The NCC TowCheck has been created to provide you with help and advice on:
- - The safe matching of caravans to cars
- - What you need to take into account before towing a caravan
- - Good driving techniques so you can tow with confidence
- - A calculation report of caravan weight to car weight for safe towing.
If you have limited towing experience you should not tow a caravan that exceeds 85% of the kerb weight of a car. However, this is not a legal restriction. If this limit is exceeded we recommend a reduction in payload until your towing experience is more extensive.
If you have extensive towing experience it is acceptable to tow a caravan up to 100% of the kerb weight of a car. Anything over 100% may invalidate your insurance. If 100% is exceeded we recommend a reduction in the caravan payload to keep within 100%.
If you did not pass your driving test BEFORE
January 1997, to tow legally you cannot exceed a combination weight of 3500kg and you will require specific advice based on the weights of the towing vehicle and the caravan. To exceed this limit you must take a separate test to gain entitlement to category B+E.
For further information on driving licence categories and what you can drive and tow, please visit www.gov.uk/driving-licence-categories
Gross Train Weight
This is the sum of the car's gross vehicle weight and the caravan's Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass (MTPLM), expressed as a percentage of the car’s Gross Train Weight (GTW). Values up to 100% are acceptable. Values over 100% can result in prosecution. Please choose a combination that remains under the vehicle trainweight.
The caravan noseweight is the downwards force on the car’s towball and it varies depending on how the caravan is loaded. The caravan’s noseweight should be as heavy as possible, but not exceed the limits of the following:
- - The car manufacturer's maximum towbar load
- - The caravan coupling hitch limit (usually stamped on the hitch)
- - The tow bar manufacturer's limit
For stable towing this figure should be in the range of 5-7% of the MTPLM of the caravan. It is permissible to go a little higher provided that the limits above are not exceeded. The user may need to experiment with loading to establish one which gives the best result. It is desirable to check the noseweight with a suitable gauge before each trip.The caravan should be level when the measurement is taken.
The fitting of options will reduce the payload available for other items - e.g. a mover by approx. 35kg (70kg where two are fitted on a twin axle caravan).
You must ensure that:
- - The car’s Gross Vehicle Weight is not exceeded
- - The caravan’s MTPLM is not exceeded
- - The caravan’s actual laden weight does not exceed the car's kerb weight
- - The combined actual laden weight of the car and caravan does not exceed the car’s Gross Train Weight.