Thinking of buying a tow car? Whether this is your first experience buying a tow car or not, there are things you should consider before you make the purchase. You don’t want to make any expensive mistakes because it will just tarnish the whole experience for you.
Let’s get on with it then…
I guess we should start with the most obvious… Can the tow car actually pull your caravan? Yes, there ARE rules about what cars can tow what caravans. your best bet is to do a Towsafe check to find outfit is a good combination.
Do you have the correct class on your driving license? I won’t go in to too much detail in this post as I already wrote about towing weights and license requirements here. To summarise it, if you got your license before 1st January 1997 or have surpassed your 70th birthday you may not be able to drive more than a combination weight (car + caravan fully loaded weights) of 4,250kg. Evidently it is worth checking the weights on both the tow car you are looking at and the caravan you own.
What are the running costs of the tow car? In April 2010 the government changed the road tax structure and many of the larger 4 wheel drive vehicles can now cost as must as £490 per year (correct at the time of writing). Be sure to do your research before you bite the bullet. Another running cost is the MPG (miles per gallon) the vehicle will achieve. You can find out using Parker’s helpful facts and figures tool, select the make and model of your car and then click on the running costs button. Remember that it will do less MPG whilst towing.
Does it make a practical every day vehicle? You may not always be able to answer yes to this question due to the size of your caravan, larger caravans are going to require larger tow cars and for some people a big Land Rover is just not practical for every day use. Some people I know have a separate car JUST for towing their caravan – It’s madness! I can’t see the sense in taxing and insuring two vehicles one of which gets used one weekend per month (maximum!). Think about it, do you really need two cars?
Does it have a tow bar fitted already? Having a tow bar fitted to a vehicle can cost from £200 to over £1,000 depending on the vehicle and where you get it done. If you can find a vehicle with a tow bar already fitted you can save yourself this cost. If you do have to have a tow bar fitted make sure to shop around, main dealers will charge double what most independent companies will. Do make sure to check if it will affect any warranties by having a tow bar fitted.
Have you performed a car status check? Hundreds, maybe even thousands of vehicles change hands every week. I am willing to bet that a very significant number of those vehicles have been written off or been stolen and maybe even have outstanding finance on them! I’d also bet that the owners of these vehicles are completely oblivious to this. For the measly cost of £20 you can find out all of this information – and it could save you thousands in the future. If a vehicle has outstanding finance on it when you buy it and the personal responsible for the debt defaults on the payments, the finance company has full legal right to repossess the vehicle from you without compensation. You can car status check at the HPI website.
I hope you found this list useful – do let me know if you have some other considerations you think people should think about in the comments section below.
Better still, if you have a tow car share your opinion of it with community by leaving your comment below.
I look forward to hearing from you!