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Q: Towing a camper with a car ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Towing a camper with a car
Category: Sports and Recreation > Automotive
Asked by: kiran000-ga
List Price: $11.00
Posted: 04 May 2004 10:43 PDT
Expires: 03 Jun 2004 10:43 PDT
Question ID: 340992
I plan to buy a car, and would like tow a small camper with my car.
What are the minimum requirements for the car?
Subject: Re: Towing a camper with a car
Answered By: bobbie7-ga on 04 May 2004 11:40 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
The most important check is the vehicle manufacturer's recommended
towing limit, which should be in the vehicle manufacturer's handbook.

?The trailer weight fully loaded should not exceed the gross towing
weight capacity of the towing vehicle and the hitch. The maximum
vehicle towing capacity is the entire trailer weight including the
load weight is the GROSS weight.?

- ?Compact cars can typically tow loads weighing up to 1,000 lbs. to
1,500 lbs. gross load.

- Large Rear Wheel Drive cars and minivans can be tow rated up to 3,500 lbs.

- Light Duty pickup trucks and SUVs can be tow rated up to 5,000 lbs

- Special Heavy Duty Pickups and SUVs with heavy duty tow packages can
be tow rated up to 8,000 lbs.

- Dually pickups with Fifth wheel or Goose neck tow packages can be
rated to tow 10,000 lbs. or even more.?

?Be sure what your vehicle/hitch set up is rated to tow. Please check
with your vehicle/hitch dealer for this information. Even if you have
a class II hitch rated for up to 3,500 pounds, your front drive
midsize car many not be safe to pull more than 1,500 lbs. Many cars
today have and automatic overdrive transmission for better gas mileage
that may be subject to damage if you tow a trailer and do not lock out
the overdrive feature. We always recommend consulting a factory
authorized dealer about adding a hitch and lighting to your vehicle
and safe towing procedures for your make and model.?

?Trailer registration requirements and vehicle code interpretations
vary widely from state to state, and even between counties within some
states. For specific information, contact your local county or state
licensing authority. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for a table
of state DMV links.


?A good rule of thumb, for safety and stability, when towing a
caravan, is the 85% figure recommended for caravans by the Caravan
Club. This suggests that you should not tow a caravan that weighs more
than 85% of the towing vehicle's kerb weight. (as long as 85% does not
exceed the vehicle manufacturer's recommended towing limit. (The kerb
weight is defined as the weight of the vehicle plus a full tank of
petrol and 75kg (for the driver and luggage).)?


Matching the Trailer with the Towing Vehicle 
It is important that the vehicle you use to pull your trailer is
adequate for the job.
- Check that the engine is large enough to tow the trailer and load. 
- Check that the brakes are powerful enough to stop the vehicle and
trailer safely.
- Check that the Trailer Gross Weight does not exceed the Towing
Capacity of the Towing vehicle.

National Trailer & Towing Association


Suitable Towcars

?There are no hard and fast rules governing the type of vehicles to be
used for towing. Most caravan owners will opt for 4x4 models as they
will have extra stability and usually run diesel engines. However most
1600cc petrol cars and 1800cc diesel engines will have enough power to
cope. You just need to apply the 85% rule and base your choice on the
results. It is worth bearing in mind that vehicles with automatic
transmissions may need an extra oil cooler fitted to the gearbox.?

Check your handbook to obtain the Maximum Permissible Towing Mass for
your vehicle which must never be exceeded.

Caravan Touring


Tow car Requirements

?(..)75% of your cars gross weight is its maximum towing weight. But
always consult your owner?s manual for exact figures, as that is just
a rule of thumb, a lot of cars will exceed that, and some won?t handle
it. Some cars won?t tow at all, so check before you connect. If you
can?t find a towing bracket to fit your car, then it is safe to assume
your car is not designed to tow anything, without modification.?
?Make sure you have the power. And sheer horse power won?t be enough,
if your car has a super chipped turbo charged lump in it and pushes 60
in 5 seconds, put a trailer on the back, and you would do well to hit
60, because when towing, torque plays a huge part in performance.
Ideally diesel is the best for towing, because they exert the largest
amount of torque, however although it will pull up any gradient and
not worry about the weight of the trailer, it will be a slow journey,
because you don?t have the horse power to maintain a steady speed. So
it becomes a balancing act between torque and horse power. You need
enough torque to get you going, and get you up hills, and enough horse
power to keep you at 60mph or maintain a steady speed on the road, as
well as get you past that truck.?

?The weight of the towing vehicle is also important. You need to have
a heavy enough towing vehicle to hold the load you are pulling. To
avoid the tail wagging the dog or 'snaking' as it is called. A heavy
load and a light car will result in the trailer pushing the car and
spinning it, or rolling it.?



?There are many factors to consider when matching towcar and caravan,
but one of the most important is the weights of the vehicles. As a
general rule of thumb it is recommended that the laden weight of the
caravan should not exceed 85% of the kerbweight of the towcar.?

?For example, an average family saloon car (e.g. Ford Mondeo) has an
unladen weight around 1400kg. If this was towing a 17ft 5 berth
caravan (one of our largest) which was loaded to 95% of the caravan's
MTPLM of 1250kg, giving a laden mass of 1187kg, then the caravan would
be 84% of the towcar kerbweight which should make a nice towing

?Other factors such as the towcar engine size, the weight of items
loaded into the caravan, the type of towbar fitted, how well the
caravan weight is distributed and even how far and where you are
travelling will all make a difference to the safety of your car and
caravan combination.?

FAQ: Tilshead Caravans


The National Caravan and Recreational Vehicle Towing Guide

?Towing a trailer or caravan will decrease your vehicle's acceleration
and braking performance. It will also reduce vehicle control and
maneuverability, while increasing fuel consumption. Your vehicle's
towing capacity is determined by factors such as its engine size,
brakes, weight, transmission, tires and chassis. After taking these
variables into account, the vehicle's manufacturer establishes a
recommended towing capacity, which must be adhered to.?


Can I tow with an automatic? 

?Cars fitted with automatic transmission can make superb towcars. The
torque multiplying effect of the torque converter helps to give smooth
takeoffs especially when starting on hills or in muddy conditions.
Also automatic gear changes reduce the stress on both the driver and
the towcar. There are a couple of points to bear in mind though. The
first is that you will need an oil cooler for the gearbox oil. Some
vehicles, particularly 4x4's, have them fitted as standard anyway. The
second point is that the power loss in the gearbox will be more
noticeable when towing.?

Caravan Corner


A good source of information is the FAQ ?Top 20 Caravanning Questions Answered?

Search criteria:
Recommended towing capacity
Requirements of a towcar
Towing a camper
Vehicle requirements camper
How to tow a camper

I hope you find this information useful! 

Best regards,
kiran000-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

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