If you have plans to tow a trailer or caravan, it is essential to first find out what your vehicle can handle. Before you buy a trailer or a caravan, you need to make sure that your car is capable of towing equipment. A quick call to Leicester Towbar Fitters will enable you to get an answer fast. And when it is, you still need to ensure the equipment you plan to tow is within the allowances for the weight limits that your car’s manufacturer has set out. Towing capacities vary between models and makes of cars. So to make sure you tow legally and safely, you need to check on the individual limits of your vehicle.
Can you transfer or use a towbar on any car?
If you were wondering whether a towbar is transferable, the concise answer would be no. Experienced manufacturers of towbars would never suggest transferring a towbar that you are already using to another car.
Are Towbars Transferable?
Only a type-approved towbar that is model and make-specific should be installed on a vehicle, to begin with. For example, if you currently own a Ford Mondeo, and you are purchasing an Audi A1, the towbar on your Ford won’t be compatible with the Audi.
If you have a towbar you would like to use on another vehicle, it can be technically done, only when you are transferring the towbar to the same model and make. However, it will need to be type-approved, comply with EU regulations, and be in a reasonable working condition.
At the same time, when buying a second-hand towbar, you need to have it checked thoroughly, fitted, and tested by a reliable fitter to ensure your safety. This will make sure it is road legal and safe for use.
But keep in mind that you can only transfer the towbar to the same model and make of the car. If it is an older or newer model, or there are slight variations, the towbar might not be compatible.
Vehicles not approved for towing
Not every car or vehicle is designed or made for towing. There are several car types that are not made to tow. These include sports cars, performance cars, small cars made for cities, and a few hybrids that are not suitable for towing according to their manufacturers. If your vehicle is not approved to tow, on your VIN plate table, the value that appears in line 2 for Gross Train Weight will be removed completely or be zero.
How to find the towing capacity of your car
To find the towing capacity of your car, refer to your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) plate. This is usually found under the bonnet of the car or inside the door frame. It is identifiable as a metal plate or sticker that has a table with numbers printed onto it. Your handbook for your car will be able to guide you as to where to locate the VIN plate.
It is important to know that the manufacturer information online and the vehicle’s handbook about towing capacity are not always specific to your exact car, so you should not rely solely on this information when you look for the towing capacity of your car.
The table of numbers on your VIN plate will be made up of 3 or 4 weights. This is where you can find out the weight capacity that your vehicle will be capable of towing. The majority of vehicles have 4 weight rows:
The gross weight is the MAM (maximum authorised mass) of your car, including loads, fuels, and passengers.
Gross train weight is a combination of the MAM of the vehicle and a trailer.
This is the maximum load for the front axle.
This is the maximum load for the rear axle.
To find the caravan or trailer weight you will be able to tow, subtract the weight in line from the weight in line 2. For example, if the VIN plate’s Line 1 is 2,500kg and Line 2 is 4,500kg, it will mean that your car has a towing capacity (maximum) of 2,000kg.
If you plan to tow a horsebox, caravan, or trailer, you should want assurance that whatever you plan to transport is safe and secure. The only way to go about this is to a buy new vehicle-specific towbar and fit it yourself or have the right professional install the towbar for you.