Tow car safety / caravan weight increases

Mar 14, 2005
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I bet I'm not alone in my horror at reading in this forum people asking if they can tow heavy caravans with little cars. Surely on the layout section of this website there should be the rough rule of thumb . Max tow Family car = 2 berth or light 4 berth. Heavy car = 4 berth. 4wd = twin axle. I partly blame the manufacturers I have owned 3 of the same Swift model, 4 berth rear bathroom that has gone from 1994/1150 KG to 2002/1300 KG to 2004/1435 KG. The manufacturers don't seem to be making quality large light weights . The Bailey front bunks are too short. The lunar gas locker floor, I've seen stronger plastic bags. Your thoughts?
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello James, I think you have probably answered your own question: Both car and caravan manufacturers have consistently changed the weights of thier products, thus any formula such as you suggest would soon become inaccurate, and if people continued to use it, they would be in danger being illegal or unsafe. Even different versions of the same model can have signifcant difference in theier weights or capabilities. The method used to suggest suitable matches at present is far from perfect but it does take the relevant criteria of individual model weights into account. In general the 100/85% car to caravan weight ratio guideline does work.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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As desirable as your easy rule of thumb may be, it is, unfortunately, too simplistic to apply in the real world. There are small light cars with high permissible towloads and heavy cars with abnormally low towloads. In the first case, it's up to the owner to decide how far he or she wants to make use of the technical capability of the towing vehicle, bearing in mind its performance and any recommended or desirable safety margin. In the latter case, the limit is set by the manufacturer and one has little or no way of influencing the limit of what one may tow. Then, to complicate matters further, some cars are more sensitive to towing than others. Also, some caravans also tow better than others. In other words, weight isn't everything although the prime assumption is always that the weight distribution of the caravan is correct in the first place. There's just no way round treating each outfit on a case-by-case basis. The law's the law, so one must always use actual figures. Rough rules of thumb are just not good enough.
 

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