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Hitchlock - What Do You Do With Yours...


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Turned up at the dealership today where my van is being serviced and someone came out to help me unhitch and he noticed I had the hitchlock on. He advised against this when towing as damage can be caused to the A frame fairing under heavy braking and . .perish the thought. .if the van were to tip over it would make uncoupling complicated or might take the car over with it.

 

I have obviously missed a trick here and cant remember reading anywhere that I shouldn't have it on when towing, so, for any of you out there who were doing as I was. ..dont!

 

However, as soon as you stop or park up, fit the hitchlock!

 

Regards

 

David, Callum and Connor (NRF)

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The Al-Ko hitchlock is designed to stay in place when towing and should NOT foul the A frame fairing under any conditions. The worst condition is actually reversing, rather than braking, when the hitch goes fully back, so this is the best way to check. There have been some reports of fouling of the A frame on some models but these have generally been rectified under warranty.

 

Having said all that, I normally leave mine off when towing in case it is necessary to uncouple rapidly in case of accident or similar.

 

Brian

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Having said all that, I normally leave mine off when towing in case it is necessary to uncouple rapidly in case of accident or similar.

 

Brian

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I agree Brian, so do I.

I was told by a traffic policeman that it is wise not to have your caravan locked to the car when moving.

He said that if there was an accident and the van needed to be moved fast. ...it would cause a delay.

Not that we leave the caravan hitched to the car when unattended but. ...we would only lock it then and put the wheel lock on as well.

 

 

ATB, Lee

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I have always towed with the AL-KO hitch lock on.

 

On another forum I mentioned this in a security discussion and someone told me that the police asked them to remove their AL-KO hitch lock whilst towing from a safety point of view. (In case of an accident and the need to quickly un hitch the van.)

 

The downside of this is remembering to attach the hitch lock every time you stop on your journey.

 

Again another forum member mentioned how he parked in a service station in the UK forgot to attach the hitch lock walked off to the service station, remembered on route to the facilities, returned to the car park to see his van disappearing off.

 

Knowing what my memory is like I will continue to tow with the hitch lock in place.

 

Pete.

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I have always towed with the AL-KO hitch lock on.

 

On another forum I mentioned this in a security discussion and someone told me that the police asked them to remove their AL-KO hitch lock whilst towing from a safety point of view. (In case of an accident and the need to quickly un hitch the van.)

 

Pete.

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Think it was me Pete

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We allways tow with ours off. But whenever we stop it gets put on along with the wheel clamp, this has almost become second nature.

 

For the couple of minutes it takes saves on any hastle with the insurance company.

 

Regards

 

Trevor

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We tow with our ALKO hitch lock on, we feel it was designed for this purpose and if the police need to take the caravan off, the keys are always available.

 

To quote the ALKO website

 

The most obvious benefit of fitting the AL-KO Security Device, is that you can keep the device locked-on whilst your caravan and car are hitched-up and whilst you are travelling. This removes the worry of ‘guarding’ your caravan when stopped at motorway service areas and also allows more valuable storage space in your caravan or car boot as it uses the ideal storage area – right on your caravan!

 

pic_safety_aks1300.gif

 

Peter :)

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I believe that it is actually illegal to tow with the hitchlock on in most of Europe. ......unless anyone knows different!

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hi

i have the triple lock coupling fitted which is always locked when on or off the tow ball, have never been told its not legal by the firm that fitted it or the servicing dealer

bill

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The original post does not state whether he is using an 'AlKO' hitch lock.

We use a Bulldog Hitchlock and I don't think they recommend using it while towing.

I would consult the specific manufacturer if you are unsure.

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We don't tow with the hitchlock on, but will use it whenever stopped.

 

We don't find putting it on hard to remember, but we do find remebering to remove it more difficult, consequently we often end up stopping after 5 mins to remove it!!

