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Towing Capacity What Does It Mean When Buying a Car Freelance 06-22

Towing capacity what does it mean when buying a car freelance 06-22

Sometimes being able to tow something behind your car is a really handy. However, whether you’ve got a particularly bulky bit of furniture to take to the tip, a digger due at a job site or you’re a keen caravanner, it’s vital you check you’re towing within the capacity of your vehicle.

In this guide, we’ll tell you how to find out the towing capacity of any cars for sale that have caught your attention. If you were to exceed the figure stated by the manufacturer, you’d be breaking the law and in danger of causing damage to your car either be excess wear or the increased chance of an accident.

If you’re a first-time tower, it’s important to check what you’re able to legally tow. This is different for those who got their licence after 1st January 1997, so do check the DVLA website for more details.

What is towing capacity?

Don’t just assume any old car can tow, certain models or even particular versions of a particular range might not be cleared to tow at all. Those that are will be given a towing capacity that is the maximum weight the car can tow safely and legally. You must ensure that whatever it is you’re towing doesn’t exceed this weight, or that the load on the trailer doesn’t go over it’s own maximum authorised mass (MAM).

There are usually two maximum towing weights given: one for a braked trailer and an unbraked one. Legally, if the trailer’s weight exceeds 750kg or over half of the car’s kerb weight (as listed in your car’s manual), it must be fitted with brakes.

Crucially, the maximum towing capacity of your car also includes the weight of the caravan, trailer or horsebox itself, something you have to factor into any load calculation. We’d recommend investing in set of towing scales if you’re concerned you’ll be maxing out your car’s capability. They can also help you judge how well balanced the load is to spread the weight across the tyres equally.

A caravan’s MAM might be referred to as its MTPLM, which stands for Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass. This is the maximum that a caravan is allowed to weigh with all your luggage and furnishings on board.

How do I find the towing capacity of my car?

The easiest way to find out a car’s towing capacity is to check the manual – it should be listed in there. Don’t worry if it’s not clear or you’ve lost it, there are other ways to check

You can also find the towing capacity on the car’s vehicle identification number or VIN plate. This is often located on the bottom of the windscreen on the passenger side or on the car’s body around the passenger door frame.

There will be four weights on it – the gross vehicle weight, or MAM, the gross train weight (the maximum amount that the car and trailer can weigh combined), and the maximum axle loads for the front and rear.

To calculate your car’s towing capacity, subtract the first figure – the MAM – from the second – the gross train weight.

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