Weights and uprating.

Oct 31, 2022
9
12
15
So in my introductory post I did warn you all that I would be asking silly questions, so here goes.
I have a brand new van on order with an MTPLM of 1650 and a payload which is unconfirmed but should be about 190KG of which a mover and battery will take off a fair chunk. There is or was an option to uprate the MTPLM to 1800KG. My tow car will legally tow 2000KG, but obviously with the 85% rule won’t want to get too close to that. My question is should I get the van uprated to 1800KG for free, just in case I ever slip over the 1650KG or if I change tow car in the future I can then use the full 1800KG? Would updating the van mean it would be harder to sell on in the future? Related to that, on the legal side assuming my car could only legally tow 1650 and the van was rated at 1800 but only loaded to say 1500 would I be breaking the law, so in other words is it the actual load being towed that matters or the rating of the van?

Thanks for any insights.
 
Nov 16, 2015
8,982
1,860
30,935
I would go for the free upgrade to 1800 kg alway usefull and probably easier to sell. As for the towing weights I will not state as I am unsure of the legalities.
 
Nov 6, 2005
6,087
1,140
25,935
Get the free upgrade to 1800 kg - and have a self-imposed limit of 1700 kg until you change your car.

The law on car towing limits is that the actual weight of car + trailer mustn't exceed the plated Gross Train Weight.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Milkfloat
Mar 14, 2005
16,002
2,121
50,935
I concur with Roger L regarding the legality of the actual measured weight must not exceed the weight limits of the tow vehicle..

The 85% is not a "rule" it is only guidance and it has no authority in law, but it does support the basis that you should always try to keep the weight of any trailer as small as possible without exceeding any legal limits
 
  • Like
Reactions: Milkfloat
Nov 11, 2009
16,549
4,339
50,935
I would concur with the others views, go for the free upgrade, it may in fact make it a more attractive purchase by someone should you sell the van in future. Yes it’s the towed load that matters not the stated MTPLM, so towing an 1800 kg MTPLM loaded to 1500 kg would not be illegal providing you ensure that the outfits limits for Gross Train Weight and Gross Vehicle Mass are not breached.
 
Last edited:
Oct 31, 2022
9
12
15
As an update, the dealer is going to ask Adria to uprate the plate for me, it seems to be a no brainer and gives us a bit of wriggle room.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Buckman
Nov 11, 2009
16,549
4,339
50,935
As an update, the dealer is going to ask Adria to uprate the plate for me, it seems to be a no brainer and gives us a bit of wriggle room.
Good decision, it’s amazing how payload gets used up. Many modern vans have quite low payloads, but you don’t need to use it all.
 
Mar 14, 2005
16,002
2,121
50,935
With the change to the UK's Cat B driving licence restrictions about a year ago, there really is no need for caravan manufacturers to artificially reduce the plated load weights of their caravans, and the offer it back as an option.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Challenger
May 7, 2012
7,689
1,341
30,935
I would take the upgrade as it looks useful. Ours was only 30kg so not worth the bother.
The standard payload allowance is tight as you say. provided the car can legally tow that weight, it means a far better margin for error if you are stopped,
 
Oct 8, 2006
1,535
380
19,935
As an update, the dealer is going to ask Adria to uprate the plate for me, it seems to be a no brainer and gives us a bit of wriggle room.
I would have a look in the gas locker (on a demo van perhaps?) as that is where the rating plate is usually mounted. The label near the door is just for convenience but has no legal 'weight' (sorry!) - that in the locker does.
 

Mel

Mar 17, 2007
4,862
873
20,935
Go for it. You don’t have to use it and should you sell the van it is an attractive addition. As others have said 85% is not a rule and with towing and loading experience you may well find you are comfortable going a little higher.
Mel
 
Jan 3, 2012
8,396
1,703
30,935
I also think you should take the upgrade as it will come very useful when loading up .
 
Last edited:
Jun 6, 2006
491
10
18,685
With the change to the UK's Cat B driving licence restrictions about a year ago, there really is no need for caravan manufacturers to artificially reduce the plated load weights of their caravans, and the offer it back as an option.
I believe the lower weights are applied to the vans for a wider tow car audience not a license audience
 
Nov 11, 2009
16,549
4,339
50,935
I believe the lower weights are applied to the vans for a wider tow car audience not a license audience
There has been a significant reduction in kerbweights over the past years which combined with awareness of the 85% guidance has led to reduced MTPLM/payloads in U.K. caravans. Perhaps now that EVs are coming along with heavier kerbweights the trend might reverse and applying the 85% guide leads to the confidence to tow a heavier caravan. Albeit the laws of physics relating to available energy still apply. You may not be able to travel so far on your energy reservoir , but boy will you be stable. 😂😂😂

Very much TIC.
 
