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Hi can anybody help me a friend has gone to the Darkside and bought a motorhome and is Hoping to tour Europe  with it only thing is he plans to tow a small car on an A-frame I believe it is illegal to use A-frame in Europe can anybody throw any light on this  thanks

Les

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Friend has had problems in both France and Spain last year.....and now taken the advice "often the only way to be sure of this is to leave the A-frame at home and instead tow your vehicle on a small trailer instead."

 

Sure some of our semi-residents in Europe will be along soon with the answers.

 

geoff

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Kia Sorento KX-1 CRDI 4WD towing an Elddis Affinity 530

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In Germany and Spain "A" frames are not tolerated, the legal position is rather unclear but you will get stopped and told to drive the car seperately. In France it is (or at least it was last time we did it) theoretically legal but try telling the local Gendarmes that when they pull you over!

 

A trailer is one solution but can be very awkward if using Aires. Problem is that on most aires you'll need two parking spaces and the French don't approve of brits taking up an extra parking space just for a trailer so you're likely to get some opposition and aggro sooner or later.

 

Overall the best solution is jut to leave the car at home, most towns, villages and attractions on the continent provide convenient parking and stopovers for motorhomes so in most cases you don't need the car.

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Carry bikes or lekky bikes.

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Ern

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1 hour ago, segapod said:

In Germany and Spain "A" frames are not tolerated, the legal position is rather unclear but you will get stopped and told to drive the car seperately. In France it is (or at least it was last time we did it) theoretically legal but try telling the local Gendarmes that when they pull you over!

 

 

The legal position is perfectly clear. There are no special provisions for A-frames in any legislation anywhere so for lack of details to the contrary, the A-frame plus car is treated as one unit, and consequently as a trailer. It must therefore fulfil all legal requirements that apply to trailers and that includes full type approval. However, up to now no manufacturer has applied for and received such type approval. That is the position on the Continent. In the UK the authorities take a more tolerant view and have not, as yet, insisted on full type approval.

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I see a lot of RV's towing a car here on the North Coast 500.  They seem to have a braking system that pushes the car's brake pedal when the tow vehicle brakes.  But the car's engine is not running, so any brake servo will be inoperative.  I can't find any specific regs in UK for this set up.  I would have thought an RV + car would exceed the max weight allowed?

 

Skoda Yeti 2.0 Outdoor DSG.  Freedom Jetstream Sports Twin Flare.  Reich mover.

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One of the important things to look at is what the motorhome is plated at in respect of what weight of trailer you can tow. They need to look at the plate fitted by the MH manufacturer NOT the original fitted by the base vehicle maker. Many motorhomes have a much LOWER towing capacity than the base vehicle chassis. It’s because many have rear chassis extensions. 

I owned a fairly large motorhome that was plated (solo) at 4250kg But was only plated to tow 1045kg. That was JUST enough to tow a Smart car on a specialised lightweight Smart car trailer. Anything bigger would have resulted in me exceeding my maximum train weight. 

As for A frames there are all sorts of “issues” if used abroad. In Spain it’s illegal to tow ANY vehicle, even if broken down. They can ONLY be moved on a trailer. The Spanish police enforce that law with enthusiasm. I understand the Germans do likewise and the French to a somewhat lesser extent.

The ONLY 100%  safe option is to use a trailer, but be VERY sure of the possible weight restrictions before going down that route. 

I tried for many years to get a definitive answer in respect of the legality of A frames if used in the U.K. VOSA/DFT did their usual trick of sitting on the fence and saying it was up to a court to decide if something was legal or not, and the CPS did likewise. For what it’s worth, during my 30 years as a traffic cop I was never aware of anyone being prosecuted for using an A frame in the U.K. But certainly heard of many who fell foul of Spanish plodd!!

 

Andy

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Experience is an awful teacher who ends up sending you simply horrifying bills

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If the A-frame and car were within weight limits I think you would be OK but Mr Plod has it spot on.  I think there would need to be an assessment of how effective the brakes were.  The manufacturers (or importers) in the UK are a bit vague about the legality.  

 

Towtal say on their website 

 

"Our Aframe is manufactured and fitted alongside as many guidelines as we can find but clearly this is still a “grey” area."

 

They post a lot of legal stuff here

 

One sentence caught my eye,

 

" If the braking system has power assistance (i.e servo or full power) it is likely that this assistance will be required during towing to meet the required braking efficiencies. "

 

 

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Skoda Yeti 2.0 Outdoor DSG.  Freedom Jetstream Sports Twin Flare.  Reich mover.

