Are you in the market for a caravan or similar vehicle? Then it’s important you’re aware of the legal responsibilities involved with towing a caravan.
Caravan & Camping Industry Association NSW has put together vital info about tow vehicle requirements when it’s time to get hitched.
In addition, there are plenty of handy hints for towing a caravan when you’re ready to get behind the wheel.
If you are going to buy a caravan or trailer, it is critical that you give careful consideration to your vehicle’s towing mass and construction prior to making your purchase.
You will find the towing mass (or towing rating) under the towing section in the vehicle manufacturer’s handbook. The rating will include a trailer weight capacity and a trailer ball weight capacity, both of which must not be exceeded.
If the manufacturer has not stipulated a recommended tow mass, then the vehicle may tow one-and-a-half times its unladen mass, if the trailer has brakes. If no brakes are fitted, then 750kg is the maximum permissible towing capacity.
With regards to tow vehicles, the tow bar fitted must not exceed the capacity approved by the vehicle manufacturer. In some cases, some additional (strengthening) materials are supplied with the certified tow bar as part of the fitting kit. It may also be advisable to fit additional towing aids to enhance towing compatibility and safety.
These could include:
Remember that towing a trailer or caravan will decrease your vehicle’s acceleration and braking performance. It will also reduce vehicle control and manoeuvrability, while increasing fuel consumption.
Your vehicle’s towing capacity is a factor of its engine size, brakes, weight, transmission, tyres, bearings, chassis, suspension, etc.
After taking these variables into account, the vehicle’s manufacturer establishes a recommended towing capacity, which is the legal maximum and must not be exceeded.
Apart from adding to the driver’s legal responsibilities, towing requires a greater degree of knowledge and skill than normal driving.
When towing, you should:
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This information was republished with the permission of Caravan & Camping Industry Association NSW.