Are you towing legally and safely

How Much Can I Tow Behind My Car?

These days it seems like a silly question. Just go and check the spec sheet and it will tell you all you need to know. But it wasn’t always like this for me.

In 2003 I bought a boat – a small 12 ft fibreglass dinghy that I used to go surfing on outer reefs. At that time we were driving a Ford Telstar and because it had a towbar I figured it would be no problem to hitch up the boat behind it and launch. I didn’t know this for sure – I just assumed that if it could move it, then it could tow it. I wasn’t even aware that there were ‘legal weights’.

However that boat only lasted 12 months before I decided it was too small. I changed it for a 15ft half cab which I would guess to be around 1.4T on the trailer. Funnily enough the Telstar struggled with this weight and it even felt a bit unsafe… no kidding…

I didn’t know you could check weights anywhere, so instead I just bought an old 60 series Landcruiser to do the job – (the first of many 60 series I owned) and it towed the boat with no problems. A few years later we set off on a 6 month family lap of Oz. We bought a petrol GQ and a Jayco Eagle as the van. I still had no clue that we needed to check weights and that this as even ‘a thing’. Of course the GQ managed the Eagle with no issues.

However a few years later as we headed off to the North West driving an HJ61 Cruiser with a 2.3T Jayco Expander in tow (see the pic) I began to wonder if I had bitten off more than was appropriate. So then I began to investigate all things ‘weights’. It seems the HJ61 has a 2.5T rating (although it was hard to find concrete info) so all fine there, but this was the first I knew of how weights operated and I had been towing stuff for many years!

While the weights may have been legal I was aware that the old Cruiser was struggling – try towing 2.5T of van into a howling easterly from Hedland to Broome! We didn’t get past 80kph! So as we got back into Two Rocks and the transmission began to play up I realised we may have pushed the old girl too hard. A new transmission later I decided to get up to speed with weights and did some learning. The result was a 2015 Holden Colorado that did the job both legally and with ease.

If you’re like I was and have never given weights much thought then I’d suggest you start now to assess your rig for its legality and safety, as well as for its practicality.

Chances are you can move a big van with a small car, but there are reasons we have the various specifications – for safety and for the longevity of your car’s life. If you aren’t sure of how all the weights and acronymns work just give us a call and we can advise you. We can come to your home and weight both car and caravan, before comparing them to the legal limits and advising you how to load each safely and legally

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