Breakaway cable

May 29, 2018
280
42
4,685
Visit site
A quick one here.

First time we collected a caravan, we were shown how to attach cable by looping round tow ball and clipping back onto itself.

Second time, we were shown to just clip to the eye indicated in the picture.

Definitive answer please (that the DVSA accept)
 

Attachments

  • 97843492-5FC2-4557-99CA-93DEB180C21F.jpeg
    97843492-5FC2-4557-99CA-93DEB180C21F.jpeg
    809.5 KB · Views: 22
Jul 18, 2017
13,136
3,747
40,935
Visit site
Definite answer is to connect it to the eye. We always clip ours to the eye as we use a carabiner clip. However there is no legislation as to where it should be attached as long as it is atatched.
 
Nov 11, 2009
21,151
6,687
50,935
Visit site
The eye is the correct place then if the van should detach there is no chance of the cable also becoming detached if it were looped around the towball.
 

Damian

Moderator
Mar 14, 2005
7,510
936
30,935
Visit site
It depends on what attachment the breakaway cable has.
If it has a spring clip then the cable must pass around the towball and back on itself, it must not be clipped to the eye.
A breakaway cable with a carabiner fastening is fitted to the eye.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dustydog
Jul 18, 2017
13,136
3,747
40,935
Visit site
It depends on what attachment the breakaway cable has.
If it has a spring clip then the cable must pass around the towball and back on itself, it must not be clipped to the eye.
A breakaway cable with a carabiner fastening is fitted to the eye.

Any particular reason why a normal clip should not be used for the eye? I am not sure if there any legislation to cover how the breakaway cable should be attached to the towing vehicle. I always thought that if there is an eye it should be used instead of looping over the towball?
Either way it is probably better to change the clip to a carabiner. We are lucky as the carabiner is a standard fit on our caravan.
 
Nov 11, 2009
21,151
6,687
50,935
Visit site
On a van with a spring clip cable I bought a strength rated climbing screw carabiner and fitted that to my towbar “eye”” then looped the breakaway cable through the carabiner.
 
  • Like
Reactions: GrahamEvans
Jun 16, 2020
4,928
2,008
6,935
Visit site
It depends on what attachment the breakaway cable has.
If it has a spring clip then the cable must pass around the towball and back on itself, it must not be clipped to the eye.
A breakaway cable with a carabiner fastening is fitted to the eye.

I have heard that many times and don’t doubt it, however, I fail to see any logic in it.

If a spring clip type is fixed to the hook it may stretch straight and become detached prior to the cable snapping or the brake being applied, I understand. But equally the same could happen if clipped back on itself.

To loop over the tow ball will not provide full protection in the case of a detachable hitch.

Surely a carabiner type can be used in both scenarios. Which makes me think, why bother with the spring clip type at all.

I am not trying to contradict, I just need to know the reasons why, so so often, in many things, we are told the right and the wrong way. And often that is just incorect info which gets passed on.

John
 
Nov 11, 2009
21,151
6,687
50,935
Visit site
I have heard that many times and don’t doubt it, however, I fail to see any logic in it.

If a spring clip type is fixed to the hook it may stretch straight and become detached prior to the cable snapping or the brake being applied, I understand. But equally the same could happen if clipped back on itself.

To loop over the tow ball will not provide full protection in the case of a detachable hitch.

Surely a carabiner type can be used in both scenarios. Which makes me think, why bother with the spring clip type at all.

I am not trying to contradict, I just need to know the reasons why, so so often, in many things, we are told the right and the wrong way. And often that is just incorect info which gets passed on.

John
I doubt that you will find any modern caravans with spring clip. Mine was made in 2012 and had a carabiner clip.
 
Jun 16, 2020
4,928
2,008
6,935
Visit site
I doubt that you will find any modern caravans with spring clip. Mine was made in 2012 and had a carabiner clip.