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I use a car trailer as I think it is cheaper in the long run as every time you change your car you need to have the car converted with the electrics and servo units but with trailer you can change cars with no issues . A few weeks ago on site I watched a person preparing to tow with a frame and it took a good half an hour when I can load my car and trailer and ready to go in 5 minutes . Automatic vehicles can also have issues and towing is not advised with a frame .

 

My MH can tow 2000 kg .

 

As said in Europe touring in a MH is more acceptable with Aires in or on the edge of town .

 

 

The debate over A frames is argued on many forums with cars becoming trailers and type approval then argued but I have never known a car to have type approval to be fitted with the extra equipment .

 

 

Dave

Jeep Commander 3. 0 V6 CRD

Isuzu D- Max Utah Auto

Elddis Crusader Storm 2000 Kgs, Unipart Royal Atlas Mover .

 

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Thank you all for the Answers  it's basically as I thought the UK you will get away with it but over in Europe its a NO NO

 

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DVSA make it quite clear that an A Frame used for any other function other than recovery, have to be considered in concert with the towed vehicle as a trailer.

As a trailer the whole vehicle requires type approval and that throws up a number of issues that make it difficult to comply.

 

Braking effort is usually not sufficient unless the towed vehicles engine is running. Failing that some other form of brake activation is required. 

 

A seperate type approval would be required for each type of vehicle towed, effectively making each A frame bespoke.

 

The statutory plate needs to record the  correct masses , again making it bespoke.

 

Type approved trailers are not allowed removable lights so you cannot use a lighting board.

 

The car would need to have permanently fitted triangular  reflectors when operated as a trailer, but these would need to be concealed or removed when operating as a car as they are not allowed

 

Depending on length and width other permanently fitted lights or reflectors are required that then have to be removed or concealed as they are not allowed as a car.

 

Basically when you stick a car on an A frame you change its class from M1 to O1 or O2.

 

Need I go on

 

As for getting nicked I've had 3 people last year ask for advice as they had been told their A frame was approved only to get an NIP at one of these multi agency enforcement stops.

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Jeep Commander 3. 0 V6 CRD

Isuzu D- Max Utah Auto

Elddis Crusader Storm 2000 Kgs, Unipart Royal Atlas Mover .

 

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45 minutes ago, Towtug said:

As for getting nicked I've had 3 people last year ask for advice as they had been told their A frame was approved only to get an NIP at one of these multi agency enforcement stops.

Have any of these actually been prosecuted?  Please post a link if possible.

Skoda Yeti 2.0 Outdoor DSG.  Freedom Jetstream Sports Twin Flare.  Reich mover.

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1 minute ago, kelper said:

Have any of these actually been prosecuted?  Please post a link if possible.

How would I know. They ask me for advice to try and get off the intended prosecutions, as you can see from my earlier response I advise them that I believe they are on a sticky wicket. None has ever come back to me. I assume they just sign the paperwork and pay the fine. If I remember right at least one of them found me either via this forum or one of the others. Maybe they can shed some light on what happened if they watch these threads.

 

In my view if it was ever to be tested  in court it would fail any test against either C and U regs or Type approval.

 

For example for type approval you cannot have inertia brake operation on trailers with a steerable front axle, they have to be continuous brakes. (C and U you can for now), using an A frame effectively creates this type of trailer.

There are so many things that just dont comply easily with the various regs.

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As someone who was involved in enforcing the Road Traffic law and am happy to confirm every single thing that Towtug has stated. 

The Con &Use Regs are very specific and totally unambiguous

 

One of  the major issues now is Type Approval. That means that the ENTIRE vehicle must pass stringent tests before it can go into production and be sold. Even third party towbars must now be type approved, gone are the days when you could knock your own up out of angle iron!!

 

 If you wish to use a car on an A frame you have to attach various components to it. Those components have NOT been Type Approved and, even more importantly, neither have the parts of the vehicle these components are fixed to because the number of cars that MAY be so equipped are so small the manufacturers have no incentive to include that possibility within their type approval.

 

Then there is the issue of brakes etc.

Some years ago I wrote to various A frame manufacturers (who claimed their products were legal) asking them that as their products, according to them, were 100% legal would they give me an undertaking to pay any fine IF I were to be prosecuted for using one. Not a single one replied in any way! That really told me all I needed to know.

 

It was because of the numerous illegalities of A frames that I was well aware of that I decided to go down the car on a trailer route as I KNEW that was 100% legal everywhere. (If of course none of the various weights were exceeded) 

 

Andy

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Experience is an awful teacher who ends up sending you simply horrifying bills

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18 minutes ago, Mr Plodd said:

As someone who was involved in enforcing the Road Traffic law and am happy to confirm every single thing that Towtug has stated. 

The Con &Use Regs are very specific and totally unambiguous

 

One of  the major issues now is Type Approval. That means that the ENTIRE vehicle must pass stringent tests before it can go into production and be sold. Even third party towbars must now be type approved, gone are the days when you could knock your own up out of angle iron!!

 

 If you wish to use a car on an A frame you have to attach various components to it. Those components have NOT been Type Approved and, even more importantly, neither have the parts of the vehicle these components are fixed to because the number of cars that MAY be so equipped are so small the manufacturers have no incentive to include that possibility within their type approval.

 

Then there is the issue of brakes etc.

Some years ago I wrote to various A frame manufacturers (who claimed their products were legal) asking them that as their products, according to them, were 100% legal would they give me an undertaking to pay any fine IF I were to be prosecuted for using one. Not a single one replied in any way! That really told me all I needed to know.

 

It was because of the numerous illegalities of A frames that I was well aware of that I decided to go down the car on a trailer route as I KNEW that was 100% legal everywhere. (If of course none of the various weights were exceeded) 

 

Andy

 

 

Exactly I am told that if I fit a towbar that is not type approved I can have insurance issues and get fined thousands of pounds as the vehicle has type approval with dedicated mounting points .

 

 

Dave

Jeep Commander 3. 0 V6 CRD

Isuzu D- Max Utah Auto

Elddis Crusader Storm 2000 Kgs, Unipart Royal Atlas Mover .

 

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Just spoke to one of the people I mentioned earlier ( they watch but dont contribute) , they accepted the fine Offence code she thinks was CU10 and she got Three points.

She thinks the code related to having defective brakes on the trailer.

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Lady on rally at Easter had a German made drawbar system fitted to her German M/Home to pull a Smart Car in Spain " as I can't use an A Frame anymore"  there....

 

geoff

Kia Sorento KX-1 CRDI 4WD towing an Elddis Affinity 530

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13 hours ago, shipbroker said:

Lady on rally at Easter had a German made drawbar system fitted to her German M/Home to pull a Smart Car in Spain " as I can't use an A Frame anymore"  there....

 

geoff

 

That it’s German made doesn’t mean that it’s correct to assume that it would be legal in Germany.

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On ‎17‎/‎06‎/‎2019 at 19:31, myone said:

I believe it is illegal to use A-frame in Europe can anybody throw any light on this

Use of an A_Frame is tolerated in the UK but to my knowledge the legality has never been tested in court despite assurances from the A-frame manufacturers.

Generally throughout mainland Europe I too believe A-frames are not approved for towing cars and this is enforced by the authorities.

 

On ‎17‎/‎06‎/‎2019 at 22:33, Mr Plodd said:

The ONLY 100%  safe option is to use a trailer, but be VERY sure of the possible weight restrictions before going down that route.

Well said Mr Plodd.

Fourwinds Hurricane 31D Motorhome. Also MGTF135 1. 8i Roadster (fun) & Volvo V70 3.2Ltr LPG (everyday car)
Unless otherwise stated, my posts will be my personal thoughts and have the same standing as any other member of Caravan Talk.

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3 hours ago, Lutz said:

 

That it’s German made doesn’t mean that it’s correct to assume that it would be legal in Germany.

Wouldn't disagree at all.

Geoff

Kia Sorento KX-1 CRDI 4WD towing an Elddis Affinity 530

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Hi

 

Spain is a no no. Most other destiations are probably "OK" because no one really knows the answer!

 

Safest option (and as someone who has towed a car all over Europe in the past) is to book a mega cheap hire car. Saves tolls, increased shipping cost and better mpg on the motorhome.

 

We don't tow anymore and we are more than happy to take the motorhome into cities, use buses etc. The latter is mostly very good fun, especially on rural routes where two British travellers with their dog is always a conversation starter

 

Russ

Online blog and travels, although sometimes there is a lack of travel due to work!

 

It's an uncharted sea, it's an unopened door but you've got to reach out and you've got to explore.

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You been hiding Rusty....or travelling??

Geoff

Kia Sorento KX-1 CRDI 4WD towing an Elddis Affinity 530

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On ‎19‎/‎06‎/‎2019 at 08:45, Gordon said:

Generally throughout mainland Europe I too believe A-frames are not approved for towing cars and this is enforced by the authorities.

 

They are not illegal in principle, but there aren’t any that meet the respective requirements, in particular type approval.

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