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Ive always towed with hitch lock off as a few years ago i attended a car fire on the M4 just north of Bristol, when we turned up we found the car had been towing a caravan when the engine developed a fuel leak and caught fire,

The occupants of the car who were quite elderly told us that they tried to get the caravan off the back but didnt have time as they had a hitch lock on and the keys were in the glove box. They got out the car safely but couldnt get the keys as the car was full of smoke.

So they had to sit on the bank and watch the fire spread through the car and then to the caravan. They were heartbroken as there pride and joy went up in flames.

After we extinguished the fire i was talking with the gentleman who said if only the hitch lock wasn't on we might of saved the caravan.

 

So after that I alwys tow with it off and when we stop it goes on

 

 

 

oscar

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From a safety point of view, it is NOT sensible to have the hitchlock in place whilst towing. If youo are involved in an accident, the emergency services will not be able to separate the van from the car, and whilst saying the keys are available, if you are in no fit state to tell them where the keys are,,,what can they do? For those who say they cannot remember to put the lock on when stopped. .how do you manage this??? dont you remember you have a huge box behind you? and is this not your pride and joy?

Security is one thing, and for peace of mind is taken seriously, safety on the road is another, and hitchlocks in place while towing is stupid.

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From a safety point of view, it is NOT sensible to have the hitchlock in place whilst towing. If youo are involved in an accident, the emergency services will not be able to separate the van from the car, and whilst saying the keys are available, if you are in no fit state to tell them where the keys are,,,what can they do? For those who say they cannot remember to put the lock on when stopped. .how do you manage this??? dont you remember you have a huge box behind you? and is this not your pride and joy?

Security is one thing, and for peace of mind is taken seriously, safety on the road is another, and hitchlocks in place while towing is stupid.

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The keys to our hitch lock are attached to the car key so very easy to find if I'm not in a state to tell the emergency services. That said if, god forbid, I was involved in some form of accident / fire then provided no-one person was hurt everything else is insured and easily replaced.

 

Given a choice between losing your van to a fire or theft I think that I would prefer a fire. At least no thief is going to profit and I am not sure I would want it back after it had been stolen. (Unless it was almost immediately returned.)

 

 

Pete

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I bought a bulldog mini hitch lock and it clearly states on the side of the box in capital letter NOT TO BE USED WHILST TOWING It is fine to use when stationary and coupled up but not for use when moving.

 

I must admit I have one of those locks that goes in the key hole shaped hole on a standard non stabiliser type hitch. My theory is it is so small if i dont putit back in I will loose it also it stops any swines from pinching the caravan if anything happened eg had to change a car tyre.

 

I have often thought about what would happen if I was in an accident and I thought that the emergency services can still get to the cars tow ball bolts and the fire crew must have machinery to cut through the hitch if needed.

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Collected our new van yesterday and this is fitted with the ALKO 2004 plus hitchlock and as mentioned above ALKO make no mention of not using the hitch lock when towing in fact the contrary seems true.

 

I feel certain if ALKO felt there were any 'real' safety implications a company such as theirs would cover their backsides with all sorts of riders and notices to the effect that you must remove the lock before driving away.

 

But as usual people must do what they feel happiest doing.

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I have to respond to Petes posting, and the relevance of having the lock on whilst towing, I have NEVER heard of anyone capable of running at 50 or 60 mph and being able to unhitch a van from the towing car, AND then make off with the van. .......would take some kind of guy to do that.

 

As for the keys being on the car jeys, thats fine, if they are not engulfed in flame, I guess, and the emergency services are fully familiar with all the keys on YOUR key ring, something which I doubt, and something which takes TIME to sort out, which is something they do not really have much of, in an emergency situation, especially if your van has overturned on top of another car, and is unable to be moved away because you have it locked to your car!!

 

Putting the lock on as soon as you stop for a break, fine, I do this, as well as a wheel clamp, as I dont want to lose my van, I also leave my dogs in such a way that they can stop anyone getting near the hitch, but cannot wander away and cause problems, and they are never out of sight, that is, car, van and dogs.

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I have to respond to Petes posting, and the relevance of having the lock on whilst towing, I have NEVER heard of anyone capable of running at 50 or 60 mph and being able to unhitch a van from the towing car, AND then make off with the van. .......would take some kind of guy to do that.

