TÜV GS Certification: What is it?
Last summer we received our European Union certification from TÜV for two of our tow ball style racks. But what exactly does that mean? We asked Todd, our Test Engineer, to explain the importance of this certification.
The Freedom Towball Mounted 2-bike rack undergoing testing at the TÜV testing facility in Italy.
According to Todd, in order to sell product in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the product must be certified to the GS standard by one of the TÜV organizations. TÜVs are an independent third-party test laboratory organization based in Germany. Everything from bicycle carrying car racks to umbrellas are certified with a TÜV GS mark.
The physical testing of the bike racks involves static, dynamic and weathering/aging tests. For static loading, once the rack is mounted on the 50mm tow ball, loads are applied to the rack in each axis (based upon the rated carrying capacity of the rack). Dynamic tests include vibration testing in each axis (seen in the very top image) and emergency stopping from 50 km/hour. Additionally, the load-bearing plastic and rubber components are subject to weathering and aging tests with exposure to UV and moisture. The racks as a whole are subjected to a corrosion-resistance test with exposure to a neutral salt spray.
Our Thelma Towball Mounted 3-bike car rack passed all the TÜV GS tests, including this one which pulls the bikes from all angles.
Other items inspected on the racks are proper duplication of the vehicle’s tail lights (brake lights) and registration plate, no sharp or protruding corners and user manual content. The decals on the rack are even tested for adhesion and printing durability.
All of our European hitch racks includes a lightboard and license plate holder to comply with European Union standards.
The majority of the testing was done at TÜV SUD Italia, near Turin, Italy. Other portions of the testing were done by accredited labs in Chicago, Illinois, and Delafield, Wisconsin.