In part two of the guide we are going to look at how to load your caravan. As mentioned in part one you need to be aware of the Car to Caravan Weight Ratio.
It is strongly recommended that you do not exceed an 85% caravan to car weight ratio. i.e.: Your caravan when fully loaded should not be more than 85% of your cars kerb-weight (or max tow weight if this is lower).
If you are experienced at towing you may tow up to 100%, but this is not recommended. Loading Your Caravan Correctly.
I recently read an article that suggested using a luggage scales to weigh everything you intend to put in the caravan! Please as if you have the time or the inclination to do that!
A much better solution is to use a weigh bridge; you can find your nearest weigh bridge from your local trading standards office. The cost to use the weigh bridge will be approximately £2 – £10. It is advisable to weigh your car and caravan separately and make sure that you get a written record of the weights before you leave.
Alternatively you can use a portable weighing machine which will cost from £80 upwards depending on the retailer.
It is very easy to overload your caravan without realising it, which will be putting your safety and other road users at risk as well as leaving you open to prosecution if there is an accident. So it is very important for safe towing you load the caravan correctly and do not over load the unit.
Your car and caravan should be on a level surface when you start loading, never load if the caravans nose is upwards, if it is slightly downwards then there’s nothing to worry about. For extra stability you can fit a stabiliser bar purchasing this from your dealership, but many caravans already come with this as standard and help with uneven road surfaces and excessive wobbles when towing.
Knowing how to load your caravan is the key here you should place the heavy items around the axle and as low as possible, medium weight items should then go over and around the bottom items and then the light weight items can be stored and spread out higher up in the unit. This is the safest and best way to load your caravan.
By placing the heaviest items as low as possible and in the centre of the caravan this will create the greatest stability.If you store too much weight in the front it will add weight to your nose weight and too much at the back will cause ‘the tail to wag the dog’ which when towing causes the caravan to ‘snake’ and be unstable. You can buy a noseweight gauge to check your unit’s true noseweight before each trip.
Note; Noseweight – The downward load the caravan puts on the tow ball of the towing vehicle. The maximum must be no greater than either that stated in your Caravan or Car handbook, whichever is the LOWER. (Usually between 50-100kg, typically 75kg). Generally speaking, the higher the noseweight, without exceeding the car and caravan’s limit, the more stable your caravan will be.