is a good idea to try the bike carrier on other cars. If the bike carrier on other cars is straight, then it’s very likely the towbar on your car has a default. Contact your dealer to check the towbar and to adapt it.

Note: Because of the lever effect of a loaded bike carrier, the hook of the towbar can also bend slightly. The heavier the loaded bike carrier and the longer the hook of the towbar, the bigger the chance on a slight bend.

If the bike carrier even unloaded continues to hang crooked behind the car, it is recommended to contact your dealer or the manufacturer of the bike carrier in order to check and to change it.

Other Questions

For fixed, vertical and horizontal removable towbars there are 2 wiring kits commonly used: 7-pin and 13-pin. Which one you need depends on the purpose for which you want to use the towbar.

7-pin: suited for small trailers and bike carriers. This wiring kit includes vehicle lighting, brake lights, and turn signals for both left and right, as well as fog lights.

13-pin: is used for lighting, trailers, bike carriers and similar applications. The 13-pin wiring kit offers the same functionality as the 7-pin wiring kit, but also adds the reversing lights to the list.

13-pin for caravans: this version includes not only lighting, brake lights, turn signals (both left and right), fog lights and reversing lights, but also fixed power supply and switched power supply, for example for a fridge in the caravan.

Yes, you can always:

Connect a 7-pin socket to a 13-pin plug using a convert adaptor.

Connect a 13-pin socket to a 7-pin plug using a convert adaptor.

Pay attention: When you connect a 7-pin plug to a 13-pin socket with the help of an adaptor, the reversing lights and the fixed power supply won’t be available.

Of course! For every purchase you will receive immediately the paid invoice. This invoice serves as proof of payment and also as proof of guarantee.