Knowing your vehicle's towing capacity.
We often get asked how much towing weight a specific vehicle can tow. It is important to know the exact towing capacity of your vehicle for safety, legal and insurance purposes.
This is specific to each individual vehicle, so details of the towing capacity for your vehicle that are found in the owner’s handbook, the manufacturer’s website and so on should only be taken as a guide.
The actual, exact and only towing capacity figure that should be used for your vehicle is that which is stamped on the Vehicle Identification Number Plate, VIN Plate.
The VIN plate can usually be found under the bonnet or on a door pillar and details of the location will be in the owner’s handbook. The plate will be either an alloy plate riveted to the body or a sticker.
Once you have located your VIN plate it will look similar to the images below. It will display either 3 or 4 lines with weights, it is these weights that the authorities use to determine whether your vehicle is over-laden.
This first image shows a VIN plate from a vehicle that is homologated (Approved) to tow:
It has 4 lines of numbers:
2505kg - Gross vehicle weight, the Maximum Allowable Mass (MAM)
of the vehicle including occupants, fuel and payload.
4200kg - Gross train weight, the Combined Maximum Allowable
Mass of the vehicle and trailer.
1250kg & 1300kg - Maximum axle loads front and rear respectively.
The manufacturer's recommended maximum towing capacity for your vehicle is the gross vehicle weight subtracted from gross train weight.
In this case 4200kg - 2505kg = 1695kg.
So the vehicle identification plate detailed in the above picture has a towing capacity of 1695kg.
Vehicles not homologated (Approved) to tow.
Certain high performance cars, hybrid and city-car models or similar variants of standard models are not homologated to tow, this means that the vehicle manufacturer has deemed that the model is unsuitable for use as a tow vehicle. With this type of vehicle the towing capacity will equate to zero or a gross train weight will not be displayed.
The image below is from an Audi S3, which is not homologated (Approved) to tow, the Gross Train Weight is shown as 0000 kg. Some manufacturers simply leave this line blank. If you are unsure if your car is allowed to tow, you need to check this line on the VIN plate.