Trailer load: most important information and table overview | ADAC

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Trailer load: most important information and table overview | ADAC
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If you want to tow a heavy trailer, you need a car with a high towing capacity. Read here what you need to consider and which models are particularly suitable.

Before you hook up a trailer, the first thing to look at is the vehicle papers. The maximum trailer load of the vehicle is shown in the registration certificate Part I and Part II (vehicle registration) as well as in the CoC papers.

If, on the other hand, you are planning to buy a new car, you should carefully check the technical data in the brochures. Because depending on the engine, transmission and drive type (all-wheel drive) and equipment, the permissible trailer load can vary considerably even for one and the same model. Example: A current Dacia Duster dCi 115 (diesel) may tow 1500 kilograms, the comparable petrol TCe 100 only 1300.

Braked or unbraked?

A distinction is made between "braked" and "unbraked". Unbraked trailers as "light trailers" often pull motorcycles or small boats. The "DIY trailer" used to dispose of garden waste or bring the lawnmower in for repairs are also often included. Large boat or car trailers as well as caravans or yacht trailers are usually equipped with their own brakes (overrun brakes) and can therefore be heavier. In Germany, only car trailers with a permissible total weight of more than 750 kilos must have an overrun brake.

The total towing weight is decisive

Important: It is not only the registered trailer load of the towing vehicle that is decisive. More and more vehicles have an additional entry in the vehicle documents that limits the total combined weightof the combination - this is often below the value that results purely from calculations if you use the permissible Total weight of the towing vehicle and its maximum towing capacity added. So if you use the trailer load completely, you can no longer fully load the towing vehicle.

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Reason: The combination must be able to pull off five times in five minutes on a hill with a 12 percent incline without a component on the vehicle failing. In addition, the chassis and the brakes of the towing vehicle must be designed for safe driving of the vehicle combination.

Not every car is suitable as a towing vehicle

It should be clear to everyone that a small Fiat Panda or an economical Opel Corsa with a heavy horse trailer or a large caravan is overwhelmed. But even a large SUV or a high-horsepower car is not automatically suitable as a towing vehicle. There are considerable differences: A Lexus UX as a compact SUV, for example, can tow a maximum of 750 kilograms, while the 400 hp electric SUV Jaguar i-Pace has no trailer load at all. A BMW X5 Diesel or a Mercedes G-Class, on the other hand, has a towing capacity of 3500 kilos.

You can see the towing capacity of the model you want from the list below. Relevant model series are listed in Germany and the motorisation with the lowest maximum trailer load (braked) and the one with the highest b>. If available, a model with an alternative drive supplements the evaluation.

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You can find all technical data for each current model series and also for vehicles already listed in the ADAC car catalogue.

What you need to know about the nose weight

The nose weight describes the maximum weight that can act on the trailer hitch from above. For them, neither the specified permissible vertical load for the trailer hitch and the towing device of the towing vehicle nor that specified by the manufacturer may be exceeded. There is also the vertical load value of the drawbar and overrun device, which the trailer manufacturer stipulates. The lower value must be observed. However, it should be used to the full, as a high vertical load is beneficial for trailer stability.

According to § 42 StVZO, the vertical load is added to the towing vehicle and deducted from the actual trailer weight. However, the permissible total weight of the trailer must not be exceeded.

The actual support load can be determined with a support load scale from the accessories trade, but also with a bathroom scale. This is how you do it: Place a board flat on the bathroom scale and place a suitably long second board vertical under the coupling mouth at right angles to the direction of travel . Slowly lower the drawbar with the jockey wheel until the coupling jaw rests on the vertical board and the jockey wheel is only a few millimeters in the air. The vertical board must be high enough that the coupling mouth is approximately at the same height as the trailer coupling of your vehicle when loaded.

If you measure the tongue load directly under the jockey wheel, the value read is too high and therefore not meaningful. Attention: Secure the trailer well against rolling to measure the vertical load, apply the brake or place wedges under it in both directions.

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Breakaway protection: when is it necessary?

Braked trailers must be connected to the car with a breakaway cable. It applies the trailer brakes when the trailer separates from the vehicle and must be attached to a separate eyelet or lug on the vehicle. If there is no eyelet or loop on the car, slipping it over the trailer hitch is permitted in Germany, but not recommended for safety reasons.

In the Netherlands, Austria and in Switzerland, unbraked trailers with (steel) cables must also be used or chain must be secured in such a way that the trailer cannot separate from the vehicle. Merely slipping the tear-off or safety cable over the trailer hitch is not permitted in these countries and is subject to high fines in some cases, so an eye or strap on a fixed part of the towing vehicle is absolutely necessary. Here you will find all the details about the regulations in neighboring countries.

Towing capacity for electric cars

While initially no trailer devices were offered for most electric vehicles, a positive trend can be observed here. There are more and more electric cars that are allowed to tow trailers. The VW ID.4 in the sporty GTX version, for example, is listed with a trailer load of 1200 kilograms, a Mercedes EQA 300 with 1800 and a Tesla Model X with up to 2268 kilograms. A Ford Mustang Mach-E, on the other hand, can only sling 750 kilos.

For some e-vehicles such as the Tesla Model S or the VW ID.3, at least the installation of a trailer hitch is permitted if it is used exclusively for bicycle transport.

You can find more information about electric cars in trailer operation here.

Plug-in hybrid and gas cars

Since natural gas and liquid gas cars (CNG and LPG) have a very small market share, there is correspondingly little choice in towing vehicles. Just ten models between 11,000 euros (Dacia Sandero LPG with 1100 kilos trailer load) and 47,000 euros (Audi A5 g-tron with 1500 kilos) are on offer.

Whoever is flirting with a plug-in hybrid has more options. Models with often very good traction characteristics are available in all relevant classes. Examples: A Volvo V90 Recharge can tow 2100 kilograms, an Audi Q7 just like a Land Rover Defender 3500 kilograms.

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