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Subject Topic: Audi A4 avant B8 2Lt Diesel for towing? Post Reply Post New Topic
Message posted by Charlie33316/5/2022 at 3:59pm
Outfit:  None Entered     Location:  Hull
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Hello, I am considering buying my first caravan and am a bit confused at the wieght my car can tow.
The Log book states verious figures as follows
Max permissable mass (exc.M/C ) 2145
Mass in service 1650
Technical permissable maximum towable mass of the trailer braked 1700kg.
Am I right in thinking it is the latter and the MTPLM of the caravan must not exceed 1700kg ?

The caravans I am considering are Swift Major 4Sb MTPLM 1442kg
or the                      Swift Challenger 580 MTPLM 1550kg.

Hope someone can Help.
Best Regards, Charles

Message posted by Monty1516/5/2022 at 6:10pm
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Welcome.

You're basically right, but couple of other figures to be considered, there will be a 'Gross Train Weight' figure which is the maximum weight of car and trailer combined. Often the the car/trailer weights are traded against each other, whereby you can't fully load the car AND tow the max trailer weight! To tow the max weight trailer you may have to have the car loaded lighter. That hinges around the GTW.

The Vin plate figures are explained here: https://www.ntta.co.uk/law/law/towing-capacity

As you are asking these questions, I'm assuming you are a novice at towing. The caravan industry has a recommendation that novices don't tow trailers weighing more than 85% (Known as the 85% 'rule' - it's NOT an enforceable rule or law, just a safety recommendation) of the cars Kerb Weight (Mass in Service), so 85% of 1650Kg is 1402.5Kg. It's not cast in stone, so the Swift Major's weight wouldn't be a problem, but the Swift Challenger is 94% match, so pushing things a little too far perhaps. The recommendation is so that the risk of 'tail wagging the dog', as in caravan having excessive influence over the towing car is minimised with a novice driver who may not have developed the skills to retain control, basically out of control snaking that often puts car and caravan on their roofs or in a ditch or Armco barrier!

Technically it's legal and safe to tow up to the car's declared towing limit, but there is a set of skills to be acquired in towing, and only time and experience (and maybe a little extra tuition) bring those. Just about everybody who tows will experience a touch of the dreaded snaking, often caused by HGV bow waves or sudden cross winds, but experience will recognise it coming on early and hopefully allow it to be brought under control, whereas a novice may let it get to a point where there is no recovery! The lighter the trailer the easier it is to control.

Message posted by SamandRose16/5/2022 at 6:23pm
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Hi Charles

The 'maximum permissible towing mass of a braked trailer' means just that. It's based, largely, on the weight of a trailer that the car can move on repeated standing hill starts. If you planned to tow a commercial or agricultural trailer weighing 1700kg for just a few miles, I'd say fine, go ahead.

However, a caravan is a different beast. It's less stable by design than most other types of trailer, being long and high-sided, and will often be towed for longer distances and at higher speeds. It's for this reason that the caravanning industry recommends that a caravan should not weigh more than the car's mass in service (1650kg in your case). For those new to towing, the widely-held recommendation is that the towed weight of a caravan should be limited to about 85% of your car's mass in service for the reason Monty has stated.

The Sprite Major at 87% of your car's mass in service when fully loaded should be absolutely fine. The Swift Challenger, at 94% is legally towable by your Audi, but it's on the upper limit of what I would want to tow and that's with the benefit of around 6 years towing experience.

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Message posted by Charlie33316/5/2022 at 8:06pm
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Many thanks to you both for your advice. Looks like the Swift major 4 SB at 1442kg is the best option.
I have had a look at the VIN plate and it says'

2145 gross veh weight
3915 gross train weight
1100   axle loads
1145   axle loads.

So does that mean my combined train weight is 2145 + 1442 = 3587kg which is less than 3915kg being ok.?

Many thanks Charles

Message posted by SamandRose17/5/2022 at 1:17pm
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Hi Charles - yes, that's correct and it demonstrates that towing the Swift Major with your car is legal.

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