Embarking on a towing adventure is an exciting endeavour, whether you’re hauling a camper trailer, boat, or caravan. However, the key to a smooth and safe towing experience lies in understanding towing weights. Read on as we aim to unravel the complexities of towing weights, exploring their significance, and providing insights to help you navigate the road of capacity and capability.
Caravans, camper trailers, and all types of trailers are usually assessed by their total weight, which means their unladen weight (also known as tare weight) plus the maximum payload they can carry.
There are two different total weights:
- Aggregate trailer mass (ATM) – This is the weight of the trailer plus its maximum payload when uncoupled from a vehicle. This is also called gross trailer weight.
- Gross trailer mass (GTM) – This is the, which will be less than the ATM as it excludes much of the trailer’s underpinnings.
- GTM refers to the weight of a fully loaded trailer on its own axle when coupled to a towing vehicle (the ball weight is not included)
Where To Find Your Caravan Towing Weights?
Every caravan manufacturer must fix a compliance plate to the caravans they build. This will include tare weight, empty tow ball weight, aggregate trailer mass (ATM), and gross trailer mass (GTM).
PMX Campers & Caravans have fixed a VIN plate to the draw bar with all information.
Tow Vehicle’s Payload Capacity – Understanding your tow vehicle’s payload capacity is crucial. It is important to consider the weight of passengers, cargo, modifications done after factory and anything loaded into the vehicle. These are not accounted for by the vehicle manufacturer & will affect towing capacity.
Australian vehicles all have an official towing capacity supplied by the manufacturer. You can usually obtain this off the information sticker inside the driver door well or from the vehicle dealer.
You should be aware of the maximum towing capacity, maximum ball weight.
Always ensure the tow bar, hitch tongue & tow ball are also compatible with the vehicles maximum braked towing capacity.
Electric brake systems
Any trailer exceeding 750KG loaded will require a braking system. Most modern caravans will be fitted with electric brakes which require a controller to be fitted to towing vehicle. PMX can also supply & fit an electronic braking system to the caravan eliminating the need to install in your vehicle.
The Importance of Understanding Towing Weights
- Being overweight is against the law and you could receive a hefty fine.
- Too much weight puts strain on your engine, chassis, and running gear.
- An overweight van can cause instability and sway and could result in a serious accident or put lives in danger.
- Insurance will not cover you if you have been deemed to be towing above your weight limit.
Tips for Safe Towing
- Distribute Weight Properly – Proper weight distribution is crucial for stability. Ensure that the weight is evenly distributed, with about 60% of the weight in front of the trailer’s axle for optimal towing balance.
- Check Tyre Pressure – Adequate tyre pressure is essential for safe towing. Underinflated tyres can lead to overheating and potential blowouts. Regularly check and maintain the correct air pressure in your tyres.
- Use Towing Aids – Consider using towing aids like sway control devices to enhance stability and control during towing.
Towing Wisdom for the Road Ahead
Towing weights are more than just numbers; they are the keys to a safe and enjoyable towing experience. By understanding your vehicle’s capacities, adhering to towing guidelines, and implementing best practices, you can confidently navigate the road with the assurance that your towing adventure is both thrilling and secure. So, as you embark on your next towing journey, remember, knowledge is not just power; it’s the roadmap to a towing experience that’s both exhilarating and safe. Happy towing!
The Local Caravan Specialists Perth Families Rely On
For a huge range of high quality new caravans, Perth’s PMX Campers & Caravans is your trusted choice. We specialise in the best off-road camper trailers and caravans to suit all budgets. Contact us online now to find out more.