Choosing the appropriate car to tow your caravan will ensure that your towing experience is enjoyable and relaxed - as well as being safe and legal.
To tow a caravan safely, your towcar needs to be heavier than the fully-laden caravan with sufficient power to maintain steady progress on gradients of up to 1 in 8 (12.5%). Depending on your age, you might need to upgrade your driving licence to tow a larger caravan.
Do I need a special licence to tow a caravan?
Most drivers are legally allowed to tow some form of caravan on their standard licence.
Passed your test before January 1997?
You can drive a car and trailer whose combined weight (Gross Train Weight or GTW) is below 8250kg.
Passed your test after January 1997?
You’ll need to take an additional B+E towing test if you want to drive a car and caravan whose GTW exceeds 3500kg.
What caravan can I tow with my car?
Most of these guidelines concern maximum weight limits for both car and caravan and how to safely load both vehicles.
The most important factor to remember is that the kerbweight (partially laden weight) of the car should at least be equal to and ideally exceed the fully laden weight of the caravan.
It’s important that you safely load both your caravan and your car. For optimum towing performance, we recommend to aim for a maximum towed load of no more than 85% of the car’s kerbweight and never exceed 100%.
For example, if your car weighs 1750kg with a full tank of a fuel and a driver, ideally, your caravan’s maximum laden weight (often referred to as MTPLM – Maximum Technically Permitted Laden Mass) shouldn’t exceed 1487.5kg.
Most cars have upper weight limits determined by the manufacturers and some have restrictions on the maximum weight they may tow.
In their brochures, manufacturers will typically state that their vehicles are capable of towing a load that exceeds our recommended towing ratios. Whilst this would not be illegal, we would not recommend towing anything heavier than the car’s kerbweight.
The connection between weight ratio and stability has been proven through our own testing of cars and caravans, a wealth of member feedback and scientific research. The 85% ratio allows the widest choice of compatible cars and caravans without compromising safety or comfort.
When we perform an outfit match assessment for you, this is usually based on a ‘worst case scenario’ of the car’s kerbweight (i.e. the lightest the car can be) and the caravan’s MTPLM (i.e. the heaviest the caravan can be).