 

As for the keys being on the car jeys, thats fine, if they are not engulfed in flame, I guess, and the emergency services are fully familiar with all the keys on YOUR key ring, something which I doubt, and something which takes TIME to sort out, which is something they do not really have much of, in an emergency situation, especially if your van has overturned on top of another car, and is unable to be moved away because you have it locked to your car!!

 

Putting the lock on as soon as you stop for a break, fine, I do this, as well as a wheel clamp, as I dont want to lose my van, I also leave my dogs in such a way that they can stop anyone getting near the hitch, but cannot wander away and cause problems, and they are never out of sight, that is, car, van and dogs.

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Err. ... off hand I don't remember suggesting that anyone was capable of running at 50 to 60 mph etc. ......

 

My point was that I leave our al-ko hitch lock on whilst travelling because I might forget to attach it when I have parked some where. Something that is quite easily done. (Already aware of an example on this forum of a member who had their van stolen due to a moment's oversight.)

 

It also seems to be a recommendation from al-ko to leave the hitch lock on whilst towing.

 

No I don't have many keys at all on my car key ring. (3 in total) if my car is engulfed in flames such that the emergency services cann't reach the keys then that means I've gone as well so its most likely better the van goes because it will save my sons having to sell it. (They are not into caravans.)

 

It seems a bit extreme to leave your dogs attached? to the hitch and never out of your sight. Have you thought of a security guard as well?

 

 

Pete :):):)

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One of our techies could help on this one

I believe I am correct in saying "Mostly when a caravan turns onto its side, the hitch, usually stretches making it very dificult to separate car/caravan without extreme force sometimes impossible.

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Hi all,

 

We always use the ALKO hitchlock when towing, it saves the bother of having to put it on and take it off when we stop. As far as accidents go, I've seen a few where vans are involved and there doesn't seem to be any hurry to unhitch the van as it's normally in bits or on it's side! If there is a problem unhitching after an accident then believe me the Fire Fighters with their cutting equipment wouldn't take two minutes to do the job!

 

One other point, what about the 4X4 drivers that have to open the rear door before they unhitch, can you imagine having to do that?

 

Yossa

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Guest Hobbybod
  My point was that I leave our al-ko hitch lock on whilst travelling because I might forget to attach it when I have parked some where. Something that is quite easily done. (Already aware of an example on this forum of a member who had their van stolen due to a moment's oversight.)

This is why I ALWAYS travel with a Hitchlock ON; certainly whilst in the UK.

 

Having a very sought-after 'van, by the 'freckled-faced' ones, the chances of my 'van being stolen vastly exceed the chances of subsequent safety problems, should the 'van be in a towing accident.

 

  "Mostly when a caravan turns onto its side, the hitch, usually stretches making it very dificult to separate car/caravan without extreme force sometimes impossible.

Both the Winterhoff Robstop and the Bulldog Hitchlocks are designed to be used whilst towing. Given the (presumed) theft/accident ratio on caravans in the UK, I will continue to tow 'locked on'.

 

Much lower levels of 'van theft on the continent mean that such anti-theft measures are not so necessary, although I generally travel 'locked on', there, also.

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Guess we will all have to learn the hard way whether it is safe or not. Personally I think it is unsafe and unwise, but then every one to their own opinion. If I stop at the services either my wife or myself go into the services and when that one comes back the other goes. Simple! :)

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So, in the previous posts we have had a traffic cop AND a firefighter advising that we should NOT tow with the hitchlock on.

 

That's good enough for me! I'm amazed that there are so many people who think they know better.

 

Surely it's a case of laziness over common sense if you can't be bothered to take the lock off before driving away. No-one is going to pinch your van when you are towing it.

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:blink:

 

Having just read through all of the postings Bob I think you are being a little unkind with your comment:-

 

That's good enough for me! I'm amazed that there are so many people who think they know better.

 

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I have not found any posts that say they know 'better'.

 

:)

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