Welcome to Tow3500
Are you new to caravanning? Are you thinking of buying your first caravan?
It can seem daunting when confronted with choosing a tow car, finding out what you can tow with your car, what you can tow with your licence, if you can tow a large enough caravan for your family, and that’s all before you’ve even got behind the wheel and have attached something the size of your living room behind you!
If you are under 40 and have a standard car driving licence you may not be aware that you are limited to towing a combined car and caravan weight of 3,500kg.
This site is about towing a family-sized caravan with a standard UK car driving licence whilst staying within the 3500kg weight limit.
You might be thinking “three and a half tonnes, that’s not a problem” but a typical family car weighs over 2000kg (laden) and a typical family caravan weighs around 1500kg, so there is a fine line to navigate to make sure you are under the 3500kg maximum.
Most caravan magazines quote the car’s unladen weight (for the “85% rule” matching purposes), but this is not the weight we need to be concerned about.
The weight you need to check is the Gross Vehicle Weight( GVW) which is the maximum laden weight of the car, and is typically 500-700kg more than the unladen weight, so a car unladen at 1500kg will typically have a Gross weight of 2000-2200kg.
Cars with a GVW of 2000kg or less able to tow a 1500kg caravan are few and far between – you will find them here, as they are our “gold-dust”!
If you passed your driving test after 1997 (most people under 40) you will have a maximum allowable towing limit available to you of 3500kg for car and caravan combined.
If you passed your test before 1st Jan 1997 you automatically received the “plus trailer” (E) classification, enabling you to tow up to a combined 8,250kg (congratulations you have it easy!)
I am going to discuss driving on a standard car licence (B) passed since 1997 without the need to pass another test.
To tow more than 3500kg (car and caravan combined) you will need to pass an extra driving test to give you a B+E classification (sometimes called a Car and Trailer test).
It is quite possible to tow a reasonably sized caravan with a car licence but you do need to be careful and knowledgeable about the vehicle’s weights, including (for your car) Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), Gross Train Weight (GTW), and it’s Towing Limit, and for your caravan, Mass in Running Order (MRO) and Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass (MTPLM).
It is increasingly becoming a problem as has been highlighted in the news recently http://www.telegraph.co.uk/cars/advice/licensed-to-tow/
Don’t worry if this seems like technical gibberish, all will become clear!