Many modern cars can tow a caravan but how do you work out how heavy a caravan or trailer they can tow?
Attaching your mobile home to your car and travelling the world is something many dream about – not having to worry about accommodation when you arrive at your destination. If this is your dream, then there are some vital things to consider before you make a caravan purchase.
In this article, we look at what a car’s towing capacity is and the guidelines you need to abide by when looking to legally tow using your vehicle.
Most cars can tow caravans – towing capacity of a car means how much weight a car can tow safely and legally.
The thing you must bear in mind is that your car can tow a caravan if the mass of the caravan is 85% or less of your car’s overall curb weight. You can find out your car’s curb weight the the manufacturer’s guide that comes with your car. This will help you work out your car’s towing capability.
If the caravan weight is between 85% and 100% of the car’s curb weight, then you need to be careful – only practised caravanners should use that car to tow such a heavy load as it will not be easy.
You should buy a caravan that weighs less that your car so ensure you know your car’s curb weight before you shop for a caravan. If the caravan is heavier than the car, that car must not be used as a towing vehicle. This calculation is known by specialists as ‘outfit matching’.
It’s not a small ask when you hitch a caravan to your car and expect it to carry the load. You're expecting it to pull something which could potentially weigh almost as much as the car itself, while still manoeuvring the car, keeping up to speed limits and managing hill starts. Plus, you want it to endure the weight, whilst remaining steady and comfortable.
What Car tested several 2019 cars to see which cars came out top for towing a caravan:
A caravan of 2 to 4 berth generally weighs around 800 - 1,300kg, whereas a 4 to 6 berth caravan is of around 1,300 - 1,800kg. The weight and size of a caravan will differ dependent on how many berths, or sleeping parts, the unit holds. The weight and size can also be affected by things like how old it is, the make and model.
If you own a full standard driver's license (category B) and passed your driving test after 1st January 1997 then you can drive a vehicle weighing up to a total of 3.5 tonnes and tow a trailer of up to 750kg. You need to ensure that the total weight of the caravan and the car do not exceed 3,500kg. If it does, then you will need to apply for a BE entitlement.
If you passed your driving test before 1997, then you are allowed to drive a trailer and vehicle with a maximum collective weight of 8.25 tonnes.
Legally, you are not required to own a caravan insurance, but it is recommended.
Buying caravan insurance will protect it against damage or theft. Caravan insurance will cost roughly £150 to protect a caravan to the value of around £9,000 so it is well worth considering.
If you have damaged your car whilst towing a caravan, then whether it is bodywork, or car mechanics and electrics repair, search for an Approved Garage near you. We can help you find a reputable garage in your area.