Towing a caravan is something many owners like to do as it provides an enjoyable break with family, and it’s also a great way to see more of the country and can take your holiday to a whole new level.
But does towing damage your car? Will it cause any problems with your car’s warranty, or damage the engine or clutch?
In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about safely towing a caravan without causing damage to your car.
Can Towing Cause Damage To Your Car?
If you are driving a larger car with a large engine and towing at the correct weight then there’s not much chance that the towing will cause any damage. You should always refer to the manufacturer’s handbook to check its towing capacity.
Towing a caravan or any other trailer will always put some strain on your vehicle so the added weight and momentum can cause wear and tear on the chassis, suspension and engine.
In most cases, any damage to the car will be minimal. However, there are instances where things can go wrong. If you drive over a pothole or other obstacle, it could damage the car’s shock absorbers.
If one of the wheels becomes damaged, this could put additional stress on the axle and result in a CV joint failure.
If you exceed, the recommended caravan weight and size that your car should tow then you will put unnecessary pressure on the engine, suspension, and tyres and it can also be incredibly dangerous.
You could also risk strain on the engine or even permanent damage to the chassis.
If you are in any doubt about whether your car can tow a caravan, then you should contact your car manufacturer for advice.
Will Towing Harm Your Car’s Warranty?
If you are towing a caravan on a car within its stated limits, then you are almost certain to have no issues with your car’s warranty – however, check this with your warranty provider first.
As long as you take care of your car and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for towing, there is no reason to believe that you would cause any damage to your car that would affect the warranty.
If you are towing a caravan that exceeds the limits of the car, then you could find yourself in a spot of bother with the warranty department.
This is because towing a heavier caravan than the capacity of the car could (and most likely will) cause damage to your car, which will mean that the warranty may be voided.
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Towing A Caravan – Is It Safe?
If you are towing a caravan with a car that is suitable for the job, then it is likely to be both safe and legal.
However, if you are towing a caravan on a car where the weight has been exceeded, then you may be towing illegally.
There are cases where cars towing caravans are spot checked on the motorway and you might get slapped with a fine.
It’s important to check that you are towing a caravan safely, otherwise, you could get into legal issues.
Here are a few guidelines to follow when towing a caravan:
Weight: The first thing you need to make sure of when towing a caravan is that your car can handle the extra weight.
If you are towing with a car that is not designed for the extra weight, you will need to make sure your car can handle the extra load.
Tow Bar Goes without saying but you need to make sure that your car has a tow bar suitable for a caravan. You must make sure the tow bar is fitted by a reputable company as it will be supporting most of the weight. I had mine fitted at North West Tow bars in Stockport, they were awesome and very reasonably priced.
Distance Your car will only be able to travel a certain distance before needing to be refuelled. Make sure you keep this in mind when towing a caravan so that you do not run out of fuel in the middle of nowhere!
The video below gives some good towing tips:
When You Should Not Tow A Caravan
If you have any doubts about whether your car can safely tow a caravan, then don’t tow it! You could end up damaging your car and causing more harm than good – or worse have an accident.
You should also not tow a caravan if you have any doubts about your driving skills. Getting yourself on a towing course will be a great way to build your skills and confidence – in some cases it can also help reduce your insurance.
If you feel that you may not be able to control the car well enough to tow a caravan, it’s best to leave it to someone else.
Some automatic cars are capable of towing – the AA states that:
Conventional automatics tend to have speed and distance restrictions that would preclude towing of this type while modern automated manual transmissions can generally be flat-towed – though you would have to check the vehicle handbook to be certain.
It is also worth noting that some manufacturers reduce the maximum download on the tow ball for automatic models in line with the reduced legal towing limit.
Tips For Safer Towing
Make sure you check your car can tow a caravan before trying to tow anything!
- Make sure you have enough fuel to make the journey without running out.
- Do your towing checks!
- Make sure the caravan is properly hitched and secure.
- Make sure all the electrics are working.
- Always keep your distance from other cars on the road and follow the speed limit.
- Avoid driving at high speeds if possible.
- Use a quality tow bar with an adjustable height feature if you can afford it.
Towing a caravan is a great way to travel with the family. There are a few common sense things you will need to check before you go towing a caravan, but as long as you do your research on your car’s capacity and caravan weight and follow the right guidelines you will be fine.
If your car is not designed to tow, you are likely to cause damage to your car while towing. This makes it even more important to follow the right guidelines and towing laws to make sure your car is safe and legal while towing.
FAQs: Can Towing a Caravan Damage Your Car?
What Caravan Weight Can I tow?
A caravan that weighs 3500 kg (3.5 tonnes) or less can be towed legally. Each car make and model have a set towing limit for both braked and unbraked trailers.
Can You Increase a Vehicle’s Towing Capacity?
Because they are built with a specific capability, vehicles cannot have their towing capacity increased. In fact, some cars aren’t meant for towing at all!
How to Tell If You are Towing Too Much?
If you are towing more than the GCWR and your car is tilting or is bouncing around a lot when you encounter bumps in the road, you are definitely pulling too much!
Can I tow a Caravan Heavier Than My Car?
As long as you adhere to the maximum permitted weight, you can legally tow a caravan that is heavier than your vehicle. The entire train of cars and trailers would therefore be limited to 3500 kg (or around 7716 pounds).