Unfortunately, that’s a question too many people don’t completely investigate before they purchase a caravan! We have regular conversations with customers, informing them it’s simply not possible (and certainly not legal) for them to tow the caravan or camper trailer they have already purchased, while using their existing vehicle.

That’s an expensive purchasing error, we are hearing far too much about! We hate delivering this bad news where the only solution is to rethink the van or upsize the car!

So, we bring you this blog to clear up any confusion (and hopefully help another excited traveller to make the right purchase).

Welcome to your comprehensive (but quick!) guide to towing weights. Please read on, before you buy that caravan.


What you need to know about buying a caravan

We’ve talked about the critical towing weights you need to know, in previous articles, but these towing terms can be meaningless and confusing if you’re new to the game. That’s ok, we understand and we want you on the road safely so let us help!


So what are the key terms to wrap your head around?



Towing capacity Maximum weight that a vehicle can legally tow
Gross Vehicle Mass Maximum allowable total mass of a fully loaded vehicle. Tare mass (weight of vehicle) + load (including passenger weight)
Gross Combination Mass Maximum laden mass of a vehicle plus maximum laden mass of an attached caravan. GCM must never be exceeded.
Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) Maximum your fully-loaded tow vehicle can weigh
Gross Trailer Mass Weight of the fully loaded trailer imposed on the axle when it is attached to the tow vehicle.
Tare Mass Weight of an empty caravan excluding the weight of any after-sales fitted accessories. 
Payload ATM minus Tare Mass. Everything you put into the vehicle and caravan – water, gas bottles, luggage etc.
Trailer Ball Weight Weight imposed on the tow vehicle’s tow ball by the coupling

Do the right thing

It is crucial that these weights never be exceeded in accordance with your vehicle owner’s manual and towbar rating. Warranty and insurance will be affected if these weights are found to have been exceeded, not to mention the risk to your safety. It’s simply not worth it.


Other things to consider for towing vehicles

  • Electric brakes are required to increase towing capacity above 750kg.
  • Side mirrors may need to be upgraded – see our towing mirror options here.
  • Tyres can develop flat spots from the additional weight on the tow vehicle. Good maintenance is vital. Tyres that suit the vehicle’s requirements in terms of load capacity and GVM may be required. Correct tyre pressure is important to the handling of your towing vehicle and caravan. Change your tyre pressure to suit terrain.

Not all Towbars are created equal

As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.

The Towbars we supply at Hall Towbars are subjected to stringent testing conditions during development and you can be assured they are the highest quality on the market, as a result.

Don’t scrimp on your towbar when you have made a large investment in your caravan and vehicle.

Learn more about our towbar range here.

The easiest way to avoid a towing mishap or worse is to pick up the phone and have a chat with us before you make any big purchases. We’re here to help and it will only take a quick conversation with one of our knowledgeable team members to potentially save you from some major disappointment.

Contact us today, via the form below or give us a call on 8360 5100.

Click here to read more information on towing laws in South Australia.

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