AUDI - Towbar electrics vehicle specific/dedicated
Here are some of the related towing systems in a vehicle you may have, which ‘NEED TO SEE’ the trailer when it is plugged in:
Suspension System (ASS)
Engine Cooling System
Lane Change Assistan
Each of the above systems are affected in different ways when a trailer is ‘detected’. Vital systems such as engine cooling and brake electronics will function and react differently. TSP ( ‘Trailer Stability Program’) is one feature which is being added to more and more vehicles, to help correct the ‘snaking’ action of a trailer… but with such advanced technology, braking systems have even evolved further by being operated electronically, without the need for hydraulics! Braking has become more controlled with faster braking efficiency when towing! Suspension systems can now detect a trailer and allow for a more level towing adjustment when the load is applied on the towing hitch. ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control) systems are meant to ‘detect’ a trailer in order to help set a greater braking distance between vehicles.
The latest technology is also now being applied to roofbars! The Audi Q5 for example, is able to determine when roofbars are fitted and will alter the vehicle centre of gravity when a load is applied. This will then make the ESP braking system behave differently. The key feature is that vehicle safety in relation to towing, is no longer confined to the normally accepted high spec manufacturers such as Audi and BMW!
With such advances, why accept towing electrics that ‘hide’ the trailer?
To ‘By-pass’ all the above safety systems is potentially disastrous as your vehicle is often designed by a manufacturer to behave in a different way as soon as you couple up your trailer or caravan. The manufacturer of the car has either, put a prepared connector in the vehicle which is a CANbus preparation on the network (e.g Audi, Ford, Land Rover, Seat, Skoda, Volvo etc) to accept a specially designed towing module, or has designed the trailer to be ‘detected’ through connections directly onto the databus (e.g BMW). With these type of connections the vehicle will know when a trailer plug is connected to the socket.
If you accept a ‘Universal by-pass’ solution, it is most likely the towbar installer will make either crimp or solder connections onto the lighting harness of the vehicle. This can prove to be contrary to what the manufacturer has intended. Therefore, any connections made in this way can also result in potentially restricted warranties. Not only that, but many network vehicles will ‘switch off’ any supply to a rear lamp on the vehicle should the bulb fail. This will mean, for example, with connections onto a tail lamp wire of the car, should the bulb fail on the car, the system will shut off the supply until the bulb is repaired. This results in not having any active tail lamps functioning on the caravan or trailer!!
In order for your vehicle to ‘see’ the trailer, it is important you accept a vehicle specific electrical installation. A wiring solution which ‘communicates’ with the car.