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Can I tow a trailer on any licence?

Now, this isn't as easy as yes or no, it depends on when you got your license and how much weight you want to tow...

Firstly, holders of a provisional license are prohibited from towing any trailer or caravan - but you probably already knew that!

If you have a full UK car license and passed your licence:

  • Before 1 January 1997, you’re allowed to tow a trailer with a combination (car + trailer) weight of 8.25 tonnes maximum authorised mass (MAM), but it's always best to double check here what your licence allows.
  • After 1 January 1997, with a category B licence, you can drive a 3.5 tonne vehicle towing a trailer of up to 750kg MAM or tow a trailer over 750kg MAM as long as the combination weight is below 3.5 tonnes (and the vehicle has less than 8 seats).
  • From 19 January 2013, drivers passing a category B test, can tow small trailers weighing less than 750kg or a trailer over 750kg as long as the combined weight is less than 3.5 tonne MAM.

If you want to tow a trailer weighing more than 750kg, when the combined weight of the towing vehicle and trailer is more than 3,500kg, you’ll have to get B+E entitlement on your licence.

Working out towing capacity

Check your owner's manual for the maximum weight your car can tow.  It can also be calculated from the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) plate, where line one is the maximum allowable mass of the vehicle (including passengers) and line two is the maximum train mass (the combined maximum allowable mass of the vehicle and trailer). Simply deduct line one from lime two and you have the vehicle towing limit.