A complete guide to towing a caravan

Caravanning is not only a Great British pastime, but the perfect way to enjoy a mini-break that doesn't break the bank.

Before you buy a caravan or plan a holiday, however, there are certain things you must know about actually towing a caravan.

Can my car tow a caravan?

car towing caravan

Trailer licence

From late 2021, all drivers will be allowed to tow trailers with a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of up to 3,500kg without the need to take a car and trailer driving test. Rule changes were delayed after they were originally scheduled for 15 November 2021.

Previously, drivers who passed their test from 1 January 1997 faced tighter towing restrictions.

Drivers who passed their test before 1 January 1997 are allowed to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8,250kg MAM.

If you're a learner driver,  where you may be driving trailers legitimately with L plates, you are not allowed to take the trailer test until you first pass a test and hold a licence for a rigid vehicle.1

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Towing capacity

caravan towing

The maximum weight your car can tow (fully loaded car + fully loaded caravan/trailer) is usually listed in the handbook.

However, it is not always clear. For a definitve guide, read our guide to working out towing capacity.

Width and length rules

The maximum trailer width for any towing vehicle is 2.55 metres. The maximum length is 7 metres for a trailer towed by a vehicle weighing up to 3,500 kilograms.




Tips for towing a caravan

  • Tow bars must be ‘type approved’. This means it meets EU regulations and is designed for your car. This doesn’t apply to cars first used before 1 August 1998.
  • Give yourself more time and space for everything, especially taking corners.
  • Check your car and caravan's tyres before setting out on a trip.
  • Never exceed 50mph on single carriageways and 60mph on dual carriageways.
  • Never carry passengers in the caravan when you’re towing it.
  • Your number plate must show your car’s registration number and be illuminated at night.
  • Your rear light panel must always be working and visible so check before driving off and keep an eye out for any changes during your journey.
  • Any trailer weighing over 750 kilograms, including its load, must have a working brake system.
  • If your trailer is unbraked, the maximum you may tow is 750 kg or half the kerbside weight of the towing vehicle – whichever is the lower.
  • Try to keep the caravan as light as possible with the heavier items low down and close to the axle. Read our caravan packing tips.
  • To prevent snaking and pitching make sure you have a well-matched car and caravan and try using stabilisers.

What should I pack for my trip?

Forgetting to pack something for your holiday could range from a small annoyance to becoming majorly detrimental to your trip. Using our caravan trip checklist you can tick off all of the items you may need as you pack.

The list includes many essentials like stabilisers and towing mirrors, and also has a few more luxury items like well-equipped picnic hampers that you might not have thought of taking on your tripto take on day trips out, you might want to check out our online shop.

Need insurance for your road trip? Our temporary car insurance product is perfect if you're looking for flexible and comprehensive cover for between 1 hour and 30 days.

If you're planning on driving your caravan in Europe, then the RAC offers European breakdown cover, which can provide you with complete peace of mind during your trip. This is perfect if you travel to Europe on an annual basis or are just travelling there as part of a one-off trip.If you're looking for piece of mind when travelling in your vehicle this summer, the RAC offer dedicated breakdown cover for caravans and motorhomes, seperate from our standard car breakdown cover.


1 https://www.nationalnumbers.co.uk/dvla-guide/towing-caravan-trailer-125.htm
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