Mar 14, 2005
16,002
2,121
50,935
I believe the lower weights are applied to the vans for a wider tow car audience not a license audience
That may have been a marketing reason, but it was never a legal reason to prevent choosing a caravan with its full load capacity.

The older driving licence restriction of Cat B (without BE) was the real reason, The reduced MTPLM mad some caravans possible where as if the full load was the figure they would be illegal either exceeding the combined MAM limit of 3500, or becasue the trailer weight might exceed the unladen weight of the tow vehicle.
 
Nov 6, 2005
6,087
1,140
25,935
That may have been a marketing reason, but it was never a legal reason to prevent choosing a caravan with its full load capacity.

The older driving licence restriction of Cat B (without BE) was the real reason, The reduced MTPLM mad some caravans possible where as if the full load was the figure they would be illegal either exceeding the combined MAM limit of 3500, or becasue the trailer weight might exceed the unladen weight of the tow vehicle.
The B licence restriction didn't start until 1997 - the UK caravan industry has provided meagre payloads long before that and has simply continued to do so nothing really to do with the B licence restrictions.
 
May 7, 2012
7,689
1,341
30,935
Did the upgrade on ours.
Went from 1606 kg to 1800kg.
Even with my wife's packing we don't get anywhere near the maximum.
It's just nice to know we don't need to worry about being overloaded
I know the problem with the packing. My wife feels the need to pack for all eventualities including a Winter coat in August and summer outfits for December. he also likes shopping and we always come back heavier than going.
 
  • Like
  • Wow
Reactions: Bluetonic and Hutch
May 12, 2019
93
20
4,585
So in my introductory post I did warn you all that I would be asking silly questions, so here goes.
I have a brand new van on order with an MTPLM of 1650 and a payload which is unconfirmed but should be about 190KG of which a mover and battery will take off a fair chunk. There is or was an option to uprate the MTPLM to 1800KG. My tow car will legally tow 2000KG, but obviously with the 85% rule won’t want to get too close to that. My question is should I get the van uprated to 1800KG for free, just in case I ever slip over the 1650KG or if I change tow car in the future I can then use the full 1800KG? Would updating the van mean it would be harder to sell on in the future? Related to that, on the legal side assuming my car could only legally tow 1650 and the van was rated at 1800 but only loaded to say 1500 would I be breaking the law, so in other words is it the actual load being towed that matters or the rating of the van?

Thanks for any insights.
When I had a business I drove an HGV vehicle and virtually every day I would go on a weighbridge to check the weight of what I was carrying. If I was you once you get your new caravan and its got allyour pots & Pans, TV, bedding etc I would take it to your nearest Weighbridge and get it weighed, you will then know what weight you are towing.
(I did this once with a boat I bought in France and the boat dealer told me the weight of the boat and suggested the type and model of the new trailer they could sell me, which I bought. But to me (as a retired mechanic) the tyres looked flat and I took the boat on trailer to a Weighbridge to find that the dealer had underestimated the weight of the boat and sold me a trailer which legally would not carry the boat I had bought. The boat was 200 kilos over the weight the trailer would carry. In the event of an accident and the Insurance Company found out my claim would be rejected)
You only have to weigh your caravan once and make sure that you dont add too much weight.
 
Nov 11, 2009
16,549
4,339
50,935
I overloaded a French caravan which I thought had a MTPLM of 1000kg with a payload of 240 kg. Unfortunately most of the payload about 200 kg had been used up as the maker had fitted a heavier roof assembly, the imported had fitted cooker, heater, hot water etc plus mover. I weighed it at Brecon and was shocked to discover the overload not far off the 240kg I thought I had. . As I wanted to see how it towed at full load. Fortunately the tyres were able to take 1250 kg. I had a measured drive home and then sold the caravan. However it did tow beautifully 😂
 
