What does towing capacity mean?

Most cars have a maximum weight that they can tow safely and legally. The first thing to do is make sure that what you wish to tow doesn’t exceed the trailer’s own maximum authorised mass (MAM) or the car’s maximum towing capacity; these figures should be easy to find in their own individual driver’s manual.

There are usually two maximum towing weights that will be specified: a braked trailer weight and an unbraked one. It’s important to note that if the trailer weight is more than 750kg or over half the car’s kerb weight (this is the weight of the car without people or luggage inside and should be listed in the manual), the trailer must be fitted with brakes.

You can also head over to our Specs pages to find the weight of your vehicle, as well as the braked and unbraked towing weight

The second important thing to point out is the maximum capacity will also include the weight of the trailer/caravan/horsebox itself, so you’ll need to add that into the equation when thinking about how much weight you can transport. You can buy towing scales which will measure the total weight for you, and it’s equally important to ensure the load is spread evenly to avoid overloading a particular tyre.

A caravan’s MAM might be referred to as its MTPLM, which stands for Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass. This is the maximum that a caravan is allowed to weigh with all your luggage and furnishings on board.

How do I find the towing capacity of my car?

The simplest way to discover the car towing capacity is to look in the manual – it should be listed in there. However, this may not be possible as sometimes cars have different towing capacities depending on their specification, or you may have lost the manual.

To be sure, you can also find the towing capacity on the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) plate. This is often located on the bottom of the windscreen on the passenger side or on the car’s body around the passenger door frame.