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Towing and vehicle towing capacity

Calculating the towing capacity of a vehicle.

This content is for general information only. It does not, and is not intended to, provide legal or technical advice or to represent a legal interpretation of the matters it addresses.

Frequently asked questions

You subtract Figure 1 (DGVW) from Figure 2 (DGCW) “(in this case, 2,930 kg  - 1820 kg = 1,110 kg)” to find the towing capacity as shown on vehicle manufacturer’s plate located inside passenger door or under bonnet as shown in the image below.

You can refer to your owner’s manual or contact the original manufacturer or authorised distributor. Note that each vehicle is different, and its overall gross towing capacity will depend on whether the trailer being towed is braked or unbraked. These are the maximum weights your vehicle can tow. If you exceed this, you are breaking the law.

Towing capacity or towable mass is the maximum weight a vehicle can tow in accordance with the manufacturer’s design specifications.

Refer to owner’s manual or contact original manufacturer or authorised distributor or it can be calculated from the vehicle’s plate as shown in image above.

Design Gross Vehicle Weight is the weight of a vehicle including the maximum load the vehicle itself can carry according to manufacturer’s specifications.

Design Gross Combination Weight is the maximum combined weight allowed for your vehicle and trailer according to the towing vehicle’s manufacturers specifications.

You will find this weight on the statutory plate fixed to your trailer or by contacting the trailer manufacturer or authorised distributor.

See our booklet on Road Safety Advice for Drawing Light Trailers.

This is the weight of the drawing vehicle or trailer when not carrying a load.

Contact the original manufacturer or take it to a weighbridge at your local authority.

For light trailers - that is, no more than 3,500kg - you will need either a B or BE licence

B LicenceBE Licence

A trailer whose DGVW is not more than 750kg, or


If the trailer's DGVW is more than 750kg but the DGVW of the vehicle + the DGVW of the trailer does not exceed 3,500kg.

A trailer whose DGVW is not more than 3,500kg, or

If the trailer's DGVW is more than 750kg and less than 3,500kg but the DGVW of the vehicle + the DGVW of the trailer does not exceed 7,000kg.


Related pages

Light trailers

Vehicle standards for light trailers used for domestic and commercial purposes. Differences between light and heavy trailers. Trailer videos and FAQs.