Mine is a 2015 and came with a spring clip which I immediately changed. The new one looked good to me. But on the first service the dealer put another new one on as the wanted an Alko. I am pretty sure they did not charge me.

John
 

Damian

Moderator
Mar 14, 2005
7,510
936
30,935
Visit site
I fully understand where the doubts and confusion abound.
Unfortunately this is where it is a total lack of standards across caravan builds and brands.

Going back some considerable time the only fixing was the spring clip, it is only relatively recently that carabiner clips have become almost the "norm", but not completely.

The reason the spring clip is clipped to breakaway cable after going around the towball is that it tightens the loop just enough to apply the handbrake and then the cable snaps, or the clip straightens and separates the van from the car to allow the car to avoid a rear end smack by the van.

The carabiner stays attached to the car, and relies solely on the cable breaking to allow the separation, if that does not break, expect a bump to the rear of the car.

The other aspect is , as usual , cost. Spring clips are very cheap , Carabiner fixings are much more sturdy and cost more to make , and we all know caravan builders do not like spending money!!!!!!!!
 
Jul 18, 2017
13,136
3,747
40,935
Visit site
Learn something new every day as always thought that the carabiner also opened up like the previous spring clip, but took a fractionally longer.
 
Mar 17, 2020
500
371
5,135
Visit site
So far as I'm aware for "native" drivers both in Germany and the Netherlands the cable may not be looped around the hitch.

Again so far as I know coming from the UK means we don't need to comply.

However:

Has anyone come across recent information to confirm or negate this, perhaps resulting from Brexit?
 
Nov 11, 2009
21,151
6,687
50,935
Visit site
So far as I'm aware for "native" drivers both in Germany and the Netherlands the cable may not be looped around the hitch.

Again so far as I know coming from the UK means we don't need to comply.

However:

Has anyone come across recent information to confirm or negate this, perhaps resulting from Brexit?
Ive not seen anything but they are probably a bit tied up with COVID, NI Protocol and how to save the City.
 
Nov 6, 2005
7,577
2,230
30,935
Visit site
I doubt that you will find any modern caravans with spring clip. Mine was made in 2012 and had a carabiner clip.
Mine is a 2013 with spring clip, as have all it's predecessors - so not sure when the "standard" changed. I seem to recall the CC advising that spring clips should be put through the loop and then clipped back onto the breakaway cable - problem is that many loops are too small to do that.
 
Mar 14, 2005
17,926
3,297
50,935
Visit site
So far as I'm aware for "native" drivers both in Germany and the Netherlands the cable may not be looped around the hitch.

Again so far as I know coming from the UK means we don't need to comply.

However:

Has anyone come across recent information to confirm or negate this, perhaps resulting from Brexit?
Most regulations concerning vehicles and driving have not changed with brexit nor are they likely too. In fact most of our manufacturing will still follow much of the EU regulations if we want to sell to Europe.
 
Jun 16, 2020
4,928
2,008
6,935
Visit site
So far as I'm aware for "native" drivers both in Germany and the Netherlands the cable may not be looped around the hitch.

Again so far as I know coming from the UK means we don't need to comply.

However:

Has anyone come across recent information to confirm or negate this, perhaps resulting from Brexit?

That’s my understanding too. I have heard that, in the past UK drivers have been at least warned, perhaps fined, in Holland, for looping over the tow ball. But that is all anecdotal. In my opinion. They carabine, clipped onto an eye. Is the superior solution all round.

I agree with Damian. There is a lack of standardisation. But just looking them up, and this link for the Alko clip types says it is designed to loop OR be clipped to an eye.

Here is the link for the carabiner type which also says it can be fitted both ways, But nearly £7 dearer.

Curiouser and curiouser.

