If you are the owner of a motorhome, you get access to a whole lot of opportunities. When people talk about a towing vehicle, a motorhome would rarely comes to mind. However, it is not impossible to do some motorhome towing.
Your motorhome is able to pull a lot of weight, so you can use it to tow trailers, cars, and other vehicles. But, what is the towing limit of a motorhome? In this article, we will be looking at the towing capacities of various motorhomes.
What Is The Towing Capacity Of A Motorhome?
In a general sense, the towing capacity of a motorhome will differ based on its class and some other factors. However, motorhomes can tow up to 15,000 pounds. You will be able to get better mileage and two better if you go for more aerodynamic models.
The maximum towing capacity of your motorhome can be found under the specifications for your chassis.
Does Towing Capacity Include Trailer Weight?
Your towing vehicle needs to have more towing capacity than the heaviest weight you wish to pull. This means that you need to include the trailer weight when measuring the towing capacity.
Everything you add like a spare wheel, fuel, and water tanks would be pulled by your motorhome. This is why the gross train weight should never exceed the towing capacity of your vehicle.
What Are The Advantages Of Towing With A Motorhome?
You stand to benefit a lot from towing with your motorhome. Some of these advantages include:
- Some campervans like the vw campervan don’t provide much accommodation. So by towing either a small caravan or trailer, you get vehicle combinations with more storage space.
- You can tow a small car to give you more freedom for daytime roaming.
- Towing with your motorhome gives you the ability and extra space to pack all the stuff you need on your trip that won’t fit in your main vehicle.
- You get a more relaxing and enjoyable trip.
Are There Any Disadvantages?
There are some downsides to towing with a motorhome. They include:
- You get reduced speed limits on dual carriageways and single carriageways. You also cannot utilize the outside lane of a motorway with three or more lanes.
- Manoeuvring and reversing in tight spaces is difficult.
- There are some vehicle’s transmission systems that can get damaged when they are towed, especially automatics. The battery life can also be impacted negatively if you leave a key in to override the steering lock.
What Weight Can You Tow With A Motorhome?
The maximum weight you can pull with your motorhome is the combined weight of the motorhome and its hitch. However, you cannot tow more than the gross vehicle weight rating of the motorhome.
You can also read the owner’s manuals to get more information on your motorhome’s maximum tow capacity.
Are All Motorhomes Suitable For Towing?
It is not all motorhomes and campervans that can be used to tow. Firstly, you need to be sure that your motorhome is capable of pulling the weight you need it to. Also, be sure that you are well within the law.
Towing Capacity Of Different Class Motorhomes?
What can your vehicle tow? Just as there are different classes of motorhomes, each of them comes with its towing limits. Keep in mind that most times what you can tow depends on the maximum towing limit of your vehicle.
So, let’s take a look at what you can tow and transport with your motorhome.
What Is The Towing Capacity For A Class A Motorhome?
Generally, class A motorhomes feature the highest tow ratings and their towing weight capacities range from about 5000 pounds to 15000 pounds.
However, you should take note of some heavy class-A motorhomes that come with smaller engines as they don’t have the capacity to tow too much. To prevent damage and ensure you operate correctly, don’t use these to tow a car.
One of the most popular items you will see people towing is a tow-behind car. Towing cars can be done with a suitable towbar.
What Is The Towing Capacity For A Class B Motorhome?
Your class B motorhome with an average height of 17-ft has a maximum towing capacity of 3500 to 5000 pounds.
A class B motorhome with an average size of 18 feet has an average max tow weight of 3500 to 5000 pounds.
What Is The Towing Capacity For A Class C Motorhome?
Your standard class C motorhome with an average size of 30-ft to 31-ft can pull weights of 5000 pounds to 7500 pounds.
Class C motorhomes that are large vehicles with an average size of 32 ft to 44 ft, they have a towing capacity of about 10000 pounds to 40000 pounds.
Motorhome Towing Capacity: How To Work It Out?
It is fairly easy to find out your motorhome towing capacity. Firstly, you need to find out the kerb weight of your vehicle, which can be found in the owner’s manual, vehicle details plate, or on the V5 registration document.
After getting the kerb weight, multiply the value by 0.85. The resulting value is the maximum authorised mass you can tow with your motorhome.
Can You Increase The Towing Capacity Of Your Motorhome?
The towing capacity of your motorhome can be increased. Here’s how;
- Purchase a proper hitch.
- Utilize a programmer.
- Replace the axles.
- Upgrade its braking system and suspension.
- Get a larger radiator.
- Improve the intake and exhaust.
Most Common Way To Tow With Your Motorhome?
You can tow different vehicles with your motorhome including bikes and two-wheel drive vehicles. Some of the common things you can carry along when motorhome towing include;
- Horse Trailers
- Cargo and Utility Trailers
Towing with a motorhome can be done in so many ways. These are some of the best and most common ways;
Using A Tow bar Along With Knowing The Noseweight
The nose weight is the downward force the towed vehicle exerts on your towing vehicle’s tow ball. If there is insufficient nose weight, then the towed vehicle will become unstable.
A tow bar links the trailer or vehicle behind your motorhome. The towed vehicle has all four wheels on the floor and you can increase stability between both vehicles by using a safety chain.
You can easily fit panel van motorhomes with a tow bar, but the task can vary in difficulty for coachbuilt motorhomes. This is a space-efficient and cheap solution for towing with your motorhome.
Using An A-Frame
An A-frame is one of the more popular options for motorhome towing. You need a professional to install this as vacuum/electric braking systems will be linked to the car. Some a-frame suppliers claim to have manufactured systems that meet the braking force regulations.
