Can My Car Tow a Caravan?

Caravan Towing Blog 2 - Cranham Leisuresales Ltd
8th June 2023

Whether you’re towing caravans in Essex or beyond, thanks to Cranham of course, there are certain things you’ll need to know. These include the restrictions and guidance around using your car to tow. In this edition of our blog we’ll explain what these are, and offer guidance for driving safely when towing a caravan.


How Do I Find Out the Weight of My Caravan?

This is relatively simple. The weight of your caravan will be detailed in its handbook, or listed on a plate positioned close to its door frame. If, for some reason, you are unable to access either, you contact the caravan manufacturer, and they should be able to inform you of its weight. Or, if you buy from Cranham, it will be listed in the specification.


How Do I Find Out the Towing Capacity of My Car?

The towing capacity of your car will almost certainly be detailed in its manual or handbook.

If, however, for some reason it is not or if you do not have access to the book, it’s also possible to calculate the towing capacity via the VIN. This is the 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number displayed on a plate or stamped into the chassis. THE VIN is an identification code totally unique to that car, and the plate or stamp also carries weight information. Via simple calculation you can work out the car’s limit for towing. Subtract the weight in line one (the Maximum Allowable Mass) from the weight in line two (the Maximum Trian Mass).

To make it even easier for you, it’s possible to use this towing capacity calculator.


Is There a Weight Limit When Towing Using My Car?

The weight limit for towing a caravan using your car is determined by the result of the calculation we just mentioned in the previous section (or from the details in your car’s handbook / manual).

However, experts recommend using ‘the 85% rule’. This is not legally enforceable, and is just a simple but extremely helpful guide. It suggests that you should only tow at a weight below 85% of the ‘kerb weight’ of the car that is doing the towing. If the caravan weight is at 85% or below that of the towing car, it should handle with relative ease.

If it is above 85% it is more likely to be a challenge, and should only be undertaken by experienced towers. Obviously, if the weight of your caravan is in excess of 100% of the car it is completely unadvisable to tow it at all, however experienced you are as a driver.


Are There Other Things to Consider When I’m Towing with My Car?

When you’re towing anything with your car, it’s important to be aware of not just the weight but the dimensions, too. What you are towing should not exceed 2.55 metres, and should not be longer than 7 metres. However, this length doesn’t include the coupling between your car and the caravan (or trailer).


Tips for Towing a Caravan

  1. Double check your weight calculations and don’t drive if they were wrong
  2. Ensure you have towing mirrors fitted to the towing car
  3. Make sure your driving licence is the correct category
  4. Fill your car up with fuel before hitching and setting off
  5. Make sure the tyres on car and caravan are the right pressure
  6. Make sure the caravan is hitched correctly, including breakaway cable
  7. Ensure the caravan is loaded appropriately


Here at Cranham, we always have a wide variety of caravans for sale in Essex, so that when you are looking for one you’ll have a massive amount of choice. The very best brands and the very best deals – you are sure to find the caravan to suit you when you shop with us. You can see what we have to offer by browsing our website and, should you have any further queries, don’t hesitate to contact us.