Caravan Towing Questions and Answers…
Do I need a special license to tow a caravan?
Actually, no you don’t. As long as you have the confidence to take on the task of towing a caravan, your normal driver’s license will suffice. Incredibly, you don’t even need to have any experience. What you DO need is a good deal of common sense, and of course, we strongly advise against venturing out without a sound knowledge of how to prevent problems from arising, and to get yourself out of trouble. Parking and reversing are the most obvious considerations in quite a log list of things to know.
When I’m towing a caravan, should I leave a more conservative space between my vehicle and the vehicle in front of me?
Absolutely! You see, you are carrying more weight, and it’s just plain harder to stop a heavier load than a lighter one. On highways and other major roads, it’s advisable to leave a distance of 60 metres between you and other vehicles.
Will my vehicle be ok to tow my caravan?
In short, probably ‘yes’. Maybe ‘no’. You definitely want your vehicle to weigh more than your caravan. You want a towing vehicle that can surge up the ranges with ease and one that hugs the road on the way back down. So a small four-cylinder runabout won’t be your choice to tow that 17′ dual-axle caravan with its toilet and shower!
If you have a more suitable vehicle though, weight distribution bars can help you tow your caravan more safely – but our advice is not to rely upon them as your key solution. Yes, they will help, however so will correctly packing your caravan. A lot of common sense comes in handy too.
I’m keen to head off on a grand touring holiday with my caravan in tow. Should I drive a vehicle with a manual or an automatic transmission?
Many manufacturers specify to use an automatic, particularly with larger caravans. However it is largely a case of personal preference. You’ll find you’ll have more control with your manual vehicle. On the other hand, in an automatic, you don’t have to worry about changing gears and can simply concentrate on the road ahead.
I want to load up my caravan but am unsure of the best way to distribute the extra weight. Any advice?
Sure! Just place most of the weight concentration near the centre of, and slightly to the front of your axle.
Do I need special mirrors to tow my caravan safely?
Yes, and don’t skimp on them either. You should try to buy good quality mirrors – it’ll mean spending a little more but they’ll last longer and provide you optimum visibility.
What about rear-view monitors?
These are fantastic. They can be in the top corner of the passenger side of your windscreen and provide a colour or black and white image of what’s behind you at all times. In general, they range from $300 up to $1000 and represent great value. They are a good safety device as well.
Are all towbars and towballs created equal?
No. You need to choose a towbar the can handle towing even more than your caravan when it is fully loaded. You should be able to adjust your tow ball to be positioned level with the caravan for easier access.
Do I need to carry a fire extinguisher on board my caravan?
Yes, at all times. New caravans must be sold with a fire extinguisher. If you are buying a used caravan, ensure you also purchase a fire extinguisher, become familiar with its location and how to use it. You never know when you’ll need it.
Should I choose a dual-axle caravan over a single-axle caravan?
In general a dual-axle caravan will offer more stability and durability, as there are two axles and four tyres sharing the load.
Can I travel at the speed limit on open roads whilst towing my caravan?
Technically yes. There is no reason not to. Armed with the right knowledge and correct accessories there should be no hassles whatsoever in travelling at the speed limit, without swaying all over the road or driving unsafely in anyway. However, some caravan manufacturers do have conditions on their warranty in regards to towing speeds and it will pay you to consult it first.