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13 Pin European Plugs
13 Pin European trailer plugs
The last decade or so has seen vast advances in vehicle electronics that have made the electrical connections between a vehicle and a trailer increasingly more critical. Currently the safest form of connection available is the 13 pin connector as it is a secure, twist-lock, watertight coupling system requiring little force to install or remove.
For any vehicle/trailer combination it is vital that the electrical connections are securely made, as it is imperative that a vehicle continuously recognises when a trailer is connected. Any vehicle with a combination of the computers listed below needs to always recognise when a trailer is connected even though the vehicles individual computers may not have all of these functions/features in their programming.
Trailer Recognition when a trailer has been recognised by the vehicle’s Body Computer the Trailer Tell Tale will be enabled in the vehicle with the operation of the turn signals, this is a legal requirement in many jurisdictions. When the Body Computer recognises that there is a trailer connected it will communicate the trailer recognition to the following vehicle computers so that:
Anti-Lock Brakes, Stability and Traction Control – when in motion alternate strategies can be applied to control the dynamics of the vehicle/trailer combination.
Power Train Control – engine fuelling, throttle response, automatic transmission shift points, enhanced dynamic engine braking, etc. for the vehicle/trailer combination.
Trailer lighting –turn signals, park and/or brake LEDs on the trailer that were continuously blinking will no longer do so.
Parking sensors – the rear parking aid sensors are disabled.
Note: not all makes and models of vehicles have all of the above computers/functions/features.
Australian Vs European Trailer plug and socket wiring
In Europe the decision was made to replace the 7 pin 12N and 12S electrical connectors with a single 13 pin connector on models produced from September 2008. For a long time, the 7 pin was the mainstay of towing connections, but in it’s long history, it has been plagued by issues such as pin burnout caused by bad pin contacts/compressed pins, badly fitting plugs, and water damage etc.