Towbar & Towing Safety

Towbar safety is a concern for anyone engaging in towing activities. By selecting the appropriate towbar, ensuring proper installation, conducting regular inspections, and practicing safe towing habits, you can significantly reduce the risks associated with towing. Remember, safety should always be your top priority when traveling on the road with a trailer in tow. Stay informed, follow guidelines, and enjoy a secure and stress-free towing experience.

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Learn to Tow a Trailer/Caravan

Irish School of Motoring (ISM) run a course/lesson’s on towing a trailer/caravan. We highly recommend this service for anyone who is new to towing -


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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 correct towing capacity figure for a 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 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:

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

 - 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, electric 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.


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What trailers can I tow on category B and BE driving licences?:

For more information regarding safety visit the RSA website:

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