Towing, Know your trailer limits

Traveling to cities in your own vehicle comes with a different charm. However, taking a long trip with your extended family in a small car can be a hassle. While you may go short in the sitting space, most of your luggage may not fit properly. Therefore, people attach a trailer or camper to their SUVs for added space and ease. But do you know your trailer limits?

Each vehicle has a different towing capacity, mainly based on its size. So, do you know your vehicle’s towing capacity? Which trailer can you tow with your car? If you plan on getting a trailer, it is important to be aware of your towing limits and the rules you need to follow. Towing more than your car or license allows can land you in hot water or, worse, cause an accident. 

In this article, you will learn your towing capacity and the requirements for towing a trailer. So, keep reading! 

What is Your Car’s Towing Trailer Limits? 

Many cars, especially SUVs and trucks, can easily tow a camper or trailer. However, the trailer’s weight determines whether it is suitable for your vehicle or not. So, it is essential to know your vehicle’s towing capacity. 

Towing capacity refers to the weight your vehicle can tow legally. These numbers are usually mentioned in your car’s handbook, but you can also figure them out on your own. 

The easiest way to calculate your vehicle’s towing capacity is by using the VIN plate. It contains numbers in different lines. The numbers in the first line denote the maximum allowable mass, and the second line represents the maximum train mass. 

Subtract the numbers in line one from those in line two to know the towing capacity of your car. Once you know your car’s towing capacity, you can find the ideal trailer for your requirements. 

Factors to Consider While Towing 

You need to be aware of a few more limits while towing a trailer. With the variety of options, designs, and sizes of campers in the showrooms, you must be tempted to get the biggest one for your car. 

But before you go buying the biggest baddest trailer or camper, there’s rules to know when you tow. Here are the top factors to consider while towing: 

The 85% Rule 

According to experts, you should only tow 85% of your vehicle’s kerb weight, also known as the 85% rule. Even though this is not a legal requirement, this suggestion can help you safely tow a trailer. 

All you need to know is the kerb weight of your car, which is mentioned in the owner’s manual, and the maximum technically permissible laden mass (MTPLM) of the trailer. If the MTPLM is 85% of your vehicle’s kerb weight, it is safe to take on the road. 

However, if it is somewhere between the 85% to 100% scale, you need to be very careful while towing. If the numbers go above 100%, it is probably not safe for you to tow such a trailer with your vehicle. 

Dimensions of the Trailer 

When you are on the road, it is crucial to follow the legal rules of a country to have a safe and trouble-free journey. You need to follow the exact size guidelines regulated by your government when getting a trailer. 

The legal dimensions of the trailer are: 

  • Maximum height: 4.57 meters
  • Maximum length: 12.00 meters
  • Maximum width: 2.60 meters

Make sure to tow a trailer according to the above mentioned legal dimensions to avoid any legal trouble. 

Towing License and Requirements 

If you want to drive a trailer on the road, you require a specific license for it. These rules are often based on the car or jeeps Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM1 also known as Design Gross Vehicle Weight) means design laden weight. Manufacturers generally refer to it as gross vehicle weight (g.v.w.) and it is usually displayed on a metal plate attached to the vehicle by the manufacturer. According to the Irish driving laws, you need a Category B Driver’s license. With this license, you can legally tow a trailer where: 

  • MAM1 is no greater than 750 kgs.
  • MAM1 of the trailer exceeds 750 kgs, but the combined MAM1 of the vehicle and trailer doesn’t exceed 3,500 kgs.

If you have a bigger trailer, you need a Category BE license. With this license, you can tow a trailer where: 

  • The combined MAM1 of the vehicle and trailer is more than 3,500 kgs but less than 7,500 kgs.
  • MAM1 of the trailer is greater than 750 kgs. However, note that a category B license will allow you to tow a trailer over 750 kg in some instances.

Driving Precautions While Towing 

If you are a beginner, towing a trailer can be daunting. However, by following the right tips and precautions, you can safely tow a trailer on the road. Here are a few precautionary tips that you need to follow while towing: 

  1. Make sure your vehicle is well maintained and does not require any fixing. Look for any loose parts or areas that are making any weird sound. In short, your car should be in the perfect condition before towing weight. 
  2. Do not forget to check the tires of your trailers. While examining the car, people usually ignore the different parts of the trailer. Make sure the air pressure in the tire is ideal, and no nut bolts are loose. 
  3. Use high-quality trailer chains that are wrapped in the form of a cross. Simply layering the chain in straight lines will not provide enough stability. 
  4. Drive at a relatively slower speed while you are towing a trailer. You don’t want the trailer to crash into your car in case of a sudden brake. Furthermore, keep enough distance from other vehicles on the road to prevent accidents.

Conclusion 

Towing a trailer comes with several rules and responsibilities. For example, you can’t simply load a trailer and hit the road. But, you will need a proper license and a few tips and tricks up your sleeve to responsibly tow a trailer on the road. 

You need to understand the towing capacity of your vehicle and the weight of your trailer to know whether you can safely drive with it or not. The lack of education about trailers and an incorrect license risks your own life, but it can also pose a significant risk to others around you.

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