Vauxhall vectra towing a Fleetwood Sonata Symphony
by David Gee
I have a Fleetwood Sonata Symphony caravan and was wondering if my vauxhall Vectra 1.8 club 03 would be the ideal car to tow it, need advice before I go and my towbar fitted.
Caravanners use the 85% rule to work out if their car is able to tow the caravan they would like to buy. If you exceed this limit you may end up in a dangerous situation - experienced caravanners know that they should not exceed this limit unless they have a lot of experience and have years of towing experience.
To use the 85% rule to correctly match a caravan with your car you will need:
The car's kerbweight and it's maximum towing weight for a braked trailer (look in your car's handbook for these figures).
Use whichever of the above figures is the lowest to calculate the 85% figure.
Divide the kerbweight (or max tow - whichever is the lowest) by 100 and then multiply this figure by 85.
You should now have a correct 85% match. If you choose a caravan with an MTPLM (maximum technically permitted laden mass -the caravan's weight plus all your caravanning gear) of about the same you should be able to tow safely.
Remember - your caravan dealer will always be able to help you decide what you can tow.
When working out "what can I tow" remember to check the noseweight. Noseweight is the amount of weight which your caravan puts on it's hitch. You can buy a proper noseweight gauge or just use a pair of bathroom scales placed on the ground under the hitch with a piece of wood placed vertically between the hitch and the scales. The caravan's noseweight should be roughly 7% of the caravan's MTPLM. Check your car handbook for it's maximum noseweight.
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