- Determine your maximum towing weight
- What can my car tow in terms of width and length?
- What is the maximum towing capacity of my car (Tow Match Service)?
- Is it possible for me to tow a caravan?
- Towing a caravan is allowed, but is it safe?
It’s critical to ensure that you can legally tow your caravan. Failure to match the weights of your car and caravan correctly could result in a hefty fine, points on your license, and even put your life and the lives of others in danger. You must ensure that your vehicle is capable of towing a caravan and that the caravan’s mass does not exceed what you can lawfully tow.
We’ve put together some towing capacity tips that can enable even the most experienced caravanner tow such a hefty piece of goods as safely as possible. This guide covers all you need to know about towing and provides practical advice and ideas for determining your car’s towing capacity so you can tow safely.
- The gross vehicle weight is shown on the first line (GVW). This is the vehicle’s overall maximum weight. Do not exceed this weight limit when loading the car.
- The gross train weight is shown on the second line (GTW). This is the maximum combined weight of the vehicle, caravan, and load. Do not exceed this weight with the car and trailer/caravan.
- The maximum front axle load is shown on the third line (MFAL). This is the maximum dispersed weight that the vehicle’s front axle can support.
- The maximum rear axle load is shown on the fourth line (MRAL). This is the maximum dispersed weight that the vehicle’s rear axle can support.
Determine your maximum towing weight
Simply subtract the gross vehicle weight (GVW) from the gross train weight to determine the maximum weight your vehicle can tow (GTW).
This is the absolute maximum towing capacity of your vehicle. Towing more than this weight puts your life and the lives of others in danger, and it might result in a hefty fine and points on your license.
What can my car tow in terms of width and length?
While it’s common knowledge that all cars have a maximum towing capacity that must be met legally, a lesser-known truth regarding towing is that your vehicle must also meet legal width and length requirements.
The following are the two rules that apply to all cars, regardless of their power or size:
- The maximum width for towing is 2.55 metres.
- A maximum towing length of 7 metres is allowed.
To calculate the entire width and length of the car and caravan/trailer together, consult a vehicle manual. You can also use a tape measure to double-check your measurements.
What is the maximum towing capacity of my car (Tow Match Service)?
You’ll need to utilize a professional tow match service if you can’t find your VIN plate or want to double-check that your car and caravan/trailer are legally compliant.
A tow match service can calculate your towing capacity in only a few clicks thanks to its access to over 1 billion VIN plates.
The Tow Truck Ireland recently collaborated with Towsafe to provide you with affordable and convenient access to the Towsafe match service.
All you need to get started is your vehicle registration number, which will give you access to your vehicle’s weight and towing capacity.
Remember that if your costume is mismatched, you could be pulled over, fined £1000, and have three points applied to your license. Take precautions. Don’t break the law.
Is it possible for me to tow a caravan?
Because the legality of towing a caravan is rather murky, it’s critical that you read this section carefully. Depending on when you completed your driver’s test, different rules apply. These are the following:
From the 1st of January 1997, licenses have been issued.
If you passed your car driving test on or after January 1, 1997, you are eligible for the following benefits:
- Operate a car or van with a maximum permissible mass of 3,500kg (MAM).
- Tow a trailer weighing more than 750kg MAM as long as the trailer and towing vehicle’s combined weight (MAM) does not exceed 3,500kg.
- The acronym MAM stands for’maximum authorised mass.’ This is the total weight of the car, trailer (caravan), and contents of the trailer.
The maximum permissible mass of your caravan and car is unlikely to be less than 3500kg in most circumstances. If this is the case, passing the car and trailer driving exam is required before towing a caravan.
Prior to January 1, 1997, licenses were issued.
If you passed your car test before January 1, 1997, you are eligible to:
- Operate a vehicle and trailer combination with a maximum towing capacity of 8,250kg MAM. Check the details on your driver’s license.
- Operate a minibus with a trailer weighing more than 750kg MAM.
You must pass an additional car and trailer driving exam if you want to drive anything heavier than 8,250kg.
So, are I able to tow a caravan?
- If you passed your car driving test on or after January 1, 1997, and you want to tow a caravan that weighs more than 3,500kg, you must undergo a car and trailer driving exam.
- If you passed your car’s license before January 1, 1997, you can tow a caravan with a maximum permissible mass of 8,250kg.
Towing a caravan is allowed, but is it safe?
In addition to the stated licensing and weight regulations for towing a caravan, there are a number of other laws that must be followed when towing a caravan. These are some of them:
- Towbars must comply with EU type approval rules.
- On a single carriageway, do not exceed the 50mph speed limit.
- On dual carriageways, do not exceed the 60mph speed limit.
- Never drive a caravan with passengers in it.
- At the back of your caravan, your number plate and registration number must be readily visible.
- Make sure your back lights are on and visible. Before you go behind the wheel, double-check all of your vehicle’s lights.
- Your caravan must have a working brake system if it weighs more than 750kg.