The 85% towing rule has been designed by experts to help make towing safer for those people not used to towing a caravan or trailer. The rule states that the fully laden weight of the caravan or trailer should be not more than 85% of the kerb weight of the tow car. This is what experts state is the 85% rule.
The calculation for this is: Kerb Weight Of Car X 0.85 = Towing Weight Limit
Use our free online towing capacity calculator to work out your cars towing limit.
Is the 85% towing ratio law?
Despite what some people say, it's important to know that the 85% rule is not law or a legal obligation and never has been. It is only a guide or recommendation and that it is not legally enforceable in the UK. Its a rule of thumb as starting point for those new to towing, its never been written into the law.
Will the 85% towing rule keep me safe?
The rule has been designed by experts to help minimise the risk when towing. Because the towing vehicle is heavier than the load being pulled it should be able to remain in control. However, it is not a guarentee and if you have bad driving techniques or drive too fast, brake too late, corner too fast etc it is very easy to have an accident at any weight ratio.
Where did the 85% towing rule come from?
The original source of the rule is not really know. Many believe that the "85% rule" was first given as some advice many years ago to people learning to tow by the Caravan Club (now the Caravan and Motorhome Club). Since then it has become more widely menitioned and often talked about as if it was the law. In reality there are actually no real facts behind it or evidence to support it. Its actually just a combination of conjecture, theories and anecdotal evidence.
The National Caravan Council produce in conjunction with the The Caravan Club and The Camping and Caravanning Club, a Caravan Towing Guide every year. This guide provides caravan owners with tip and guideance on all aspects of towing and caravanning. One of the elements is covers is the weight ratio of car to caravan. The Caravan Towing Guide states that: "For a novice caravanner, ideally, this ratio should not exceed 85%. For an experienced caravanner the maximum recommended ratio is 100%, provided the figure is permissible in respect of the tow car’s published capability."
What is the 85% Towing Rule?
The 85% Towing Rule, also known as the "Towing and Payload Matching" rule, is a guideline used to ensure that the total weight of a vehicle and the weight of the trailer being towed are within safe limits. The rule states that the combined weight of the vehicle and the trailer should not exceed 85% of the vehicle's gross combined weight rating (GCWR).
Why is the 85% Towing Rule important?
The 85% Towing Rule is important because it helps to prevent vehicles from being overloaded, which can lead to a variety of problems, including poor handling, decreased braking performance, and increased wear and tear on the vehicle's suspension and tires. Additionally, towing an overloaded trailer can make the vehicle more difficult to control and increase the risk of a crash.
How to determine if a vehicle is within the 85% Towing Rule limit?
To determine if a vehicle is within the 85% Towing Rule limit, you will need to know the vehicle's gross combined weight rating (GCWR) and the weight of the trailer you plan to tow. To calculate the total weight of the vehicle and trailer, add the weight of the vehicle (found in the vehicle's owner's manual or on a label inside the driver's side door) to the weight of the trailer. The resulting number should not exceed 85% of the vehicle's GCWR.
What happens if a vehicle is overloaded and exceed the 85% Towing Rule limit?
If a vehicle is overloaded and exceeds the 85% Towing Rule limit, it can lead to a number of problems. The vehicle may not handle or brake as well, and the tires, suspension, and other components may experience increased wear and tear. Additionally, an overloaded vehicle and trailer can be more difficult to control and increases the risk of a crash. In some cases, if you are caught with overloaded vehicle on the road you may receive a ticket, fines or penalties by the law enforcement.
Is there an exception for the 85% Towing Rule?
Yes, there are a few exceptions to the 85% Towing Rule, such as when a vehicle is equipped with a weight distribution hitch or air-assisted suspension. These devices can increase a vehicle's GCWR, allowing it to safely tow more weight. However, it is important to make sure that the vehicle is specifically designed to be used with these devices, and that they are installed and used correctly, according to manufacturer's instructions. Also it's still good practice to consult with your vehicle's owner manual or the vehicle manufacturer's customer support to confirm the towing capacity before attempting to tow anything.