Here are a few things to consider when towing a trailer with a van –
Towing weight for your van
Each van has a different capacity, therefore has a certain weight that it can withstand. Your van handbook should explain this in more detail for your model. Your van cannot tow any more than 85% of the van weight (including fuel and standard equipment). It’s highly important that you don’t tow any more than the van can handle as this will be unsafe and illegal.
Your handbook may state two different weight capacities. Put simply:
- The Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) is how much the vehicle (including any trailers) can weigh whilst driving
- The Gross Combination Weight (GCW) equals the maximum weight including the vehicle, trailers and loads carried
Check the trailer is roadworthy
Before you set off on any journey, your van and trailer must be in good working condition. Both must be safe and legal. Check tyres on lights on both vehicles and ensure that your tax and van insurance and NCT are up to date and compliant with your circumstances. Your registration plate must also be visible.
Of course, working brakes are always important on your van, but towing a trailer will change the way your brakes work. Some trailers will also have brakes of their own, some won’t – it depends on the Gross Vehicle Weight. Remember this when you’re driving because braking (and accelerating for that matter) may feel different to normal.
Once you’ve added some weight on to the van and trailer you may notice that your mirrors need adjusting. Depending on the height and length of your trailer, you might also need to fit extending mirrors to make sure you can see around the trailer and see what you are towing.
Coupling and Loading
Everything you consider when towing a trailer depends on the type of van and the weight of the trailer and its load. The towbar you fit will be dependent on this, for example. Before driving off, check that the tailor is well connected, that the towbar is level and that anything loaded on to the trailer is well secured and covered.
Don’t forget to also check your driving licence before you start towing, to ensure that you have the right type of license to drive a van and pull a trailer.
As long as you follow all of the safety advice available to you and stick to the rules for your van type, you will have a successful journey. Keep speed limits in mind, always considering that you may be carrying more weight than you’re used to and braking times may be longer.
Again, if you need to talk to us about your van insurance and to make sure that you’re fully insured to tow a trailer, then give us a call to discuss your needs.