Know the towing capacity of your vehicle.
Before towing it is important to know exactly what your vehicle is capable of towing, or if it can tow at all, for safety, legal and insurance purposes.
The weight capacity is different for each individual vehicle, details on the towing capacity are in the owners handbook. Any information from other sources should only be considered as a guide.
The only number that should be used for your vehicles exact towing capacity is the one stamped on the Vehicle Identification Number plate (VIN plate). The VIN plate is usually a sticker or alloy plate riveted to the body of the vehicle, found either under the bonnet or on a door pillar (details on the location will be in the owners hand book). You will find 3 or 4 sets of numbers on the VIN plate, these numbers are what are used to know the towing capacity for the vehicle.
If you want to check online if your car can tow a certain caravan, check this website here: https://towcar.info/
The VIN plate (which will look similar to the image on the right) will show you either 3 or 4 different weights. If there are 3 sets of numbers, it is not homologated for towing. When there are 4 sets of numbers, they mean as follows.-
The top is the Maximum Allowed Mass (MAM) of the vehicle including occupants, fuel and payload. Also known as gross vehicle weight.
The second number is the maximum total combined weight of the vehicle and caravan/trailer. Also known as gross train weight.
The last 2 numbers are the maximum load for front and rear axles respectively.
Your vehicles recommended, by manufacturers, towing capacity will be the gross train weight minus the gross vehicle weight (second set of numbers minus the first set).
In the image above the the gross vehicle weight is 2120 kg and the gross train weight is 3720 kg, so the towing capacity is 1600 kg (3720 kg minus 2120kg).
Vehicles not homologated (approved) to tow.
There are certain types of vehicles, hybrids and city car models or similar types of vehicles, that are not homologated for towing. This means the vehicle has been deemed, by manufacturers, unable to tow. If this is the case the gross train weight will either not be on the VIN plate or will appear as zero (eg 0000 kg).