Introducing a new initiative aimed at improving the safety of towed trailers

FREE Trailer Safety Check

In the interest of safety we have introduced a free trailer safety check scheme for all braked and unbraked trailers throughout Devon.

We are offering trailer owners a free safety check, consisting of a simple report which will highlight any defects the trailer might have, We will inform you if there is any aspect of the trailer that is not safe and legal to use on the road. Should any faults be identified you can either instruct us to undertake the work at an agreed price, we can supply the parts for you to complete the work yourself or you can take the trailer to any garage or workshop for the work to be completed. Western Towing Safety Check Trailer Sticker
Should you wish to take advantage of this offer there is no obligation for you to instruct us to undertake any work, our only concern is that the trailer is safe and legal on the road.

Many trailers are already in good condition, however by letting us undertake this safety check you will have the added confidence of knowing your trailer is safe for the road. Additionally if you have any concerns about your trailer, towing, the law or safety then our knowledgeable staff are here advise.

Trailer & Caravan MOTs

At present an MOT is not required for trailers and caravans in the UK. Nevertheless statistics are starting to show an increase in the percentage of incidents are caused by trailers & caravans. To combat this MOTs may be introduced in the future. By making sure your trailer is safe on the road this will ensure there are fewer traffic incidents caused by trailer defects and therefore remove the threat of compulsory MOTs on trailers and caravans.

What the Safety Check Includes

The checks will include:

  • Coupling including breakaway cable
  • Wheel Bearings & hub or drum
  • Wheels & Tyres
  • Suspension
  • Brakes & Linkages
  • Chassis
  • Lights

Further to this trailer safety check, with your authorisation, we will keep your details as well as your trailer details on our secure database. This will afford you added security by recording you as the owner or keeper of the trailer. In addition to this, we can contact you when your trailer is due for its next safety check.

Western Towing have been repairing and servicing trailers for the past 40 years, you can rely on us to give you an expert opinion on the condition of your trailer. Please note that this free safety inspection does not replace a full service which we recommend is undertaken on a regular basis.

All you need to do is call us, on 01392 216336 for our Exeter branch or 01626 3551215 for our Newton Abbot branch, and book you trailer in for our free check. An unbraked trailer check should take approximately 15 minutes and a braked trailer check around 30 minutes.

Noisy Stabiliser and how to fix it

A stabiliser that clamps to the towball, such as the popular Winterhoff WS3000, uses friction pads clamped tightly to the towball. This helps to prevent the caravan or trailer from swaying or snaking, and with some stabilisers, pitching and rolling as well. The pads are made from a similar material to brake linings, so that when in contact with the steel towball they will form a high resistance.

One of the consequences of this type of stabiliser is that they do creak a little, this is just the nature of the product. Should the creaking become noticeably louder then there are a few things that need to be checked.

Contamination is the most likely problem, commonly caused by contamination from vehicle exhausts. The picture below show both clean friction pads and those where exhaust soot has polished onto the surface.

WS3000 stabiliser friction pads

Other contamination can be from the towball, this should bare steel and always kept clean. A new towball should be cleaned of any dull silver corrosion protection, zinc plating or other paint coating prior to use.

Cleaning the pads is fairly straight forward, simply rub with light sand paper grain size 200-400 and then ideally clean with aerosol brake cleaner. If cleaning is not possible due to extreme contamination or they are worn then they must be replaced. Replacement friction pads can be purchased online here:

WS3000 Mk2 & Mk3 friction pads
WS3000 Mk1 friction pad
Al-ko AKS2500, AKS2700, AKS2004 & AKS3004 Friction Pads
Alko AKS1300 friction pads

Other less common problems that may cause a noisy stabiliser are:
  1. The towing vehicle and caravan or trailer are not towing level.
  2. The nose weight is too high, check that the maximum nose weight permitted for you caravan and stabiliser.
  3. The towball has become worn, rusty or deformed. In this case the towball must be replaced.

When replacing the towball any coating must be removed using light sand paper,  grain size 200-240, to expose only bare steel.

Regular maintenance of the stabiliser is also essential, make sure all movable bearing points and bolts are lightly lubricated in accordance with the manufacturers instructions.

Please contact us if you need further advice on 01392 216336 or visit our website


Brake shoes – OEM or compatibles?

