| Topic: skoda octavia advice please
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Message posted by SamandRose on 18/9/2017 at 1:52pm
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2002 Avondale Dart + 2015 VW Passat
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I have little doubt that the engine could cope with the caravan you describe - we have the same engine in a VW Passat and it tows very well - but have my reservations about whether the car can. That's because performance is arguably less of an issue than weight.
If it is correct that your car's "max tow" is 1400kg, that's the manufacturer's legal towing limit and it's illegal to tow more than that. Towing a caravan with a MTPLM of 1430kg would be legal provided that you didn't load it to heavier than 1400kg but you'd be sailing close to the wind. A couple of extra bags of shopping could take you over.
The '85% ratio' is at best a crude factor of safety and at worst irrelevant. You're obviously used to driving and towing with that car so you can probably ignore it in terms of safety, but personally I would not be willing to tow a caravan that weighed more than the kerb weight of my car (and I know I'm not alone in this). Caravans are high-sided, awkwardly shaped and vulnerable in windy conditions or sudden changes of direction (such as swerving to avoid an accident), and you can do nothing about the laws of physics dictating that if the caravan is heavier than the car, it will end up taking control and not you.
Towing match web sites are not reliable and many reference data for non-UK cars. You need to look on your own VIN plate or log book to find the kerb weight. However, the reference above to 1420kg sounds about right, because from memory I think that the bigger and heavier Passat estate is 1540kg. On this basis I think the weights are going to be a little bit borderline.
I know you say you'll never get close to the MTPLM but the payloads of some modern caravans are very low and don't forget you'll need to allow for the weight of the motor mover as well as battery, gas bottles, clothes, food and drink etc. You may be going closer to it than you realise.
Sorry if the above sounds worrying but hopefully you can see where I'm coming from (even if some other readers are bound to disagree)!