A motorhome provides enough space so that you can live on the road and be on the go. However, you might need even more space and consider pulling a caravan with your motorhome as a result. It’s important that you follow the rules and regulations in order to do so safely.
In the UK, it is legal to tow a caravan with your motorhome, but you have to follow certain towing capacities and gross vehicle weight ratings based on the motorhome. You also have to follow certain rules to ensure that you can tow the caravan safely, such as driving at a safe speed.
To learn the specifics about how to tow a caravan with your motorhome, keep reading. This guide explains the basics of using your motorhome to tow a caravan safely and legally in the UK. Let’s get started.
Can a Motorhome Tow a Caravan? It Depends.
Generally speaking, motorhomes can tow caravans and other structures, like boats and vehicles. As long as the caravan is within the towing capacity of the motorhome, you will be able to safely tow the caravan behind your motorhome. Likewise, you have to have certain licensure and follow laws on the road to make sure you drive the caravan and motorhome safely.
In other words, you can’t just tow a caravan from your motorhome without carefully considering a number of factors first. Instead, you have to make sure that the caravan you select is suitable for your motorhome and that you are following the laws in order to tow a caravan with your motorhome safely.
How Much Weight Can a Motorhome Tow?
The most important thing to think about when towing a caravan with your motorhome is the maximum towing capacity of your motorhome. This capacity tells you how much you can safely tow behind the motorhome.
These towing capacities applied to more than just caravans. If you decide to pull a car, trailer, boat, or anything else, you will need to check the maximum towing capacity of your motorhome to ensure the item you’re towing is not too heavy for your vehicle.
|Motorhome Class||Towing Capacity|
|Class A||Up to 4500 kgs|
|Class B||Up to 2250 kgs|
|Class C||Up to 4500 kgs|
Based on these recommended towing capacities, Class A and Class C motorhomes are really the only motorhomes that will be able to tow a caravan. Most Class B motorhomes do not have a high enough towing capacity to tow caravans or other large structures.
It’s important to note that the table above is the general recommendations for maximum towing capacity based on motorhome class. You should always check the specific maximum towing capacity of your motorhome before towing anything. Maximum towing capacity varies not just by motorhome class but by brand and unique build as well.
In other words, your Class A motorhome may have a lower towing capacity than 4500 kgs. This is especially true if you have a custom build or unique features that are outside of the custom Class A motorhome. We say this to prove just how important it is to find out how much weight your specific motorhome can tow.
How Do I Find Out How Much Weight My Motorhome Can Tow?
Finding out how much weight your motorhome can tow is really easy. It normally is posted with the other key technical information. For example, it should be printed on the sticker located on the inside driver-side door. You should also be able to easily look it up using the vehicle’s VIN. If you can’t find it, ask a mechanic for help.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
Even though the vehicle’s maximum towing capacity is very important, the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is actually more important. It’s important that you check out the GVWR in addition to the maximum towing capacity before towing a caravan.
The GVWR differs from the maximum towing capacity. The GVWR takes into account the weight of the motorhome and object you are towing after it is packed up and ready to go. In contrast, the maximum towing capacity tells you how much your motorhome can tow when everything is empty. As a result, the GVWR is normally lower than the maximum towing capacity.
Why does GVWR matter more than the maximum towing capacity? Simple. Once you hit the road, your motorhome and caravan will be loaded up so you can have a fun trip. That’s why it’s more important to look at the GVWR than the maximum towing capacity.
The GVWR is normally posted right on the driver-side sticker that tells you key information about the vehicle. It should also be in the automobile’s manual. If you can’t find it in either of these, you can find out the towing capacity using the vehicle’s VIN number.
After you have checked the vehicle’s maximum towing capacity and gross vehicle weight rating, you should have a very clear idea about how much weight your motorhome can tow and whether a caravan falls within those limits.
Don’t Max Out the Towing Capacity
Many drivers make the mistake of maxing out the towing capacity of their motorhome. After all, it is tempting to think that the motorhome can handle the maximum amount that the manufacturer recommends.
It’s important that you don’t max out the towing capacity or GVWR of your motorhome. This is dangerous because you don’t know exactly how heavy the caravan and motorhome are whenever they are packed up and ready to go.
By maxing out the motorhome towing capacity, you could potentially be putting the motorhome, caravan, yourself, and everyone around you at risk. If the motorhome and caravan are heavier than expected and you exceed the GVWR, things could go south quickly.
Other Factors to Consider
Even though the GVWR and maximum towing capacity are the most important factors to consider when towing a caravan with your motorhome, there are other technical factors to consider. These factors will give you a better idea of how much your motorhome can tow and ensure you are doing so safely and legally.
Let’s take a look at these other factors to ensure you are towing your caravan safely.
Always make sure you have the appropriate licensure to drive a motorhome and tow a caravan. It’s important to look at your license and read the stipulations about what you are allowed to drive and tow. If you are limited in towing capabilities, consider upgrading your license.