Al-ko orginal replacement brake shoes

Al-ko original brake shoes

It has been possible to buy non-original brake shoes for caravans & trailers fitted with Knott brakes for many years now. We’ve had them to try out and we were not very impressed with them. With the price not being much less than the Knott originals they don’t seem a viable alternative. More recently Maypole have sourced E11 marked compatible shoes from the EU for Knott & Alko brakes.

Compatible Brake Shoes

There is quite a percentage price difference between the genuine Al-ko brakes shoes and the Maypole compatibles. The quality appears to be as good and they are ‘E’ marked.

Maypole Equivalent Al-ko Shoes

Maypole Equivalent Al-ko Shoes

Both kits come complete with the springs, in fact the compatible kit also has the brake reverse springs included.

We would always suggest that the genuine Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) brake shoes should be fitted when the brakes are still under a manufacturers warranty. The manufacturer could reject a claim by attributing blame on the brake shoes if they could have feel they might have contributed to the warranty claim in any way.

In the vehicle industry, unless you use a main agent for your parts & servicing then you’re likely to have OE compatible parts fitted. There is generally no question that these parts are, at least, as fit for the purpose as the OEM parts are.

The Maypole Knott-Avonride compatible are good quality and ‘E’ approved but the price is not a great deal less the Knott original so at the moment we would recommend using the Knott original brake shoes.

There appears to be no OEM copy brakes shoes available in the UK for BPW brakes at the moment.


For Al-ko replacement brake shoes it seems that it depends on how much you want to spend and your personal preference. If in doubt always chose the original manufactures brakes shoes but certainly we would recommend the Maypole OE compatible as an alternative without compromising on safety.

To make purchasing brakes shoes and other brake parts easy we have added pages where you can find all the brake parts you need once you have identified the make and size of brakes you have. Click here to see all the brake parts we have available.

Cycling Adventures this Summer

Thule boot mounted cycle racks

Cycling has changed a great deal over the years. Just cycling on the roads is no longer very safe so purpose made cycle paths and off road paths have been made to explore the countryside. Attaching a cycle rack to your car lets you be adventurous; you can drive to a convenient location and be free to explore quiet roads, wild terrain (like the moors) or just follow safe cycle paths.

To get to these places you must transport your bikes; it’s very easy with the range of carriers available. The range mainly consists of:-

Vehicle boot mounted cycle rack

Quite cheap to buy but not very popular these days however most vehicle tailgates are not strong enough to hold a cycle rack, they can also be time consuming to fit and then may not seem very secure. A lighting board and number plate would still be required if the vehicle lights or number plate are obscured in any way.

Roof mounted cycle racks

These racks are usually fitted to existing roof bars on the vehicle’s roof or on rails fitted to the top of a trailer. It is usually possible to mount up to four cycle racks on a vehicle roof. These can make the bikes a bit difficult to mount on the rack as they needs to be lifted high to get it in place. Also, damage can be caused to the vehicle if you are not careful. Depending on the type of rack you buy once the cycles are mounted they should be very secure but one problem might be is that you can’t see them!

Towbar Mounted carriers

A premium option because you need a towbar fitted but these are by far the safest and easiest to use. With a choice of hanging the cycles on or placing them on rails, the range available is quite extensive now. These carriers either fit on a plate mounted behind the towball or clamp directly onto the towball itself. Most carriers will take two cycles up to a maximum of four. If you need to carry any more than four then additional carriers would be needed. We also have carriers for powered cycles.

We hire these cycle carriers as well as roof mount racks and trailers complete with a hard lid and four cycle carriers on top.

Should you have any queries please free to contact us, we have 40 years’ experience in the industry.

New Kartt Jockey Wheel Range

Premium Jockey Wheels by KarttPremium Jockey Wheels


It’s not often that a new range of products appear in trailer industry especially when we hear about good companies like Bradley Doublelock being taken over and their products rapidly becoming discontinued. So it’s nice to see that Kartt have a range of new Jockey wheels and clamps called the Orange range. They are all fitted with a nice bright orange wheel rim, although this doesn’t seem much it is actually quite useful. Most jockey wheels end their life by being accidentally left down or too low to the ground when driving off, they may last a few miles but that’s about it! So when the final checks are done before towing it is quite easy to see that the Jockey wheel is tucked up out of the way.

Kartt Jockey wheel with pneumatic tyre

That’s not the only thing that sets these jockey wheels apart for others, the gauge of steel used in their construction is higher than most with stronger winding handle and wheel holder. They also use higher quality steel bearing and nylon wheel bearing. To finish they are all tested to twice their recommended capacity.

