What Can I Tow ?

What Can I Tow - 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.

What Can I 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.

There are a few things you can do to keep your caravans weight down and to keep it safe when towing -

  • Don't take two gas bottles if you only need one, and remember you can buy filled gas bottles in many places nowadays and also on some campsites.
  • If you need a bicycle while on holiday, try to hire one there rather than taking your own.
  • Don't leave your water heater and toilet flush tank full when travelling.
  • Don't overload your caravan with food - only take enough for the first night.
  • Don't take enough clothes for two weeks as most campsites now have a laundrette on site.
  • Domestic pots, pans, etc, are a lot heavier than the special caravan kit you can buy.
  • Buy some multi-use tools rather than taking a full set.

If you would like more information on what your Driving Licence allows you to tow, please click here.

If you would like to review our "What Can I Tow" Page or if you have any tips or ideas on lightening the load in your caravan, please let us know.

We know these facts and figures are rather confusing - once you have worked out the correct figure which you can tow, you can start looking for your caravan. Your caravan dealer should always be able to help you with this.

If you would like more safety information, specifically about caravan tyres, please click here.

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