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General Chat Thread, Can I tow a caravan? in General; The DirectGov site is just plain confusing, so can anybody clarify (fact, not guessing) whether I can tow a caravan? ...
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    Hightower's Avatar
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    Can I tow a caravan?

    The DirectGov site is just plain confusing, so can anybody clarify (fact, not guessing) whether I can tow a caravan? I passed my test in 2002 (so obviously after 1997 hehe), and I only have B, B1, f, k, p on my licence.

    Can I tow a caravan upto a certain weight already? Do I have to take a test?

    If I need to take a test, how much do they cost and what is required?

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    bodminman's Avatar
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    The law states that if you have a driving license from before the 1st of January 1997 you can drive any vehicle and trailer combination as long as the combined weight of the vehicles does not exceed 8250kg Maximum Authorised Mass (M.A.M.).* And the towing vehicle’s weight must not exceed 7500kg.

    If you have a full driving license from after 1st January 1997 you may drive a car or lightweight commercial vehicle and tow a caravan but the combined weight must not exceed 4250kg. So the caravan’s weight must not be greater than 750kg, if the car weighs 3000kg. If you wish to tow a caravan above 750kg, you must follow the rule that the combined weight of the vehicle and caravan must not exceed 3500kg. In order to do this the caravan must not have a greater M.A.M. than the unladen weight of the vehicle towing.

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    Hightower's Avatar
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    That just sounds like you copied and pasted from the DirectGov site. I have my licence after 1997 (as my OP stated), and the towing vehicle will be an Astra. The carvan will be around 900kg (I believe, a little 2 berth van). Can I tow it on my licence or do I need to take a test?

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    It looks like it depends on how heavy the Astra is?

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    Hightower's Avatar
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    Well, from what I can gather online:

    it has a kerbweight of 1205kgs
    and a towing capacity of 1150kgs

    And I think the average weight of a small caravan is between 800 and 1000 kgs

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    tech_guy's Avatar
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    I don't recommend guessing as PC Plod can sometimes be a bit anal. An important thing to consider is the laden weight of the caravan. I tow a folding camper with an unladen weight of 450kgs and I was amazed when out of curiosity I took it to the local weigh-bridge fully laden to see how much it weighed with all our stuff in it and it was nearly 800kgs. I was expecting it to be around 550kgs. I think it must have been the beer.

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    bossman's Avatar
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    @Hightower:

    I would say based on the criteria on the Gov site you should be able to tow your caravan based on the combined weights of both the car and the caravan.

    One thing, don't forget you have to count the weight of anything inside the caravan which you add, all your pots and pans and crockery etc etc it all adds weight.

    Happy caravanning @Hightower

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hightower View Post
    That just sounds like you copied and pasted from the DirectGov site. I have my licence after 1997 (as my OP stated), and the towing vehicle will be an Astra. The carvan will be around 900kg (I believe, a little 2 berth van). Can I tow it on my licence or do I need to take a test?
    Nope! Here is the source: What Weight of Caravan Can I Tow? | C4 Caravans Blog

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    Erm based on the kerbweight supplied the answer would be yes.

    Ben

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    rad
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    Okey Dokey, here goes from someone who did the towing test on Tuesday in HT.

    If you intend on towing something, the kerbweight of the towed item must not exceed 85% of the towing vehicle, so on that your Astra cannot tow more than 1020kg, lets say 1 ton. That means the more you put in the caravan to tow, the smaller it will have to be, as said, gas, clothes, pots pans etc.

    So the options are you change to a bigger car or you tow a smaller vehicle.

    As to whether or not you need to do the test - If the towing vehicle weights 2500kg and the towed item is 1500kg that takes you to the 3500kg MAM (gross weight) of the combined so you will need to do the test.

    What does the test involve, as of Feb 2011 -
    1) Eye test - number plate
    2) Safety Questions - see here
    http://www.direct.gov.uk/prod_consum.../dg_170485.pdf
    3) Reverse S turn into a bay stopping the trailer within a 1mtr box section at rear of bay, not going over yellow lines.
    4) 50 Minute drive around roads
    5) Within drive - 10 minute independant drive to XX location signposted.
    6) Return to Test station - Uncouple trailer, move vehicle alongside.
    7) Check Trailer before recoupling and checking lights.

    Thats it, easy you say!! (you no longer do an emergency stop!)

    Then you gain B+E entitlement to tow up to 8 or so ton

  11. 3 Thanks to rad:

    Hightower (28th February 2011), jpaterson (27th February 2011), mac_shinobi (28th February 2011)

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    As stated, gross weight is key here, not kerb weight. Having passed in 2000, I cannot drive anything with a gross train weight of over 3500Kg. The gross weights of both car and caravan should be available fairly easily - the van will have it on the plate on the tow bar.

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    amyr's Avatar
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    Can I just point out that the 85% rule is not actually a law/rule it is an advisory? I passed my driving test in 2001, and have taken the towing test (B+E) as I have access to a large caravan and a large towing vehicle, as well as towing horses and horse trailers.

    So long as caravan mam does not exceed car mam, and both combined gross weight do not exceed 3500kg including all occupants and luggage then you will not need to take the additonal test. Best thing to do is take it down to your local public weighbridge to find out (I'd also take someone with you who passed their test before 1997 so they can drive back if it's over the 3500kg mark). Hope this helps.

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    rad
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    Sorry agreed the 85% is advisary.

    This is a suitable video to highlight the issues....

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    Weighbridge can't measure the gross

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    Quote Originally Posted by amyr View Post
    Best thing to do is take it down to your local public weighbridge to find out (I'd also take someone with you who passed their test before 1997 so they can drive back if it's over the 3500kg mark). Hope this helps.
    I'd get the person to drive it there as well! You would still be breaking the law and get pulled if it was over the limit on the journey there.

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