So You Want To Buy A Caravan

So you want to buy a Caravan?
Some people rush in and get carried away by the sheer brilliance and splendour of a potential new caravan without heeding the fact that they must do some homework first. The legal ratio is one to one and a half. (e.g. Allows a one tonne car to tow a one & half tonne caravan).

If you already own a vehicle that you believe will be capable of towing a caravan, then before you go looking for that caravan, you must first study the manufacturer’s handbook of your towing vehicle. Under the heading of “towing” or “trailers” the handbook will show the manufacturer’s recommendation as to the aggregate weight (fully loaded weight) which your vehicle can comfortably tow.

This may also be expressed as “tow ball weight” which is the weight the caravan exerts on the towing vehicle when attached fully loaded for your trip. This is usually 10 to 15% of the caravan’s aggregate weight which pushes the back of your vehicle down, takes the weight off your front wheels (dangerous) and requires weight distribution equipment to level the connection and distribute the weight evenly on all four wheels of the tow vehicle. This extra weight distributed on each wheel requires you to increase tyre pressures by 7-10 psi when towing.

If the reverse applies and you decide to change your towing vehicle. There is a compliance plate on the caravan showing tare and aggregate weights of the van.

Your homework of course will also consider whether you want a single axle van –usually up to about sixteen feet of body length, or a dual axle van for over that length. Maybe a pop-top or full height van is another consideration as height may be a problem to fit under a patio or in a garage.

The range of extras and add-ons available in vans is between you and the dealer.