Caravanners face numerous challenges. By their very nature, caravans present numerous difficulties that must be overcome by the driver. Obtaining legal and safe rearward vision is a case in point. But one aspect of caravanning that is easy to overlook is whether or not the van’s taillights, brake lights and indicators are operational.
Frankly, we’re probably all guilty of assuming these lights all work as they should – at least until we are pulled over by a police officer to receive a fine or a warning.
That’s why we found the eTow so interesting. This device monitors the functionality of the van’s rear lights and provides a warning to a free smartphone app when a light is faulty. But there is so much more to this product. Read on…
eTow is comprised of a module that is permanently installed in the caravan, and a smartphone app.
First, it allows the caravan user to check the functionality of the caravan’s rear lights remotely. No more relying on someone else to tell you that the right indicator works before you set off.
Simply stand at the back of the van, open the app, and press one of the buttons, whether it’s for the indicators, brake lights, or the taillights. The relevant light on the van will activate, letting you know instantly that the light is operational. This feature is obviously extremely useful for solo caravanners. The module connects to the app using Bluetooth.
Second, should one of these lights fail while you’re underway, eTow will automatically press one of the other lights into service. For example, if the caravan’s right indicator fails, the right brake light will flash when the driver activates the right indicator. Naturally, a warning is sent to the app to alert the driver so that the driver knows to fix the failed light at the first opportunity. However, the functionality of a vehicle’s rear lights are a crucial safety concern that eTow addresses in a smart way.
Additionally, eTow solves another issue that many vanners around Australia face: the need in some states to have an in-cab alert as to the condition of the battery that powers the van’s brake-away braking system. For this to work, the eTow module needs to be wired to the brake-away system, but this is readily achievable by the specialist who installs it.
The app will provide an indication of the brake-away battery’s state of charge and, on top of that, it can be setup to provide the state of the charge of the RV’s house battery.
If all that wasn’t enough, eTow provides yet another feature of crucial safety interest: a tyre pressure monitoring system. It works much the same as other commercially available tyre monitoring systems, with transmitters that are screwed to each tyre’s valve stem. It can be setup to monitor the pressure of each caravan tyre, the tow vehicle’s tyres, and even the van’s spare tyre – great!
The unit can be installed by an auto electrician at your local RV centre but it also comes with comprehensive instructions for DIY installation.
Aside from addressing a serious vehicle-safety issue that many of us don’t tend to think too much about (though we should), what I like the most about eTow is how seamlessly it integrates its various functions. The app is intuitive and uncomplicated. It even features a pre-trip checklist.
I think eTow has a genuine place on the Australian RV market – it is worth considering adding to your van.
RRP: $525.60 (plus GST). Price includes four tyre pressure monitoring transmitters for the caravan. Enquire with your RV specialist for installation costs.
More information: www.e-tow.com.au