Advertise here

Legal and Recomended Towing Weight Ratio

nolonger registered
Joined Jun 2005
3 posts


I understand that the recommended tow ratio for a car and caravan is that the caravan weight should ideally be 85% or less of the cars kerb weight.

Ok. Legally what’s the deal? I understand that you can go to 100%.

My car is a ford focus which has a kerb weight of 1200kg and a max tow to match.

If I purchase a caravan with a MTPLM weight of 1400kg but when unloaded only weighs lets say 1150kg would it be legal to tow using my ford focus although I do understand that its not recommended.

Sorry i should add that i intend on towing the caravan empty with no extra payload.

I have to keep saying that because I have asked this question in other places and all I ever get back is the 85% recommendation over and over without any real explanation of the MTPLM part of my question.

The reason I is that I wish to purchase a larger caravan and temporarily use my ford focus until I purchase a ford Modeo which I’m hoping to get soon after.

The figures I have used are purely for example.

Thanks in advance.


Wednesday, 15 June 2005
Edited Wednesday, 15 June 2005

Discussion Archived

Joined Mar 2002
2443 posts

I am glad the figures are only an example because a Mondeo is going to struggle with 1400+kg unless perhaps it's that new 130ps TDCI...I want one!!
Cars built after 98 have stated weights for nose and gross and these became cast in stone after this time. If you exceed them you leave yourself open to prosecution, more to the point in the event of an you insurers run for the hills!
For the most part though as far as the police are concerned it's the GTW that matters most and this should never be exceeded because it is the first thing they will look at, (Gross Train Weight, thats the car the van and everything in both and is the highest kg number on the VIN plate). With cars built before 98 everything bar GTW was more or less advisory.

As for 85% it's good advice particularly for the novice but dependent on when you took your test you can tow lawfully up to the GTW. With Ford you tend to find GTW and max tow are the same less the weight of the car, which means 100%+.
What I would say is other factors come in like it gets progressively more difficult and tiring the heavier the van gets and if things go wrong...they go very wrong.

Right, MTPLM, this is the maximum weight of the van when loaded and if you take off the payload it is obviously lighter, if that weight then brings it below the max tow of the car....then fine.
If however you are thinking of loading the back of the car to stay within the 'rules' then beware.
Up to a point it is a good idea but it does not add to the 'official' kerb-weight and if overdone will destabilise the whole outfit

Wednesday, 15 June 2005
Edited Thursday, 16 June 2005

Discussion Archived

nolonger registered
Joined Jun 2005
3 posts


I have just today purchased a nice 4 berth avondale with a MTPLM of 1190 which if i under load will even meet the 85% advise. So i'm pritty happy. Keep up with the good advise it stops people like me going out and trying to pull houses on the back of fiesta's.

Sorry about my spelling :-)

Thursday, 16 June 2005

Discussion Archived

nolonger registered
Joined Jun 2005
3 posts

i dont mean to be a pain but im getting feedback from other sources telling me that if passed my test before 97 or something that i can tow up to the cars maximum tow limit even if it is greater than the kerb weight of the car. BUT every source always recomends the 85% rule. Even though i do not intend on towing any more than 100% kerbweight i really would like to know if some of the cars i have seen towing caravans greater than the kerb weight of the car are legal or not. e.g. a mondeo can technicaly pull 1800kg but only weighs in at around 1400kg can it legaly pull 1800kg or is it defo only 1400kg

Wednesday, 6 July 2005

Discussion Archived

Important Note

All messages are submitted by visitors to this web site, and represent their own personal opinion. They do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Preloved.

You use this information at your own risk. Preloved can not be held responsible for any damages or loss resulting from the use of this site. Please see our Terms and Conditions for more details.