Tow Vehicle Weight
Weight is one of the more significant factors which must be considered when choosing and setting up a tow vehicle for your caravan or trailer. All vehicles, when manufactured, have limits expressed for their load capacity, tare (empty except for 10lt of fuel) weight, gross vehicle mass (GVM), towing capacity, gross combined mass (GCM) and ball weight. These are strictly enforced by state and Federal laws, and any breach of these can result in the loss of insurance cover and/or warranty, as well as penalties imposed by police.
Let’s look at one of the most popular tow vehicles. A 2020 Toyota LandCruiser has a maximum towing capacity of 3500kg. That is the maximum weight which the manufacturer says the vehicle can tow, and is a figure which for any vehicle should be easily found in the vehicle’s handbook or from the manufacturer’s website.
The load your vehicle can carry — and we’ll come back to this — is the difference between the tare (empty) weight of the standard unmodified vehicle and the GVM. This will include all fuel, passengers, luggage, and any attached non-standard fittings, as well as the load imposed on the vehicle by the trailer (tow ball loading) when towing. The GCM is the maximum combined weight of the vehicle’s GVM and the aggregate mass of the trailer (the weight of the fully loaded trailer/caravan).