What to Look for in a Trailer Towing Car


Whether you’re going to be towing a trailer or a caravan, you need a car that can withstand some serious hard work. It needs to big and tough, and able to take on extra weight. If you’re towing, you don’t want to be skimming the legal weight limits: you want something that can almost tow more than you need. Plus, it’s good if you can find something easy to drive – you don’t want to worry about stalling or having stiff steering when you tow. So, many people opt for automatic cars over manual for towing, but this will of course come down to personal preference.

Previous owner reviews

One of the best ways to decide on a car is to look at what other owners have said. You might notice a trend in any complaints, such as certain mechanical parts failing. Plus, it’ll give you an idea of the worst you can expect, like many people commenting about sticky steering or a lack of home comforts inside. For example, the highly-reviewed Toyota Hilux is unlikely to have these issues – but you’d know as you will have read any recommendations. Then, when you’ve seen the worst that people are saying, you can decide whether they’re issues and faults you can live with.

Upkeep and maintenance costs

Any towing car will have high upkeep costs – it’s just part and parcel of owning a diesel vehicle. However, some are far more reliable than others. You need to work out what your worst-case scenario would be for your car budget. How much can you afford every month on repairs and breakdown? Do you have a second car you can use in the meantime? If you’ve got the money and the know-how to deal with minor issues, then you don’t need to worry so much.

Maximum legal weights

Every car has a maximum amount it can tow. You need to look at this carefully before buying, as they can vary widely between years and models. Just because a car is the same type, doesn’t mean it’ll have the same towing capacity. If you’re in any doubt, speak to a dealer or manufacturer to get the information straight away. It’s easy to think that just because a car is big and is a certain brand, that it will tow a high amount. This isn’t always the case. You also need to look at what you’ll be towing and the laden and unladen weights. If you have any doubts, always go for a car with more towing power than you need.

Reliability and robustness

If you’re going to be towing a trailer or caravan, there’s a high chance that you’re going to be going into fields and across terrain that isn’t just a normal road. So, you need a vehicle that can cope with undulating terrain, and will still have the power to drive smoothly across anything, even when towing. Test driving is important to get a feel for this, especially if you can take off-roading. Likewise, you need something reliable: if you’ve planned an event or a holiday, you don’t want to be worrying about whether your car will start.


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About Sean Mackay

Sean writes about cars, golf and events going on in British Columbia, Canada. He is also the editor for The Automotive Review - an automotive publication bringing a West Coast flavour to its editorials.
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