Can I Tow A Caravan on My Licence? Here’s What You Need to Know

If you’re wondering what kind of licence you need to be able to tow your caravan, we’re here to help. 

This article will explain all you need to know about towing your caravan and the standards that are required before and during your time on the road.

interesting caravan

There are some interesting caravans out there. Have a look at our Why pull dull? feature


Can I Tow A Caravan on My Licence?

The good news is that in most cases, you are able to tow your caravan without needing to update your licence.

However, this also depends on the size and weight of the caravan you are looking to tow. According to the official UK government website, the rules are as follows:

Licences Issued From 1 January 1997 to 18 January 2013

If you passed your car driving test from 1 January 1997 to 18 January 2013, you could currently drive the following:

  • a car or van up to 3,500kg MAM towing a trailer of up to 750kg MAM (up to 4,250kg in total)

  • a trailer over 750kg MAM, as long as it is no more than the unladen weight of the towing vehicle (up to 3,500kg in total)

You need to have passed a car and trailer driving test if you want to tow anything heavier.

Licences Issued From 19 January 2013

If you passed your car driving test from 19 January 2013, you could drive either of the following:

  • a car or van up to 3,500kg MAM towing a trailer of up to 750kg MAM (up to 4,250kg in total)

  • a trailer over 750kg MAM as long as the combined MAM of the trailer and towing vehicle is no more than 3,500kg

You’ve had to pass a car and trailer driving test if you want to tow anything heavier.

The Wheatsheaf


What are B Licence Rules?

A B licence allows drivers to tow a caravan. However, there is a limit to the maximum authorised mass (MAM), so you should always be aware of the weight and size of both the caravan and the car. 

If You Passed Your Test between 1 January 1997 to 18 September January 2013

  • You can drive a car or van up to 3.5 tonnes MAM towing a trailer up to 750kg MAM. The overall weight being 4,250kg in total. 

  • A trailer weighing more than 750kg MAM but it can not be more than the unladen weight of the towing vehicle, which must be no more than 3.5 tonnes in total.

If Your Licence was Issued From 19 January 2013 

  • You can drive a car or van up to 3.5 tonnes MAM towing a trailer up to 750kg MAM. The overall weight being 4,250kg in total.

  • A trailer weighing more than 750kg MAM and the combined weight of the car and the trailer is no more than 3.5 tonnes.


How Can I Tow Something Heavier?

In autumn 2021, the rules will change and allow anyone who has passed their car test from 1 January 1997 to tow a trailer with a weight of up to 3,500kg MAM. 

Your licence will be updated to show you have a category BE licence, and this will automatically update, and you do not need to do anything. 

Restrictions on Towing Weight and Width

Before any vehicle is sold to the public, they are weight-tested and sold with something called a Gross Train Weight (GTW). 

The GTW number can be found on the VIN located on the inside of the driver’s door or under the bonnet and states the total weight of the car and loaded trailer. 

This must not be exceeded. Therefore if your vehicle is heavier than the VIN, it is too heavy to drive and classed as illegal.

vintage caravan


Standards for When Your Caravan is on the Road

Now that you know what kind of weights are legal to tow, you should be aware that certain standards are required before your caravan is road ready.

Number Plates

Your caravan must show the same number plate as the car that is towing it. It is easy to forget that your caravan will not have any number plates, and your car number plate will be hidden at the back. 

Be sure to secure the correct number plate to the back of the caravan before setting off.

Towing Mirrors

Mirrors should be fitted to the caravan to ensure you have clear visibility of your surroundings. It is important you can see all aspects of the road to avoid any accidents.

Caravan Brakes

Your caravan requires a good braking system if it weighs over 750kg (for obvious reasons). 

There is also a chance your caravan could disconnect from the car, which is unfortunate, but it does happen. Therefore, it is wise to invest in a breakaway cable to prevent this from happening. 

Towing Bars

Certain towing bars are required to connect the car to the caravan. The towing bars must meet EU regulations and are required by law. 

Failure to do so can result in a £2500 fine and 3 penalty points. It may even lead to a total ban, so purchasing the correct towing bars will save you a lot of hassle in the long run. 


How to Prepare Your Caravan Before Setting Off

Checking your caravan before setting off is vital for avoiding fines, penalties and above all, accidents. Here’s how you can check your caravan to make your journey a safe one. 

Tyres

Before setting off, be sure the tyres on both vehicles are in good condition with no bulges or tears. It is also worth checking the tyre pressure is at the correct standard.

Weight

As discussed earlier, check the VIN to confirm you have the right vehicle weight before setting off. This will help avoid any hefty fines as spot checks can be performed at any time of the day. 

Brake Lights

It goes without saying that you should check the brake lights on your caravan are working before getting on the road. This is so important, particularly for other vehicles on the road. If your brake lights are not working, this could cause a major accident.

Tow Ball and Other Connections

Make sure your caravan is properly connected to your car using the tow ball and other connections. 

It is a good idea to test drive the vehicle in a quiet area beforehand to check the two are properly connected. You don’t want to arrive at your destination to find you haven’t been towing anything! 


Turning 70: What are The Rules?

If you have turned 70 and want to drive a vehicle with a MAM that exceeds 3.5 tonnes, you must take a D4 medical test along with the required eyesight test in order to carry on driving. 

This came into effect from 1 January 1998.


Final Thoughts

Towing a caravan is completely legal, and you will find more often than not that if you are qualified to drive a car, you can tow a caravan (depending on the total MAM). Always make sure to check the VIN for the exact weight which is legal to drive. 

Before setting off, you should always make sure your caravan is connected properly and that you have done a safety check on both vehicles to ensure they are at a good working standard. 

This will help avoid any fines or penalties and, most importantly, avoid major accidents. If you are still unsure, get in touch with the manufacturer for more advice on towing a caravan.

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