Brake pedals are actuated on the A-frame with a remote device to initiate a safe and stable braking system for both the car (towed vehicle) and the motorhome.
A car attached to your motorhome using an A-frame is taken as a trailer combination. So, based on towing regulations, you will be required to switch the car’s number plate with that of the motorhome and also do the same for the rear lights. You could use a separate trailer board with its own lights.
The rules state you do not require brakes for a trailer that is up to 750kg, but they must be in perfect working condition if there are brakes fitted.
These are the benefits of using an a-frame;
- A-frames tend to be cheaper than car transporter trailers.
- The a-frame does not take up much space.
- It provides the towed car, motorhomes, and even trailers with adequate hard standing.
These are some of the downsides of using the a-frame;
- It might be complicated to set up the braking system and electrical system of a smart car.
- If you don’t use technology that overruns inertia systems, it can lead to sustained braking drag.
- Towing cars with a motorhome sees that all four wheels are on the ground, which means that reversing is going to be an issue since there is no pivot point.
Are Motorhome Towing A-Frames Legal In The Eu?
The above rules apply to towing a car with a motorhome in the UK. If you wish to tow abroad, then it would be best to investigate the legal requirements set by these other European countries.
The law sets limits that state if you can legally tow safely, so you should check out the limits before using an a-frame.
Using A Trailer
It would be a better option to use a twin-axle trailer than the single-axle version as they are more steady on the road. The trailer is a safe and stable option that allows you to tow cars and other objects without any complications.
- It is not just restricted to towing cars.
- You get the ability to reverse.
- You get more value for money.
- You will need extra storage space.
- You need to factor in the extra costs of added security.
Using A Tow Dolly
A tow dolly is mostly used to transport a non-functional vehicle. Here, one set of the disabled car’s tyres is kept on the floor while the other end is suspended.
When towing a car with the use of a tow dolly, ensure that your towing vehicle has a proper braking system.
- It takes up less space than a trailer.
- It is more stable than using a-frames.
- Extra time and effort are needed to load and unload.
What Driving Licence Do You Need To Tow With A Motorhome?
Does your driving licence permit you to tow with a motorhome? If you are among those that completed their driving test before 1997, then you have a c1 entitlement, which lets you drive anything up to 7500kg.
With a category B driver’s licence, you can tow trailers up to 750kg but your motorhome’s weight must not exceed 3500kg. Towing a trailer combination with a combined MAM of up to 8250kg will require that you have a C1E.
If you want to tow a trailer combination of over 8250kg combined MAM, you will need to get a provisional entitlement to sub-category C1E.
What Are The Rules For Towing A Car Behind A Motorhome?
These are some guidelines to follow if you are towing a car behind a motorhome;
- If your motorhome is wider than the towed vehicle, you will need towing mirrors.
- Additional braking systems are required for cars over 750kg.
- You cannot tow a permanent 4×4 or an automatic car expect all four wheels are off the ground, which means it should be placed on a trailer.
Towing Outside The UK
If you want to tow trailers above 3500kg gross weight and commercial trailers that weigh above 750kg gross weight, you need to ensure that they are registered.
Important Precautions When Towing With Your Motorhome
Follow these safety measures when towing with a motorhome;
- Don’t go above 80% of your max towing capacity.
- Inspect your motorhome’s oil levels, wheel bolts, and tyres before you go on trips.
- You also need to secure your motorhome for adequate protection against thieves. You can do this by getting a security video camera, wheel clamp, secure door locks, and other equipment. For more info on how to keep your motorhome safe, click here.
Is It Ok To Tow At Max Capacity?
Your motorhome manufacturer just like other manufacturers will always emphasize not going above the max towing capacity. However, to ensure that you are completely safe, you should not tow above 80% of your max towing capacity.
What Happens If Towing Capacity Is Exceeded?
You should not joke with the towing capacity of your motorhome if you want it to work properly. Going over the stipulated towing capacity of your vehicle will speed up brake wear, warp the chassis, damage the tires, and strain your engine and transmission. This could result in serious injury or property damage.
Most of the best towing vehicles are usually rear-wheel drive vehicles and sport a short overhang behind the rear wheels, which is what your motorhome is bound to be.
Also, don’t forget to get motorhome insurance from a reliable insurance company to ensure you are safe from anything from a small car to heavier ones.
1. Does Towing With A Motorhome Make It Harder To Drive?
Typically, towing anything will make it harder for you to drive. However, towing with a motorhome. But you should note that having your towed vehicle behind a motorhome is better than towing behind a car. For a fact, it would be a bit challenging to reverse and manoeuvre in a busy city or tight spaces.
2. Does Having A Trailer Or Car Cost More On Ferries And Tunnels?
This is probably one of the setbacks of using your motorhome as a towing vehicle. Since your vehicle combination will mean that you have a longer vehicle, everything might just cost more. Ferry companies will charge you for ferries and tunnels based on the length of your vehicle.
3. Does Towing Shorten The Life Of A Motorhome?
Extra power is required by your motorhome to pull the combined weight of the small trailer/ car and the entire vehicle’s payload. So, this might cause extra strain on the vehicle.
However, it doesn’t have to be too bad as you can take the right steps to prevent damage. Ensure you don’t tow more than the maximum weight your motorhome can pull.
4. Does Towing Affect Your Insurance?
Towing will not impact your insurance policy. You should be aware of the cover provided by your policies. Your motorhome policy will usually cover your towed vehicle while it is attached to it.
5. Is It Legal To Tow A Caravan With A Motorhome?
It is legal to tow a caravan with your motorhome. However, you should also know that you are limited to towing an unbraked trailer with a maximum authorised mass of not more than 750kg.