View Full Version : tow bar

01-01-2012, 10:13 PM
Does anyone have the factory fit cable operated tow bar?

1. I need to know if when its in place is it locked firm or is there any sideways wobble?
2. Can you explain how it drops / locks / retracts?

I only intend to use one to fit a tow bar mounted bike carrier. If the bar wobbles 1mm it will be about 50mm up at bike top height which would be annoying.


11-01-2012, 09:04 PM
100+ views but no-one has a tow bar fitted?

11-01-2012, 09:35 PM
100+ views and 1 reply, the question your asking proberbly isnt doesnt have an answer most people would check for, i mean they get a towbar fitted and thats it as long as it drags along a trailer or caravan people are happy. Why no pop along to an indipendant towbar specialist, there are plenty around and have a look at the bars in a box then you can feel if there is movement and ask the relevent questions then, hope this helps

11-01-2012, 10:36 PM
Hi - I had the same bowden cable towbar fitted to my old A6.

There is much less movement on the ball from a factory fitted one, it appears to lock into place more securely. I know because I had the retro fitted one first, but it wasnt The aftermarket version which was also westfalia had a load of sideways movement which caused my bike rack to bounce around a bit.

It works by turning a knob inside the boot, and the cable drops and then swings into place with a firm lock. It also shows on the dash as a warning symbol if if isnt properly seated. Retraction is the opposite process.

I only bought mine to use with a thule bike rack and found it absolutely great. It just works! Ordered the same for my new A6.

Hope that helps.


14-01-2012, 05:07 PM
thanks peter, thats what i was hoping to hear. :)

18-03-2012, 08:14 PM
Looking on the car configurator for the C7 gives this image:


It says swivelling head which i assume it the mechanism to hide the ball from view when not in use, The photo looks like the ball head swivels eg to let trailer go more easily round corners. I assume this is just a fancy cap? Can anyone confirm?

If the ball itself swivels left and right it will be no use for my bike rack.

11-06-2012, 10:27 PM
I am just awaiting delivery of my new A6 Avant, and I left it too late to add on the tow bar as an option.
I asked the dealer about a dealer fit option and they said approx 1,500! Almost twice the price of the factory fit option!

Can anyone recommend a removable option that can be supplied by a specialist? I am only really looking to use it to hold a thule bike rack, but didn't really understand the comments above about the swivelling head.

I would like a removable bar so it's not there unless i need to fit the bike rack.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


11-06-2012, 10:37 PM
ignore the swivelling head stuff. i was just worrying. Factory fit one is great.
Have you asked another audi dealer for a price? 1500 is plain silly.

11-06-2012, 10:45 PM
Thanks for the response, I will try another dealer, although I would expect a tow bar specialist may be able to fit a similar system for a sensible price.
I am also not sure if the dealer fit option would be the same as the factory fit one.

11-06-2012, 11:06 PM
I got an aftermarket tow bar fitted to the wife's Citroen last year - they did a good job and it was around 170 all in.

Guest 2
11-06-2012, 11:19 PM
Contact pf jones on the site .. I'm sure they would supply everything you need for a good deal

12-06-2012, 01:00 AM
I bought and fitted a removal towbar to my A7. Got it from PF Jones.

Very happy with it at a fraction of a dealer fit price.

Mine is the Westfalia removable. Westfalia are the OEM suppliers to Audi.

If you've not fitted one before, get an Audi savvy installer to fit it along with the dedicated wiring kit, which needs dealer coding so the car recognises it.

12-06-2012, 09:27 AM
I have two questions, the first easy for someone who has the factory fit tow bar, the second maybe nobody knows for sure ?

When the factory fit unit is retracted, is there anything still visible on the car ?

In the A6 spec, it mentions that tow bar preparation is on all A6s (not so on A7). That should mean that the retrofit on A6 is identical to factory fit, shouldn't it ?

Ref. original, old, post : Robby, I see you have factory fit item and like it. I always preferred my bikes on the roof !

12-06-2012, 11:34 AM
It is completely invisible. See pictures posted here http://www.vwaudiforum.co.uk/forum/album.php?albumid=1064

Factory fit is integrated into the engine management system so that it changes the engine cooling settings when towing and dissables parking sensors at the rear I believe. I still need to verify this as I haven't hooked up my trailer yet.

Be warned, a 13 pin to 7 pin electrics adaptor is needed. The one from Halfords doesn't fit, you have to get the Audi supplied one. It is roughly the same price though, approx 17 if I recall.

12-06-2012, 09:12 PM
When factory fitted one is retracted there is no external clue at all (unless you lie on your back and look directly up under the bumper.) Its very good

went for tow bar mounted for 4 reasons:
1. Main one, reduce aerodynamic drag doing motorway with bikes on roof.
2. When knackered after mountain biking, lifitn onto roof is effort
3. 2+ easy to scratch door paint when learning to roof when filthy muddy
4. cant drive under height restrictions into car parks etc with bikes up top and ferry/train booking is tricky.

12-06-2012, 09:48 PM
Spoke with PF Jones today and removable westfalia approx. 550 fitted incl. remapping the electronics. Also can be fitted with 7 pin instead of 13 if not towing a caravan.
The guy I spoke said you can't see it at all when it's removed. - Can anyone confirm if you can see it at all when removed?

I think that's what I'll be going for when my car arrives.

12-06-2012, 10:47 PM
My Westfalia removable on my A7 is invisible unless you lie down

30-07-2012, 03:33 PM
450 mile round trip to Cornwall and back with trailer fully laden with camping gear, topbox on top of trailer, boot stuffed to the gunwales and 4 people in the car with all the essentials needed for a long journey. The A6 towed far better than my previous A4 3.0 TDI Quattro, despite the A6 only being front wheel drive and 2.0 litres. Much more stable and steadier on the road than the A4. Even performed well on the up hill chugs of the A303 and the Cornish lanes. Averaged 40 mpg in Dynamic Mode not exceeding 65 mph, which given the stop start traffic jams, I think was really very pleasing.

31-07-2012, 09:42 AM

Do you have any photos of how it looks?
I am keen to get something sorted soon, but am worried that they may have to cut into the rear bumper trim.

If I could see a photo this would really help me decide what to do.

Many thanks...

31-07-2012, 12:40 PM
On my install on my A7 I did have to make a cutout for the hitch. With the hitch removed you cannot see any part of the towbar or electrics unless you lie down for a look.

Picture is a little dark, but you'll get the drift. It shows a close up of the rear bumper lower section after towbar install (with the hitch removed).

p.s. I don't know how that will work out on an A6 but I can't see it being much different.

31-07-2012, 01:09 PM
Thanks for the photo, looks good.
I take it the cutout you had to make is underneath the car as I can't see any trim removed / cut on your photo?

31-07-2012, 01:53 PM
Correct. Cut out is on the bottom facing surface of the bumper insert (bottom part unclips from main body of the bumper).

Used a dremmel rotary tool to cut it with cutting discs. http://img.tapatalk.com/d4b78030-d532-53e5.jpg pic showing opening for hitch.

http://img.tapatalk.com/d4b78030-d56a-6e59.jpg Hitch fitted.

31-07-2012, 03:30 PM
Great, thanks for the pics.
Looks really neat and tidy.