Towing a caravan: 10 top tips

Published in Caravan Guard News, Caravanning Top Tips, Videos on   - 14 Comments

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  1. Trevor Smith says:

    Breakaway cable, there was if I recall, some advise about attachment depending on the type of clip on the cable as its possible for some clips to straighten out under load these are the ones with a spring catch. The cable should go round the towbar and not in the hole provided. The other type of clip is a caribena style and is machined so the parts engage and interlock under load. These can be attached to the towbar eye, or hole.
    Also on the subject of nose weight, some caravan manufacturers need a boot up the you know what’s. My last caravan had about everything heavy mounted forward of the wheels, so the nose weight was 100kg without any of my stuff loaded. My car was 80kg. So I used to dump a heavy awning in the back of the caravan to counterbalance. In your yellow zone. My local dealer claims this is a common problem.
    Also towbar type bike racks are added to the nose weight if stopped by the police.

  2. Tobi Lister says:

    Top 10 Towing a caravan Tips! Thanks for sharing this, I will share this to our company’s management for future use. Were trying a different market.

  3. Graham Jessop says:

    When I have hitched up, I remove the jockey wheel completely.
    Three reasons.
    1) Many campsite have unduly high speed restriction ramps, meaning that in some instances damage can be inadvertently caused to the wheel if not taken very slowly.
    2) Removal whilst towing to your destination, decreases the risk of the van being stolen, whilst on a rest break at a Service station, etc..
    3) Boarding ferries to the continent. The angle between the shore ramp and the ships loading ramp is often a sharp angle between them. This means the angle between tow car and caravan is increased significantly. Resulting in an alarming noise and subsequent damage to the jockey wheel.
    Have experienced this on two occasions in the past.

    Yes I am aware that the size of the tow car and it’s wheel size can have a impact on the above, my experience with 1 & 3 occurring with medium sized saloon and estate cars.
    Item 2 is my personal feelings towards security.

  4. Colin says:

    many thanks for helpful advice

  5. Colin says:

    Thanks you helpful advise as I’m a beginner. What is general preferred tow ball type (flange ball or swan neck). Also, with modern cars having parking sensors, are detachable tow bars as good as fixed type?

    • Liz @ Caravan Guard says:

      Hi Colin, you would be best speaking to a tow bar manufacturer like Witter – They have a knowledge hub where you can ask questions or simply give them a call. Any tow bar that meets the relevant Type Approval would be acceptable. Happy caravanning.

  6. Gary Kent says:


    In relation to the breakaway cable, this should be looped around something to apply the caravan brakes.
    If the worst should happen and your caravan becomes un-hitched from the tow vehicle the carabiner is not strong enough to hold the van to apply the brakes, the weight of the caravan will simply straighten the carabiner and the brakes will not be applied.

  7. Peter Fancourt says:

    Item 5; Tim says “winding the jockey wheel up” I think he means ‘down’ to force the drawbar up.
    Item 5 also shows the breakaway cable looped round the ball hitch. Wrong. If the ball hitch breaks the breakaway will pull off and not work. Always attach the breakaway cable to the purpose made hole in the tow bar itself. All approved tow bars have this hole and the Construction and Use Regulations make it a legal requirement to attach this way.

    • Liz @ Caravan Guard says:

      Hi Peter, when talking about winding the jockey wheel, Tim is referring to winding the jockey wheel, causing it to raise the chassis of the caravan upwards. This is to test the connection between the tow car and trailer. This is an anti-clockwise motion. Winding the wheel clockwise (downwards) lifts the inner shaft of the assembly causing the chassis to move downwards.
      With regard to the comment on the breakaway cable: If there is no facility to fix the carabiner type fixing to a designated mounting point on the towbar assembly then the cable may – if possible and practicable – be fed through the towbar assembly to secure separate from the actual tow ball back onto the cable. If neither option is available then as a last resort the cable has to be looped around the actual towball – so this action is not wrong it is the only option left available.

  8. Bob says:

    Terrible sound quality with background noise if it’s interview sound needs to be clear camera mic not good enough.

    • Liz @ Caravan Guard says:

      Sorry about the sound on Tim’s interview Bob. You’re right we didn’t have an external mic. Hopefully the subtitles helped instead.

  9. Michael Sylvester says:

    What about training?

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