John
 
Nov 11, 2009
21,151
6,687
50,935
Visit site
Mine is a 2013 with spring clip, as have all it's predecessors - so not sure when the "standard" changed. I seem to recall the CC advising that spring clips should be put through the loop and then clipped back onto the breakaway cable - problem is that many loops are too small to do that.
Thats why on on caravan I used carabiner screw type to go through the towbars small hole, and looped the cables spring clip back on itself via the carabiner. It was a pretzel carabiner similar to this one;

7ADB1FDA-C214-4F07-8332-CFB833F3657B_4_5005_c.jpeg
 
Nov 6, 2005
7,577
2,230
30,935
Visit site
Thats why on on caravan I used carabiner screw type to go through the towbars small hole, and looped the cables spring clip back on itself via the carabiner. It was a pretzel carabiner similar to this one;

View attachment 1879
My car has a deployable towbar without a loop, built just before EU law made it a requirement so I have to resort to looping the cable round the towball.
 
Mar 17, 2020
500
371
5,135
Visit site
My car has a deployable towbar without a loop, built just before EU law made it a requirement so I have to resort to looping the cable round the towball.

For what it's worth you can get bolt on eyelets that attach to the swan neck.
 
Oct 8, 2006
1,821
573
19,935
Visit site
For what it's worth you can get bolt on eyelets that attach to the swan neck.

That reply suggests the poster is expecting an eyelet on the swan neck? IME they are always part of the bar: on my present and last cars (both had Westfalia detachable) the hole for the clip is/was on the side of the hole into which the swan neck fitted. On our first car (all Passat estates incidently) the towbar was a Thule and there was a stout squared wire loop on the bar itself.

One thing that does concern me is the use of poor quality carabiners that don't look the part and often rust quickly. A few years ago we were walking down Charring Cross Road whence we tripped over a ships chandlery (in Charring Cross Road????) They sold a whole range of different sized carabiners all in stainless steel. I got an 60mm (?) unit which cost me about £8 and still looks as good as new to this day.
 
Nov 11, 2009
21,151
6,687
50,935
Visit site
That reply suggests the poster is expecting an eyelet on the swan neck? IME they are always part of the bar: on my present and last cars (both had Westfalia detachable) the hole for the clip is/was on the side of the hole into which the swan neck fitted. On our first car (all Passat estates incidently) the towbar was a Thule and there was a stout squared wire loop on the bar itself.

One thing that does concern me is the use of poor quality carabiners that don't look the part and often rust quickly. A few years ago we were walking down Charring Cross Road whence we tripped over a ships chandlery (in Charring Cross Road????) They sold a whole range of different sized carabiners all in stainless steel. I got an 60mm (?) unit which cost me about £8 and still looks as good as new to this day.
You’re correct re low quality carabiners that’s why I bought a climbing one by Pretzl.
 
Nov 6, 2005
7,577
2,230
30,935
Visit site
That reply suggests the poster is expecting an eyelet on the swan neck? IME they are always part of the bar
Not so - the later versions of my car have an eyelet loop cast on the swan neck to comply with current regulations, there's no other place that could be reached without putting the vehicle on a lift
 
Jun 16, 2020
4,928
2,008
6,935
Visit site
Not so - the later versions of my car have an eyelet loop cast on the swan neck to comply with current regulations, there's no other place that could be reached without putting the vehicle on a lift

If the swan neck is detachable where is the logic. Yes there is protection if the hitch comes adrift from the ball but none of the swan neck becomes detached. The eyelet on mine is adjacent to where the swan neck enters and is therefore perminant.

John
 

Damian

Moderator
Mar 14, 2005
7,510
936
30,935
Visit site
Like pretty much everything about caravans is far from perfect, but the chances of a swan neck coming out of its mounting socket is quite remote, providing it has been locked in correctly.

The only regulation regarding trailers is that they must have a means of control if they become detached from the towing vehicle.
Trailers up to 750Kg unbraked must have a chain or something that will not allow the trailer to separate from the towing vehicle completely.
Braked trailers must have a method of applying the brakes on the trailer, how that is achieved is a matter of what securing facility is available on the towcar.
 

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts