Find out about towing weights, licence requirements and how driving laws apply to towing a trailer or caravan.
Never just assume you have cover to tow a trailer or caravan on your car insurance. Double check your documents to see what's allowed.
If you passed your car driving test on or after 1 January 1997, you can:
For licences issued before 1 January 1997, you can drive a vehicle and trailer combination of up to 8,250kg.
Towing anything heavier means you’ll have to apply for a category C1+E licence and pass the theory and practical tests. This allows you to drive vehicles and trailers with a combined weight of up to 12,000kg.
Most cars have a maximum weight they can tow, which will be in the handbook or specification sheet.
Alternatively, your vehicles ‘gross train weight’ can be found on the vehicle identification number (VIN) which is found under the bonnet or inside the driver-side door.
The gross train weight is the maximum limit of the full car plus a full trailer, and it shouldn’t be exceeded.
If your car doesn’t have a train weight, you shouldn’t use it for towing.
Trailers can be up to 2.55 metres wide and 7 metres long (not including the A-frame).
Your trailer must have the same number plate as your towing car. If you’ve got more than one trailer, put the number plate on the back trailer.
The tow bar must meet EU regulations, have a label with an approval number and details of the vehicles it’s approved to be used on.
Towing mirrors are a must if your trailer or caravan is wider than your car.
It must have a working brake system if your trailer is heavier than 750kg and a secondary coupling (breakaway cable) just in case the tow bar fails.