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How much can my vehicle tow?


Safe towing depends on the vehicle, the trailer, the driver and legal compliance. We've covered these aspects in great detail in our Towing section and here are some specific questions we've been asked:

Q: What are the rules around Australia regarding towing on an A-frame? I have a 12m bus turned into a motorhome and weighing 12,000kg and I have a 2500kg 4WD and we are trying to find out the requirements - David F, Girrawheen, WA

A: We sorted him out with the legalities and directed him to the Towing section stories.


Q: I have an Isuzu D-Max tray back with canopy towing a 16ft caravan and we are getting 9.6L/100 kms: can we do better? - Allen M, Northampton, WA

A: We told him he was doing fine.

Q: I remember enjoying reading your articles on the L300/Express 4WD vans years ago with Dad. Today I looked up your article and video on the Mercedes Sprinter 4WD van. I notice the Sprinter is only rated for two tonnes towing capacity: can these vans be ordered with a higher towing rating along with the diff locks mentioned in your article? - Steve K, Katherine, NT.

A: We told him 'no' to both questions, because M-B is too dopey to bring in all the available Sprinter 4WD kit!

Q: Hi Allan. My wife and are leaving to travel Australia for many years. Our caravan will be 19-21ft and we are looking at many different vehicles. I wanted to ask you about the Great Wall 4WD diesel. My other thoughts were older Landcruiser like 80 series gone over and done up. Like your website. - Rod M, Freeling, SA.

A: We steered him away from a Great Wall and into a used LandCruiser wagon.



Q: Hi Allan: looking at buying a new 4WD to tow my Jayco Expanda 16 foot van. What is a good vehicle to buy, with good fuel economy? I don't to a lot of off-road driving - mainly on the beach. Thanks for your help, regards - Karl O.

A: We gave him a short list of good towing and beach-capable wagons.


Q: I have just read the very helpful Hyland Hitch test on your website. Having just bought a caravan with a Hyland Hitch, I have been looking for advice on maintenance requirements for this hitch. Cheers and congratulations on a great website - Graham W, Vic.


Q: Could you please let me know the prices for trailer ball weight scales, please? - Joe D, Vic.

A: We sent him a list of models and prices.


Q: Just watched your test drive of the Isuzu MU-X. We have looked at this SUV and are very impressed by it. We would like to know if any tests have been done on towing caravans. The fact it has a three-tonne towing capacity has really got us interested - Shirley S.

A: As with all medium wagons and utes we reckon 3-3.5 tonnes is too much and around two tonnes is more realistic.


Q: I have a coil-spring Discovery 3 and am looking for advice on how best to set it up for towing and off-road (Victorian High Country and Flinders Ranges) driving. Is it convertible to air suspension on the rear so that I can resettle the car to level? Can anything be done other than tougher springs? Any help or advice is appreciated - Rod B.

A: Taller, stiffer springs with Polyair inserts at the rear are the most cost-effective alternatives.


Q: Hi Allan. I am looking at buying a 2010-2014 HiLux 4x4 dual cab diesel 3.0L ute. My current 2003 Nissan Navara manual five-speed is a 3.3 petrol V6. Will the new HiLux be able to tow my Coromal Silhouette PS421 better than my Nissan Navara in terms of fuel consumption and power/torque? I just don't want to buy a new ute and still be no better off - Justin T.

A: We reckoned the diesel would pull better and use less fuel. Also the gearing is better, making lift-offs easier.


Q: At last a real explanation of tow ball weight theory. I am used to European standards and just cannot understand why AUS/USA use 10-15-percent weight. It's too much, unless someone has a vested interest in load levellers, or am I just being cynical! - Gordon H.

Q: Towball weight and trailer stability. A great article for science against myth. My question is about the Bath Uni research. "optimum nose mass was found to be 6-8% of the trailer's gross mass" Is this 6-8% of ATM? - Pierre H.

A: Yes.



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