Difference between RECOVERY and TOWING equipment

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First of all, I decided to write this guide because of all the Wrong information that people are listing when selling Recovery and Towing equipment.  Recovery equipment can be used on the public highway without having to met the relevant uses and construction regulations Due to the fact it is INTENDED for recovery purposes ONLY but has to be FIT FOR PURPOSE.  Towing equipment has to meet a WHOLE lot of regulations to be road legal.  People are interchanging these two classes when towing equipment can be used for recovery BUT recovery equipment can't be used for towing.

Second of all, This information is a combination of information I have read from numerous sources.  But before taking it as gospel,  YOU need to check and double check before going any further.  Having said that, let's go forward.

You can understand private sellers who are selling a piece of equipment on that they may have purchased to use and passing on the information they were given be it right or wrong.  But I can not fathom why business sellers are who are selling factory made equipment OR equipment that they have made themselves and not supplying the CORRECT information.  THEY SHOULD give the correct info or get out the selling game.

Recovery rigid bars are intended for use as the name says RECOVERY ONLY.

There has been a sudden explosion on the scene of these A frames used for towing a vehicle without a steers man.  These are fine when used for RECOVERY purposes as the towed vehicle is road legal, but broken down.  You need to take a GOOD look at some of these a frames for sale on ebay.  Most of these a frames are NOT LEGAL to be used for recovery, let alone towing.  Most use lightweight pressed steel tow couplings rated to 750kgs which are totally the wrong spec.  One listing I read the other day states he is a fully qualified welder etc and designed his a frame properly, BUT he misses one little thing, He hasn't sleeved his bolts so he is relying on the thickness of the steel box to support the bolts, not a full sleeve.  If you plan to use an a frame for towing a vehicle, You need to be able to apply the towed vehicles brakes somehow.  Even if your towed vehicle is UNDER 750kgs (ie an unbraked trailer max weight) the towed vehicle has brakes that because they are fitted, HAVE TO WORK.  I am only aware on ONE a frame unit that can do this and I own one.  It's called a Solo towing a frame.  it looks like the a frames as listed on ebay, but this is made of strong steel and has an attachment that sits on the brake pedal and drivers seat that applies the brakes  like normal inertia trailer brakes do.  Google  Solomatic Sovereign

Next one is the Recovery dolly.  Same rules applies here. You can use a NONE braked (but not recommend) dolly for recovery purposes because it doesn't have to meet many regulations.

If you plan to use a dolly for TRANSPORTING vehicle, You are TOTALLY legal to do so Provided you meet all the uses and construction regulation and also meet the road lighting regulations.  You have to show all the same reflectors, lights, mudguard and number plate on the dolly as a legal trailer does, but you also need to show them when a vehicle is mounted on the dolly.  This normally means having a moveable trailer board to take the lights off the dolly and hang them off the back of the towed vehicle. Next little problem is because one of the axles of the towed vehicle is on the road, YOU have to be able to apply the brakes on the towed vehicle to be legal as ALL axles on your trailer have to work.  I have a modified dolly that uses the same brake pedal unit as my SOLO towing a frame.  I spoke to VOSA on this subject and have had this CONFIRMED.  Also if your using a TOW dolly for transporting a vehicle, the TOWED vehicle becomes a trailer and as such doesn't need to be taxed or mot'ed .
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