How Much Can My Car Legally Tow?
Before hiring a trailer, it is important to know exactly what your vehicle is capable of towing. If a vehicle is overloaded, it can cause excessive damage to the vehicle and void any insurance as well as posing a major threat on our roads. Strong laws govern the overloading of trailers and are there to ensure the safety of all road users.
How to check my cars rating..
A cars towing rating can depend on many combined factors including:
- The cars towbar rating
- The towball rating
- Whether the trailer has brakes
- The rating of the cars tyres
- The cars transmission (manual / automatic)
Every new Australian car comes with a tow bar rating, either inside the drivers / passengers door, in the owners manuel or on the tow bar compliance plate, however many towbars are after market and may require further investigation.
Every Australian towbar has a weight rating in which the manufacturer states the towbar can legally comply. The capacity of your towbar and coupling must be at least equal to the loaded mass of the trailer.
A towbar fitted to a vehicle built after January 1992 must be marked with its load capacity and either the vehicle model for which it is designed or the towbar manufacturer's part number.
Cars Without Compliance Plates
If your tow bar is older or is not marked with a compliance plate, you should seek advice from the manufacturer or a suitably qualified person to determine the towbar's capacity.
If the capacity is unknown, the trailer's maximum loaded mass must not exceed your vehicle's unloaded mass.
If the trailer has brakes that can be operated from within the towing vehicle (electric brakes) you may tow up to 1 1/2 times the towing vehicle's unladen mass.
You can check your vehicle's unladen mass and your trailer's laden mass at a licensed weighbridge or at your local sand and metal depot. They must each be weighed while they are NOT connected.
Before towing a trailer, it is important that you check to ensure your cars tyres are rated to withstand the load being towed. Failure to do so will overload the tyres.
Tow Ball Rating
Many towballs state their rating on the top or on the rim of the ball as seen in the picture on the right. (If in doubt, DON'T USE IT. Refer to your towing vehicles owner's manual or contact a qualified tow bar specialist for further inspection).