Reverse parking sensors and towing

Many modern cars come with reverse parking sensors as optional extras, or included in the package. These are very useful when parallel parking in town or navigating car parks but are unfortunately useless and a distraction when trying to reverse with a caravan in tow.

As you turn the caravan one of the corners will come closer to the corner of you car, the sensors will interpret this as if you’re approaching a kerb and will beep. This distraction could be dangerous if it disturbs your concentration whilst siting your caravan.

Fortunately, our members have provided us with several ways to turn off parking sensors when towing a caravan:

Some manufacturers have thought of this scenario and include an on/off switch for the parking sensors. However, this could be anywhere on your car from behind the wheel to on the multimedia display, so the best bet is to have a look through your car’s manual and see if and where the switch may be.

Alternatively, you can retro-fit a manual switch for the parking sensors. Check whether your manufacturer recommends this. whether it will invalidate the warranty and where it should go. Pickups can often have the switch installed in the rear load area, which can be quite convenient.

The third option is to use a small relay to prevent the parking sensors from activating whilst towing. There’s a device called a "fog light cut off relay", which is a relay with a small piece of circuitry built in that senses when the trailer fog lights are connected and cuts off the car fog lights to prevent glare. This same piece of kit if fitted between the reversing light feed to the reverse park sensor and the feed to PIN 1 (caravan reversing light) on the 12S socket has the same effect. When the 12S socket is connected it senses the caravans reversing lights and cuts the power to the reverse park sensors. Disconnect the caravan and the sensors work again. These cost ~£5 to buy and take ~30 minutes to fit.

Thanks to Grandpa Steve for the excellent advice.

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