VW Golf estate towing capacity

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Mar 14, 2005
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That being the case, could a prosecution hold where the trailer was loaded within the "Type Approval" [real MTPLM], but above the UK van makers downgraded, plated MTPLM ?
I think you are mixing up terms here. What you call "downgraded MTPLM" is not a plated figure at all. At least it doesn't satisfy the conditions applicable to a statutory weight plate. It is nothing more than a label applied for marketing purposes only. So long as there is a statutory plate located elsewhere on the vehicle one could not be prosecuted for removing it. As I said, whether the lower figure is accepted as valid is at the discretion of the officer in charge. Whether it holds up in court is for the court to decide, but from my perspective it would be difficult to provide a convincing argument.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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That being the case, could a prosecution hold where the trailer was loaded within the "Type Approval" [real MTPLM], but above the UK van makers downgraded, plated MTPLM ?
This is an area that is unclear as Lutz has suggested. But what is definitely an issue for B entitlement licence holders is, if, for example, the caravanner has a car with GVW of 2110kg, they may have opted for a caravan with a stated MTPLM of 1350kg giving a combined MAM of 3460kg, which does not exceed the3500kg limit, is fine.

But if the manufacturers MTPLM figure has been artificially suppressed and the trailer chassis has an real MAM of 1400kg axle caravan that gives a combined figure of 3510kg and is above the B entitlement threshold. As a result there could be some drivers who are unwittingly driving without the correct licence.

I do not know how the law would deal with this scenario.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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You are getting a little mixed up here.

To be prosecuted for an Overload offence, the suspect vehicle or outfit has to be weighed, and one or more weight limits must have been exceeded. If no weight limits have been exceeded they cannot prosecute an overload offence as no "Overload" has occurred.

Applying that logic to your scenario - where a car cannot pull more than 1600kg , the measured weight on the trailers road wheel must not exceed 1600kg. The MTPLM is a weight limit or capability, it is not a measured weight, so provided the trailer is only part loaded and does not exceed 1600kg on its road wheels an overweight offence has not been committed.

However driving licences are different, and that is where the mathematical sum of the tow vehicle and trailers MAM would be used and no measurement is necessary - that would result in a no licence to drive the vehicle offence not an "overload" offence. But this is an area the Govn't has vowed to change- see other threads.
Great answer and thanks for clarifying. However just to get my head around it, in the case of a caravan if the caravan exceeds its MTPLM by i.e. 50kg, but is still within the limits of the tyre load and under the gross maximum axle weight, would the DVSA be able to prosecute?
 
Jan 31, 2018
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Have a look at the recent claims from if you think my advice irresponsible-how many accidents are due to an outfit overcoming a car-not even registered on caravanguards claim-road accidents are as I fully suspected-due mostly to detachments, blow outs or wheels falling off-check those torques folks!
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Great answer and thanks for clarifying. However just to get my head around it, in the case of a caravan if the caravan exceeds its MTPLM by i.e. 50kg, but is still within the limits of the tyre load and under the gross maximum axle weight, would the DVSA be able to prosecute?
The short answer is "yes", but whether they would under such circumstances is another thing.
 
Jan 31, 2018
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Simply again-to be within the law your caravan should not exceed the MTPLM nor should it exceed the manufacturer rated tow capacity of the car.
 
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Simply again-to be within the law your caravan should not exceed the MTPLM nor should it exceed the manufacturer rated tow capacity of the car.
To be absolutely correct, it’s not the MTPLM nor the actual actual total weight of the caravan which should not exceed the tow capacity of the car, but its actual axle load. However, even that is not legally enforceable so long as the gross train weight limit is not exceeded. It does have implications with respect to manufacturer’s product liability, though.
 
May 7, 2012
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This is a debateable point and there is no clear answer to the question of if the caravan is over the caravan makers MTPLM but under the chassis limit and all other things are in order is it overloaded. I cannot find that this has ever been tested in court and no one has shown me a report on this. Quite simply if you are between the two but the caravan maker will upgrade the limit without any change how can a prosecution prove that it was overloaded. I suspect that very point is why you do not get prosecutions, as with the courts full of more straightforward cases why prosecute a debateable one.
On our caravan the chassis weight is shown on the plate along with the MTPLM so that would probably confuse any one checking it and even the dealers had got it wrong. I would not suggest you go over the MTPLM but you can point out what in fact is the maximum weight for the chassis and I doubt you will get prosecuted. Having said that on ours the difference is only 30 kg which is unlikely to produce a figure large enough to warrant action, but others have far more. .
 
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Jan 31, 2018
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As I said=so complicated as to be unworkable for a beginner with little or no interest in the subject-hence my ramblings which might not be exactly law or clear but within the law!
 
Mar 14, 2005
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This is a debateable point and there is no clear answer to the question of if the caravan is over the caravan makers MTPLM but under the chassis limit and all other things are in order is it overloaded. I cannot find that this has ever been tested in court and no one has shown me a report on this. Quite simply if you are between the two but the caravan maker will upgrade the limit without any change how can a prosecution prove that it was overloaded. I suspect that very point is why you do not get prosecutions, as with the courts full of more straightforward cases why prosecute a debateable one.
On our caravan the chassis weight is shown on the plate along with the MTPLM so that would probably confuse any one checking it and even the dealers had got it wrong. I would not suggest you go over the MTPLM but you can point out what in fact is the maximum weight for the chassis and I doubt you will get prosecuted. Having said that on ours the difference is only 30 kg which is unlikely to produce a figure large enough to warrant action, but others have far more. .
The chassis limit is only of any relevance to the caravan manufacturer, not to the end user. What the former deems to be the limit as a Stage 2 manufacturer takes precedence over anything that the chassis manufacturer (Stage 1 build) specifies. The caravan manufacturer must display his own plate with the type approval number and the MTPLM quoted in the related type approval documentation and that is what the law requires.
The Stage 2 manufacturer is quite at liberty to specify an MTPLM well below the chassis limit, but it's his MTPLM which counts. In the case of a custom built special purpose HGV trailer it is quite conceivable that the difference could be several tonnes.
A change in MTPLM always involves a technical change. If it doesn't then one of the two MTPLMs will not be in agreement with the type approval documentation.
The weight plate, is after all, only a summary of the pertinent details in the type approval document and it's that document that has the final say, although, of course, the plate and the document must agree.
 
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I totally agree with Lutz on this point, however there is a real problem in the UK (and possibly elsewhere) because the data plates fixed by some of the manufacturers apparently do not comply with statutory requirements and thus are not enforceable.

And that might have given some B only licence holders a problem as I outlined previously in comment #52.

Who is to blame for this mess of inadequate clarity - legally its each individual manufacturer as they are supposed to issue compliant documentation and labels etc, but also highly culpable is the NCC, who have interfered by trying to set load margins based on the e number of berths, and their insistence that NCC members should apply the NCC logo with the NCC calculated MTPLM.

Whilst I'll give the NCC the benefit of the doubt that when this process was developed it was done so to try and organise what was a cottage industry, but information and processes the NCC has been involved in producing and disseminating has made these points so difficult for many customers to understand its become a farce.

It about time the NCC revised all their advice to manufacturers and end users to directly comply with the statutory requirements, rather than offering alternative unclear information or advise with sometimes is incompatible with the regulatory requirements.

The advice should be concise, using criteria that are formally contained in the type approval information specific to that model of car or caravan, and to be used in such a way it cannot lead to an illegal conclusions. E.g. advised weight ratio's that exceed the tow vehicles load limits, and MTPLM values that mislead owners about what they have purchased - which for B licence holder might actually be beyond their licences limits. And making money for nothing when it comes to increasing MTPLM's for a payment.
 
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Just to add a note to the Prof's last reply. Things would probably be a lot clearer if the type approval document which must, by law, be issued for each caravan, were passed on to the owner. It is unfortunate that this is not the norm in the UK. On the Continent, on the other hand, the owner needs the document in order to be able to register his caravan. As this is not the case in the UK, the type approval document seems to be withheld by the manufacturer or the dealer. With this document one would know without any doubt what the MTPLM of one's caravan is.
 
May 7, 2012
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My point though is that if you were taken to court for a weight above the MTPLM but below that the caravan maker will allow with no modification how can the caravan be overloaded and this point may be why we can never find a report of any prosecution. I would admit though that in most cases the difference between the two is so narrow that a warning is likely to be given and possibly you having to shift something to the car. As I said earlier mine is only 30 kg so anything in between the two would be very small in percentage terms less than 2%.
You would also have the possibility of someone pointing out that the identical model for the next year with the same chassis had lost 55 kg off the MTPLM. Given the fact that nothing had changed, other than the colour of the soft furnishings, how could that later model be overloaded when mine was not?
 
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My point though is that if you were taken to court for a weight above the MTPLM but below that the caravan maker will allow with no modification how can the caravan be overloaded and this point may be why we can never find a report of any prosecution. I would admit though that in most cases the difference between the two is so narrow that a warning is likely to be given and possibly you having to shift something to the car. As I said earlier mine is only 30 kg so anything in between the two would be very small in percentage terms less than 2%.
You would also have the possibility of someone pointing out that the identical model for the next year with the same chassis had lost 55 kg off the MTPLM. Given the fact that nothing had changed, other than the colour of the soft furnishings, how could that later model be overloaded when mine was not?
But you wouldn't be above what the caravan maker will allow. It's displayed on the statutory plate. Anything below that can't be an MTPLM even if it is called that. There can only be one Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass. If it's less it can't be a maximum.
 
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So the question really should be is why isn't the type approval certificate supplied with each caravan?
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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So the question really should be is why isn't the type approval certificate supplied with each caravan?
"Our" ignorance in knowing the relevance in having it, so not ensuring we receive it?
Personally, I will ensure we do, if there is a next time.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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"Our" ignorance in knowing the relevance in having it, so not ensuring we receive it?
Personally, I will ensure we do, if there is a next time.
The customer has, by law, a right to receive a copy of the CoC relating to his vehicle from the manufacturer.
I see that there is a company (EuroCoC) which offers to obtain certificates of conformity upon application at a price although it should be made available to the vehicle owner automatically and free of charge as a matter of course (see quote out of the regulation 2018/858 below). It is impossible to register a vehicle on the Continent without it.

The certificate of conformity in paper format shall be delivered free of charge to the buyer, together with the vehicle. Its delivery may not be made dependent on an explicit request or on the submission of additional information to the manufacturer.
 
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Jul 18, 2017
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The customer has, by law, a right to receive a copy of the CoC relating to his vehicle from the manufacturer.
I see that there is a company (EuroCoC) which offers to obtain certificates of conformity upon application at a price although it should be made available to the vehicle owner automatically and free of charge as a matter of course (see quote out of the regulation 2018/858 below). It is impossible to register a vehicle on the Continent without it.

The certificate of conformity in paper format shall be delivered free of charge to the buyer, together with the vehicle. Its delivery may not be made dependent on an explicit request or on the submission of additional information to the manufacturer.
Perhaps it is because in Britain it appears that under current legislation a trailer is not regarded as a vehicle as it is not self propelled? From what I understand a CoC is issued for the first caravan to be manufactured and then that CoC gives all others "grandfather" rights similar to Boeing aeroplanes?
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Perhaps it is because in Britain it appears that under current legislation a trailer is not regarded as a vehicle as it is not self propelled? From what I understand a CoC is issued for the first caravan to be manufactured and then that CoC gives all others "grandfather" rights similar to Boeing aeroplanes?
No, the CoC is issued specifically for each vehicle and references the respective chassis number.
 
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I was referring to caravans and the CoC issued by the NCC probably has no legal standing?
The NCC cannot issue the statutory CoC's because they are not the manufacturer - However in the UK the NCC has its own trade standards and it may issue its own CoC confirming a caravan design meets with its own standards, but it cannot be a confirmation of compliance with the law.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Perhaps it is because in Britain it appears that under current legislation a trailer is not regarded as a vehicle as it is not self propelled? From what I understand a CoC is issued for the first caravan to be manufactured and then that CoC gives all others "grandfather" rights similar to Boeing aeroplanes?
There are two terms which need to be considered.

A Vehicle is a means of transport for people or goods when used on the public highways as such a caravan would fall into this category.

A Motor Vehicle is a means of self propelled transport for people or goods when used on the public highways,

When a trailer is hitched to a tow vehicle the whole outfit is a motor vehicle, which is why your car insurance covers the trailer whilst it it hitched.
 
May 7, 2012
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But you wouldn't be above what the caravan maker will allow. It's displayed on the statutory plate. Anything below that can't be an MTPLM even if it is called that. There can only be one Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass. If it's less it can't be a maximum.
I do take what you say ,but the problem can be the people doing the road side checks who may not agree and the possibility of prosecution if they insist on the caravan makers figure. . The problem is also if they say you are over the MTLPM they can stop you moving on even if you are right and they are wrong. It is a minefield that is not easily sorted, unless the caravan makers use the chassis limit. Some makers quote an MTPLM which is stupidly low which could store up trouble for the users. .
 

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