Unit 1-4, Block L, Grants Road,
Greenogue Business Park
Rathcoole, Dublin D24PP28
Tel: 01 497 5713
Towbars & Towing Electrics - Specialist Fitting Service
Cars, Vans & Light Commercial Vehicles

Maximum Towing Weights

Calculating vehicle towing capacity.

Often we are asked what the towing capacity of a specific vehicle is or how much weight a towbar can carry, however it is the vehicle which determines the towing capacity and a fully type approved towbar will cater for that capacity.

The vehicles towing capacity is defined by the vehicle manufacturer and is specific to each individual vehicle. In essence two vehicles of the same make, model and year will not necessarily have the same towing capabilities.

The towing capacity for your vehicle that is outlined in the owner’s handbook or on the manufacturer’s website should only be taken as a guide.

The only towing capacity figure for any vehicle is that which is stamped on the Vehicle Identification Number plate i.e. the VIN Plate.

The location of the VIN plate is usually under the bonnet or on the door pillar, but the exact location will be in the vehicle handbook.

The maximum towing capacity specified by the towbar manufacturer is the maximum the towbar has been tested to, to coincide with vehicle manufactures towing limitations.

It is the vehicle owner’s responsibility to ensure they are aware of their vehicle’s towing capacity and to tow within these limitations.

Once located the Vin Plate will appear similar to this.

The VIN plate will display either 3 or 4 sets of weight, it is these weights that the authorities use to determine whether your vehicle is over-laden.

This first image shows a VIN plate from a vehicle that is homologated (Approved) to tow:

It has 4 lines of numbers:

2505kg - Gross vehicle weight, the Maximum Allowable Mass (MAM) of the vehicle including occupants, fuel and payload.

4200kg - Gross train weight, the combined maximum allowable mass of the vehicle and trailer.

1250kg & 1300kg - Maximum axle loads front and rear respectively.

The manufacturer’s recommended maximum towing capacity for your vehicle is the gross vehicle weight subtracted from gross train weight. The vehicle identification plate detailed in the above picture has a towing capacity of 1695kg.

4200kg – 2505kg = 1695kg

Vehicles not homologated (Approved) to tow.

Certain performance, hybrid and city-car models or similar variants of standard models are not homologated to tow, this means that the vehicle manufacturer has deemed that the model is unsuitable for use as a tow vehicle. With this type of vehicle the towing capacity will equate to zero or a gross train weight will not be displayed.

The image below is from an Audi S3, which is not homologated (Approved) to tow, the Gross Train Weight is shown as 0000 kg. Some manufacturers simply leave this line blank. If you are unsure if your car is allowed to tow, you need to check this line on the VIN plate.

Road Safety Advice & Driver Licensing Rules for Drawing Light Trailers

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Whereas we try and put as much useful and accurate information on our site in relation to all our products it is virtually impossible to portray all the additional knowledge that has been collated over the 60 years we have been in business.

There are various options to choose from within all of our product ranges, which makes purchasing online less than straight forward. Therefore, when buying online how could you be assured the product selected is the best option for you.

We would prefer to have the opportunity to discuss your requirements with you, and have you purchase the right solution first time round.

If you have an idea as to what you want but aren’t 100% certain after browsing the web site, don’t hesitate to contact us by phone, email or drop in.

At Malcolm’s we have extensive experience in a niche business, and are here to assist you in your purchase of Towbars, Van Roof Racks and accessories, 4X4 Accessories and Cycle Carriers. 

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