When we’re in the market for a new vehicle it’s customary to take into account its looks, level of comfort and fuel economy, as well as other factors like safety and handling, before we even contemplate signing the dotted line.
But if you intend to use it to tow a caravan, boat, trailer etc., you must do your research. Otherwise you might find out on the wrong part of your holiday that your SUV can’t tow 3000 kilograms of caravan after all. Sometimes the towing limits change with specification levels, tow bar type, engine or transmission choice and with model updates.
Before purchasing the vehicle you need to understand a few things:
- the legal requirements for towing;
- the manufacturer’s recommended towing specifications;
- the vehicle’s towbar specifications – many manufacturers offer different levels of towing ability depending on the tow bar package purchased.
Did the dealer explain the towing capacity when the trailer is braked or unbraked?
Most vehicles are able to tow up to 750kg without the need for brakes to be fitted to the trailer. However, if you do want to tow a caravan, boat, horse float or trailer that weighs more, it will need to be fitted with its own brakes that activate when you press the brakes in the vehicle. We recommend an inertial or motion sensing brake controller for the best performance.
While they may assure you the car is up to the task, you can’t take their word for granted. If you’re not provided with enough information, you might feel like they just want a sale – and you could be right.
On the other hand, when buying a caravan you’ll need to shop within the limitations of your car. There’s no point buying the perfect caravan that weighs 200kg more than your vehicle can tow, or one that will put too much load on your tow ball, because you’ll never be able to tow it anywhere or you’ll have to buy a new car. Again, double-check the facts. If you’re not provided with the necessary information, don’t do the deal.
Do you have any other tips?
- For more information on towing, check out our Learning how to tow story.
- Make sure your caravan or trailer is covered next time you hit the road. NRMA Road Assist Premium Care covers up to 3.5 tonnes including trailers and caravans and Premium Plus covers anything up to 10 tonnes including up to $3,000 in breakdown benefits.