Last edited:
Oct 8, 2006
1,535
380
19,935
I would advise the OP to have a look at the axle label (which should coincide with the main weight label in the gas locker) to ensure the rating of the axle. The label (stick-on) is usually on the nearside or centre of the back of the axle body, although I have seen it in the same area but underneath. The easiest way is to take a small compact camera (preferably NOT a phone camera) so that you can reach under the van and take a picture without having to physically be able to read it.
I suggest this as the implication is that this is a single axle van which must be pretty darn big to have a MPTLM in excess of 1600Kg, and there are not many (if any?) British built vans that are single axle and as heavy as that. On the other hand, buy any Adria or similar it will come with an axle rated at least 1800kg - or more if the MTPLM requires it.
The OP should also look at the rating of his vehicle per its towing capability. Find the label (usually low down on the B pillar) and there will be two numbers at the top, one much bigger than the other. (The other two numbers marked 1 and 2 are the front and rear axle limits respectively.) The bigger number is the Gross Train Weight (GTW) and the smaller is the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW). Subtracting the smaller from the bigger will give the maximum towing weight. I have seen figures for our Passat Estate of 2000kg towing weight (and on one occasion 2300kg, both on VW documents) but doing the above calculation shows it to be legally rated to tow 1825kg!
The OP should also confirm the noseweight of the caravan (the weight it imposes on the towball) and the maximum weight the towbar can take and the maximum the car chassis can take. Whichever is the lowest of these latter two is the weight to which the noseweight of the caravan must be balanced (by internal loading) to not be exceeded.
 
Last edited:
Mar 14, 2005
9,456
428
30,935
lutzschelisch.wix.com
I would advise the OP to have a look at the axle label (which should coincide with the main weight label in the gas locker) to ensure the rating of the axle. The label (stick-on) is usually on the nearside or centre of the back of the axle body, although I have seen it in the same area but underneath. The easiest way is to take a small compact camera (preferably NOT a phone camera) so that you can reach under the van and take a picture without having to physically be able to read it.
I suggest this as the implication is that this is a single axle van which must be pretty darn big to have a MPTLM in excess of 1600Kg, and there are not many (if any?) British built vans that are single axle and as heavy as that. On the other hand, buy any Adria or similar it will come with an axle rated at least 1800kg - or more if the MTPLM requires it.
The OP should also look at the rating of his vehicle per its towing capability. Find the label (usually low down on the B pillar) and there will be two numbers at the top, one much bigger than the other. (The other two numbers marked 1 and 2 are the front and rear axle limits respectively.) The bigger number is the Gross Train Weight (GTW) and the smaller is the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW). Subtracting the smaller from the bigger will give the maximum towing weight. I have seen figures for our Passat Estate of 2000kg towing weight (and on one occasion 2300kg, both on VW documents) but doing the above calculation shows it to be legally rated to tow 1825kg!
The OP should also confirm the noseweight of the caravan (the weight it imposes on the towball) and the maximum weight the towbar can take and the maximum the car chassis can take. Whichever is the lowest of these latter two is the weight to which the noseweight of the caravan must be balanced (by internal loading) to not be exceeded.
I see little point in checking the axle rating as I don't know of any caravan where the axle rating is less than the MTPLM. Consequently, the axle rating is not a limiting factor.

Subtracting the GVW from the Gross Train Weight does not necessarily give you the towing limit. Some models have towing limits that are greater than the difference between these two figures. The Passat Estate quoted above is a good example. The legal towing limit is not the stated 1825kg but it is what VW specify. However, it would not be possible to make full use of 2000kg or 2300kg and at the same time the GVW without at the same time exceeding the GTW, and that would be illegal.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ProfJohnL
Oct 31, 2022
9
12
15
Thanks for everyone’s comments. The van in question is an Adria Altea, which is single axle. The tow car is a BMW X3, which legally can tow 2400kg. I still aim to run the van at 1650kg, but have asked for the uprating to 1800kg just in case I ever stray over.
 
Nov 11, 2009
16,549
4,339
50,935
Thanks for everyone’s comments. The van in question is an Adria Altea, which is single axle. The tow car is a BMW X3, which legally can tow 2400kg. I still aim to run the van at 1650kg, but have asked for the uprating to 1800kg just in case I ever stray over.
A good decision which gives you more flexibility and if you decide to change the caravan at some stage makes it potentially more attractive to buyers. Assuming of course they understand that MTPLM is an upper limit and like yourself they don’t have to use all of it. 😄
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts