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tomclinton

Towing combination

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Hi there,

 

I have a driving license issued after 1997 and I was looking to buy a cheap caravan to go away for a few days with my partner. I only have 'B' on my license.

 

We have a 2005 Vauxhall Astra estate auto petrol 1.8 - I have checked the user manual and the kerbweight is just under 1370kg for this model.  The caravan we are looking at is a 1999 Colchester 450 - 2 berth with a maximum weight of 1200kg approx but unladen weight of 980kg. My license only permits me to remain under 3500kg so this looks like it's legal and a possible option. Is this a possible towing combination? Is it legal? safe?

 

Many thanks for your support.

 

 

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Unladen weight has no bearing at all on your licence entitlement. It’s the maximum permitted weight of both combined units that you need to know.

 

You need to ensure that the max weight of your car (the second highest number on its plate) and the Max plated weight of your caravan doesn’t exceed a total of 3500kg.  Not even by 1kg.  

 

Thats the LEGAL position n respect of your licence. 

 

Andy

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Welcome!

 

the weight that matters for your car is it’s gross vehicle weight, not the kerb weight; you will find this on the VIN plate (there are four weights, it’s the second one) to which you add the 1200kg. However I can already tell you it will be less than 3500kg as there is no way your GVW is 2300kg, it will probably be about 1900kg.

 

The Astra has a strong, punchy 1.8 engine and whilst towing with a NA petrol and an old school auto won’t see you winning any traffic light GP’s, it will cope fine with that van. I remember driving a manual version as a hire car in Germany circa 2006 and the performance was excellent, really impressive.

 

Enjoy!

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Thanking you very much for your kind replies and information.

 

In preparation I was going to buy some additional side mirrors from Halfords and I will purchase caravan insurance also. I also need to check my driveway covenants to see if I can park it there.

 

Is there any other preparation I will need to do? If I buy the caravan and it is advertised as “ready to go” - do I essentially just hitch it up and drive off?

 

thank you

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You are bound to have something in your deeds that says no caravans but this is generally only enforced by the developer whilst selling homes - unless you live on a new estate where they are selling homes don’t worry

 

My deeds have it in, the house was built in 1974 - there are plenty of caravans around (for those where they fit) one has two!

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9 hours ago, tomclinton said:

Thanking you very much for your kind replies and information.

 

In preparation I was going to buy some additional side mirrors from Halfords and I will purchase caravan insurance also. I also need to check my driveway covenants to see if I can park it there.

 

Is there any other preparation I will need to do? If I buy the caravan and it is advertised as “ready to go” - do I essentially just hitch it up and drive off?

 

thank you

 

I'd have the caravan brakes checked over and take a good look at the tyres. You need to be happy that they aren't cracked, have the right load rating and are ideally under 5 years old.

 

Internally I'd have the gas and electricity checked.

 

Most of the above should be covered by a service though you might do much of it yourself (especially if yo buy the Haynes manual to help). The mobile guys charge £100 - £200.

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9 hours ago, FrankBullet said:

You are bound to have something in your deeds that says no caravans 

Not necessarily. 

 

Around our way a local mobile service guy charges £150 for a service. If the caravan is local it might be worthwhile getting an engineer to check it over for gas safety, damp and tyres before purchase with a view to having it serviced if all OK. On the understanding that he will get the service which would include such checks you should be able to strike a deal. 

 

Depending on the terms of any insurance that you take out you will likely need at least a hitch lock or wheel clamp or both.

 

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Thank you for your replies.

 

I must be absolutely honest - I have never towed a caravan before - I am a bit nervous. Any advice? Ideas?

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5 hours ago, Easy T said:

Not necessarily. 

 

Good job I didn’t say ‘definitely’ then, isn’t it 😉

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1 hour ago, tomclinton said:

Thank you for your replies.

 

I must be absolutely honest - I have never towed a caravan before - I am a bit nervous. Any advice? Ideas?

 

It's not too scary! But a few tips that i I've found work for me (it basically boils down to taking your time and not getting pushed into tricky situations).

 

Set you mirrors up correctly and remember they are wider than the caravan when judging gaps.

 

Have a practise reverse in a big car park if you can

 

Reversing to the right in a RHD car is actually fairly easy, so if you need to turn around by reversing into a side road or reverse onto a pitch try and engineer it that way round 

 

Assuming you have a passenger, do not be afraid of asking them to get out and check your rear end (!). Make sure they stand where your can see them and hear them. 

 

Be careful of how much the rear corner of the caravan will swing out when you make a tight turn - this is when I usually get my passenger to check. Such as at petrol stations or tight campsite entrances.

 

Research at least the final part of your journey on Google sheetview if you don't know it already - check for tight roads. Don't be afraid to ignore the satnav if you don't like the look of any roads.

 

Take your time though towns and look / think ahead so you don't get caught out blocking a box junction or impeding other traffic because the length of your outfit.

1 hour ago, FrankBullet said:

 

Good job I didn’t say ‘definitely’ then, isn’t it 😉

Ours doesn't either!

1969 house on an ester t

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