Choosing the right Caravan

Motoring 2015-10-15

If you’re thinking of buying a caravan, it’s worth checking that your car is big enough and has enough power to tow it safely. So before you get a caravan loan, have a look at some of the hints and tips from The Caravan Club which will answer some of the most commonly asked caravanning questions.

Will my car tow the caravan I want?

The heavier your car is and the lighter the caravan you’ve chosen to tow, the safer they’ll be together. The caravan’s weight, loaded up with everything you’re going to take on holiday, shouldn’t be more than 85% of the car’s weight with nothing loaded in the car, other than driver.

Most car manufacturers tell you the maximum weight a car can tow, though this is only an indication of its power, not a guide to stability or safety when towing.

Check the weight of your car in its handbook. Look in the caravan’s handbook for the weight of that too. We’ve also provided a list of weight of the sort of stuff an average family might take on holiday in their caravan, to help you gauge what you need. Best not to overload a caravan, it’s not safe and it’s against the law.

Members of The Caravan Club can use its free online service to research a future purchase or experiment with different options. And if you’re not a Club member, talk to The Caravan Club’s Outfit Matching Service on 01342 326944 and we’ll offer basic outfit matching advice.

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A correctly loaded caravan pushes down onto your car’s towball. We call this the ‘noseweight’. It’s usually 5-7% of the caravan’s laden weight, so before buying a caravan, check this isn’t more than your car manufacturer’s stated limit. Even with everything right, the rear of your car may go down and you might need to re-set your headlamps.

What can I carry in my caravan?

To find out the amount you can carry in the caravan, look for the payload allowance in the handbook. It’s very easy to accidentally exceed the weight allowance for a caravan. This may cause premature tyre failure and damage the running gear (chassis, brakes, axles and so on), and it’s illegal too.

After 1999 most caravans have been built to a European Standard. You’ll find the following information in the user’s handbook. The term ‘mass’ simply means the weight:

  • The maximum permissible laden mass (MTPLM or MAW) in kilograms. This is the weight of the caravan with everything you’re allowed to load on board
  • The mass in running order (MIRO), in kilograms. This is the weight of the caravan without anything loaded into it.
  • The maximum user payload allowance (MTPLM minus MIRO) in kilograms. This is the weight of stuff you could load into it. To give you an idea of how much weight is allowed for such items as crockery, cutlery, clothing and the usual stuff you’re likely to take with you, here’s a rough guide.

If you’re looking to get your hands on a caravan then why not check out our low cost Caravan Loans from 3.2% APR Representative between £7,500 and £25,000.
Hitachi Hints and Tips is intended to be informative and interesting. It does not constitute financial advice, and you should always do further research when making any financial decisions. All information was correct at date of publication.
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