A GUIDE TO SAFE AND LEGAL TOWING  

HAVING THE RIGHT TOW VEHICLE

The most important aspect of towing safely is having the right vehicle for the job. The main factors to consider are:

• Is the engine large enough to tow the trailer and load?
• Are the brakes powerful enough to stop safely?
• Is the weight distribution correct (between vehicle and trailer)?

The majority of cars have a maximum weight of what they can tow safely. You should be able to find this in your vehicle manufacturer’s handbook. Alternatively, you can visit our towing capacities section.

Also the vehicle’s gross train weight – which is the weight of the fully loaded car plus a fully loaded trailer – may be listed on the vehicle identification number (VIN) plate on your car. The gross train weight must not be exceeded. If the VIN plate does not list a train weight, the vehicle should not be used for towing.

As a guide, the weight of your trailer/caravan – plus any load that it is carrying – should not exceed 85% of the unloaded weight of your towing vehicle.

Please note, the manufacturer’s maximum towing weight should never be exceeded. Police forces use the manufacturers’ limits as their guide.

Our legal section provides information on the maximum widths and lengths for trailers.

Trailers with a plated gross vehicle weight of more than 750 kg must be fitted with breaks. This is the combined weight of the trailer and the maximum load it can carry.

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