Choosing the right jockey wheel

With many different sizes of jockey wheel available it might seem quite a daunting task to choose the right one.

If you are replacing an existing wheel then the existing clamp six may dictate the jockey wheel required. Then the amount of nose weight and normal terrain would need to need considered. Normally we would say that a light weight trailer up to 500kg gross with a normal loaded trailer nose load of up to 45kg could use a jockey wheel with a 34mm diameter tube, up to 1000kg trailer with a noseload of 75kg a 42mm diameter tube and and over 1000kg with a noseload of over 75kg a 48mm tube.

This is only a guide, so its best to look at the jockey wheel specifications to ensure the figures given are in excess of your trailer requirements.

The serrated or ribbed tubes give a far better grip on the clamp so not only do they take more weight but are less likely to slip. The amount of pressure needed on the clamp handle is usually a lot less as well.

The wheel itself is quite important, if you are likely to use the trailer or caravan on soft ground then a wide rubber tyre or even a pneumatic tyre would be best.  Otherwise the tyre and size of the wheel fitted on most jockey wheels are designed to take the weight they specify.

The full range we have in stock can be seen here and are available to by online or in store from our Exeter branch.




Limited Edition Anniversary Trailer

Continuing our 40th Anniversary celebrations we’re offing a limited edition Anniversary Trailer with many extras as standard, ready to tow away for £499.00 including vat. It’s a mid sized light weight trailer ideal for camping, gardening and general household chores. Maneuverability is easy when using the telecopic jockey wheel included, the removable tail gate makes it easy for loading, emptying and cleaning. It is also equipped with car sized 13″ wheels, so it’s good for long distances. These trailers are in stock and ready to tow away.

So much damage can be caused to a car’s interior when trying to carry awkward, heavy or dirty items, the depreciation or repair costs can easily outweigh the cost of a trailer.

40th Anniversary Trailer from Western Towing

This trailer represents excellent value, it comes complete with a telescopic jockey for easy hitching and unhitching, a flat PVC cover to keep your load nice and dry and a spare wheel mounted on the front just in case you’re very unlucky and get a puncture.

There are other accessories available, all those that fit the Erde 153 also fit this trailer. Should you wish to have one of the high covers instead of the flat cover then that’s no problem, you can easily upgrade.

Anniversary Trailer (rear view) from Western Towing

Trailer Specifications:

A fully galvanised body and chassis fitted with a 650kg galvanised axle and 13″ wheels. The body internal body size is 1435mm (56″) long x 990mm (39″) wide x 320mm (13″) deep. It has a carrying capacity of 520kg and it weighs (with the accessories fitted) 110kg.

This trailer is based on the very popular Erde 143 and 153 trailers, a saving of £182 on the Erde 143 and a massive saving of £412 on the Erde 153.

Customers can either buy online then collect from either our Exeter or Newton Abbot branches or pop in and have a closer look and pay in store.

Easter Hamper Competition Winner

A big congratulations to Kayleigh Ludkin who is the winner of our competition helping us to celebrate our 40th anniversary of supplying towbars, trailers, parts and accessories. Here’s Kayleigh with Mark Saxton (Director) in our Exeter store receiving her wonderful prize of a luxury Easter hamper! Well done and we hope you enjoy!

From us here at Western Towing

Competition Winner from celebrating our 40th anniversary of supplying towbars, trailers, parts and accessories in Exeter Devon


To celebrate our 40th anniversary of supplying towbars, trailers, parts and accessories, we are excited to be running a fabulous free prize draw to win the contents of this trailer, a luxury Easter hamper. As you can see from the photo there’s plenty of lovely chocolate, Easter eggs and some really nice wine!

We are a family run business which started in 1977 supplying and fitting towbars from a house in Teignmouth, Devon. Since then with have established two branches, one in Newton Abbot and the other in Exeter, Devon. With 40 years in the towbar, trailer and caravan industry we’re sure we can help with any information, products and services you require.

Western Towing celebrating 40th anniversary of supplying towbars, trailers, parts and accessories

To enter visit our Facebook Page and see our post regarding this competition – just like, share and comment by Sunday 2nd April.

The lucky winner will be announced on Monday 3rd April and can be collected or delivered just in time for Easter!

Good luck everyone!


Western Towing