What Can I Tow?The Law
To make a legal match of your towing vehicle and caravan, you have to know the total permissible braked trailer weight of your tow vehicle.
This is the maximum weight your vehicle can tow, set by the manufacturer. It can sometimes be a surprising figure. Cars which look big and heavy may have a low tow limit. Some People carriers in particular have low limits.
If your vehicle has a maximum braked trailer weight of 1500 kgs, the Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass (MTPLM) of your caravan must not exceed this figure. It is irrelevant that the caravan may not be loaded to its maximum; this is figure that is legally permissible.
If it is exceeded by 1Kg the outfit will be illegal and insurance will be invalid.
If you passed your driving test after 1997 you are not entitled to tow the same weight of caravan as someone who passed pre 1997
Post 1997 a licence will allow a gross train weight of no more than 3500Kg's. The tow vehicle's MTPLM must not exceed the ex-works weight of the tow car.
Visit the towing trailers page of the government website to find out what you are entitled to tow.
This is best practice, if you are inexperienced at towing a caravan. The MTPLM of you caravan should be 85% of the Cars kerb weight.( the car, 90% full of fuel ,all the fluids needed to run the car, 68Kg for the driver and 7kg of luggage)
If you have a caravan divide the MTPLM by 85 then multiply by 100, this will give you the minimum kerb weight of the vehicle.
If you have a car, divide the kerb weight by 100 then multiply by 85, this will give you the caravans maximum MTPLM to achieve the 85% figure.
The 85% rule is ideal if it can be achieved. However, it does limit the choice available to you when looking for a caravan, unless you have anything less than a large 4x4.
A caravan with MTPLM of 1300 kg’s would need a vehicle with an ex-works weight of 1530 kg’s this is a large vehicle with a relatively small caravan.
A more experienced caravanner may go to 100%, providing that the figure does not exceed the total permissible braked trailer weight of the vehicle.
It is not recommended to exceed this figure as an outfit may become unstable.
It won't be very often when the caravan is being towed fully laden with the vehicle in kerb weight state. However it can occur, it is best to load the vehicle and not the caravan as much as possible, in real terms this will get you closer to the 85% figure.
It is also important to load the caravan correctly.
Put all the heavy items over the axle; achieve the correct nose weight when possible. Insure the caravan is level when attached to the vehicle.
Visit www.whattowcar.com to get a match for your vehicle