Whenever you are driving a motorhome and towing a caravan, there will be different laws you have to follow. Whenever you are towing anything, you cannot exceed 50 mph on single carriageways or 60 mph on dual carriageways. Of course, lower general speed limits apply on individual roads.
There are also laws about towing unbraked trailers. If you are towing an unbraked trailer, it cannot be 750 kgs or half of the towing vehicle’s kerb weight. If your trailer has brakes, the brakes must be fully functioning, even if they weigh less than 750 kgs.
Furthermore, unbraked trailers have to have a secondary coupling. This ensures that the towing vehicle is safe even if the primary coupling fails. Trailers with a brake system need a breakaway cable if they weigh up to 3500 kgs.
There are laws about how far away your motorhome needs to be from any vehicles or structures while driving. Coupled motorhomes that are over 7 meters long need to follow these rules. The motorhome must be at least 50 meters from anything in front of him.
Additionally, these coupled motorhomes cannot be in all lanes. They must be in the two rightmost lanes and avoid the furthest left lane.
As mentioned above, there are speed laws and limits for coupled motorhomes. It’s important that you follow the towing specific speed limits, not the speed limits posted on the road. The speed limits posted on the roads are specifically designed for regular vehicles, not motorhomes towing caravans. Because there’s so much extra weight on your vehicles, you will have to decrease the speed.
Once again, you will not be able to exceed 50 or 60 mph. On some roads, you’ll need to go slower if the regular speed limit is lower.
Still, just because the limit is at 50 or 60 mph does not mean you have to reach that amount. If you do not feel that you have complete control over the coupled motorhome, go slower.
Whenever you’re towing a caravan, driving too fast can be dangerous due to how much weight is on the vehicle. It’s better to be safe than sorry by going slow and taking your time.
Materials and Dynamics
In addition to licensure and laws, you need to look at the technical specs of the motorhome and caravan. These specs will give you a clear idea of how much your motorhome can tow. Two technical specs to look at are materials and dynamics.
Consider the chassis of your motorhome. Most motorhomes are made from aluminium or steel. Aluminium tends to be the most advantageous because it is strong yet lighter than steel. Even though steel is very powerful, it is heavy, which decreases the GVWR.
Think about the aerodynamics of your vehicles as well. The aerodynamics tell you how easily wind will roll off the structure. Caravans that are more aerodynamic won’t feel as heavy to the motorhome.
The suspension is also an important part of how much your motorhome can tow. This suspension ensures that everything will be comfortable while you are towing the caravan. The better the suspension system, the easier it will be to manoeuvre the motorhome and caravan.
How Do I Increase the Towing Capacity of My Motorhome?
The good news is that you can increase the towing capacity of your motorhome slightly. That way, you can pull heavier caravans or objects more safely. When pulling something as heavy as a caravan, increasing the towing capacity of your motorhome is a great idea.
Minimize Excess Weight
For starters, try to pack as little as possible in the caravan and motorhome. Whenever the caravan is lighter, the motorhome will be able to pull more. Only pack accessories and get rid of anything you don’t really need.
Upgrade Towing System
You can increase the towing capacity by upgrading your towing system. You can try upgrading the hitch, replacing the axles, or upgrading the braking system. Consider using a programmer as well. These features will allow your motorhome to pull more weight.
Improve Towing Performance
Don’t forget to improve your towing performance as well. You can consider upgrading the suspension, enhancing your intake and exhaust system, and installing a bigger radiator. Changing these features will make the motorhome more efficient at towing the caravan.
Select a Smaller Caravan
If all else fails, try to select a smaller caravan. The smaller the caravan, the better.
Even if you follow all of the steps above, the caravan may still be too heavy for your motorhome. In fact, most caravans are too heavy for motorhomes unless they are specifically Class B+, which are heavy-duty motorhomes designed for towing and heavy purposes.
If you need to tow a caravan with your motorhome, you are in luck. Motorhomes have the ability to tow caravans, vehicles, boats, and other heavy structures. That being said, it’s important to make sure that the caravan you want to tow is a suitable weight for your specific motorhome.
For example, make sure to check out your motorhome’s maximum towing capacity and gross vehicle weight rating. These two ratings tell you exactly how much your motorhome can tow. In addition to these ratings, pay attention to licensure, law, materials, suspension, and other factors that will impact the towing experience.
Once you consider all of these factors, you will be able to determine if your individual motorhome can tow a caravan. Try out the tips above if you need to increase the towing capacity of your motorhome, but make sure not to press its limits or max out the towing capacity.
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I have always wanted to travel and luckily I always got to travel to some amazing countries while I was growing up with my family and this really encouraged me to continue this and get out into the world on my own when I was older.
My goal growing up was really to see as much of the world as I could, but then I started going to work and really concentrating on my career and travel took a back seat. I still tried to get away a few times a year but I always knew there was an end goal which was to travel as much as possible.
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