ADR vs EC Approval for Towbars; What You Need to Know About Safety Standards BEFORE You Get a Towbar Fitted

When you are having a towbar fitted to your vehicle, safe and trouble-free towing is the ultimate objective. Having a properly designed and fitted tow bar is essential for safe towing. When it comes to safety testing for towbars, people are understandably concerned about the standards of testing, as vehicles and towbars are most commonly designed and manufactured overseas.

There are a couple of essential differences between Australian (ADR), and European (EC), standards. We have ADR approvals done for all of our Westfalia tow bars locally in Australia, and due to the stringent testing standards, Westfalia tow bars comply with both EC and ADR standards.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that the testing and fitting of towbars is less regulated in Australia than it is in Europe. The main reason for this is that in Europe there is a higher population, there are more people on the roads in general and the speed limits are faster than in Australia. So it follows that the potential for accidents is far greater. Safety is a priority, to the extent that towbars are illegal unless they have a roadworthy certificate.

In Europe, testing of towbars occurs in a dynamic environment that has been designed to simulate the pressure on a towbar in a live towing situation. Laboratories have been purpose-built to create a dynamic environment which also tests the towbars to double the manufacturers recommended capacity.

In Australia, the towbars are tested in a static environment to the manufacturers specifications. In reality, the ADR standards have been established to prevent people from making their own tow bars which are not properly engineered or tested and are unsafe. However, the testing conditions are not as rigorous as European testing.

Clients are sometimes suspicious of the EC standards because they are not aware of how stringent the testing requirements are and they believe that without an ADR approval certificate, their vehicle will not be safe. Our towbars and fitting protocols automatically meet ADR standards, but no vehicle leaves our workshop unless it also meets EC standards.

This is why we are able to send out vehicles we fit, with such confidence.

Thule Test Center 3D towbar testing