Calculating the towing capacity or towing weight and understanding what load you can safely pull with your car or van is essential before you hit the road. If you get it wrong not only can it endanger yourself but also other road users and can have legal implications including an expensive fine and points on your licence.
There are a wide range of cars that are capable of towing but how exactly can you calculate how heavy the trailer or caravan can be for your car to tow?
How do you work out towing capacity?
It's easy to calculate the towing capacity of your car or vehicle. You need to take the kerbweight of the car and multiply it by 0.85. This will give you the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) of the trailer you can tow safely.
You can find the kerbweight of your car on the V5 registration document, on the vehicle details plate on the door sill or sometimes in the owners manual (look for the figure 'G: Mass In Service').
Towing Capacity Calculator
Using this towing capacity calculator is quick and easy.
If the Kerbweight of your car is 2000kg. The calculation you would do is:
2000kg x 0.85 = 1700kg
So the towing capacity (maximum weight of the trailer and its load ) is 1,700kg.
This calculation is known by experts as 'outfit matching'.
Use this calculator to work out your own cars towing capacity:
The Rules are:
• Less than 85% - If the gross weight of the caravan is under 85% of the kerbweight of the car then there will be no problem towing
• 85% to 100% - If the trailer weight is between 85% and 100% of the kerbweight then it is technically legal to tow however it is not as safe and only people with significant towing experience should pull such a heavy trailer
• 100%+ - The trailer weight must NEVER exceed the kerbweight of the car. This is not safe or legal
This free towing weight calculator can be used as a general rule for all makes and models of car. It is especially useful for caravanners who can use it as a towing weight calculator for caravans to ensure the tow car can pull the desired caravan weight. If you are unsure you can check towing capacity by registration or use our towing capacity chart.
What Does Towing Capacity of a Car Mean?The towing capacity of a car is the maximum trailer weight that a vehicle can tow (sometimes called the towing weight limit). The weight of the trailer is a combination of the weight of the actual trailer plus its load. The towing capacity is based on the kerbweight of a car and states that legally the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) of a trailer or caravan cannot exceed the kerbweight of the car.
Exceeding the towing capacity of a car and towing a heavier trailer than your vehicle is capable of is extremely dangerous and can lead to a fine and penalty points on your licence. So its important to know the exact towing capacity of your vehicle.
What makes a car a good towing car?
It's just the towing capacity / weight of the car, right?
No, the answer is not that simple. Only with detailed knowledge of the engine, the aerodynamics and the weight ratios between the towing vehicle and the caravan can the best towing car be determined. There are more detailed car and caravan outfit matching tools available which are free to use and allow you to compare different combinations of car and caravan.
These tools are very detailed and look at how the towing performance of a car differs from a flat road, to the motorway and how it would perform in more hilly environments
Towing Capacity GuideUse this towing capacity calculation guide to see at a glance what the weight limit is for different cars:
|% of KW||Trailer Weight|