Guidance

New rules for towing a trailer with a car from 15 November 2021

There will be new rules about towing a trailer or caravan with a car from 15 November 2021. Find out how the changes affect you.

Applies to England, Scotland and Wales

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This page tells you about changes to the rules for towing trailers and caravans with a car.

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The rules on what you can tow are different depending on when you passed your car driving test.

The rules will change (subject to Parliamentary approval) on 15 November 2021. The new rules will still depend on when you originally passed your car driving test.

What you’re currently allowed to tow

Licences issued before 1 January 1997

You will not be affected by the changes if you passed your car driving test before 1 January 1997.

You’re usually allowed to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8,250kg maximum authorised mass (MAM). View your driving licence information to check.

You’re also allowed to drive a minibus with a trailer over 750kg MAM.

MAM is the limit on how much the vehicle can weigh when it’s loaded.

Licences issued from 1 January 1997 to 18 January 2013

If you passed your car driving test from 1 January 1997 to 18 January 2013, you can currently drive either of the following:

  • a car or van up to 3,500kg MAM towing a trailer of up to 750kg MAM (up to 4,250kg in total)
  • a trailer over 750kg MAM, as long as it is no more than the unladen weight of the towing vehicle (up to 3,500kg in total)

You’ve had to pass a car and trailer driving test if you want to tow anything heavier.

Licences issued from 19 January 2013

If you passed your car driving test from 19 January 2013, you can currently drive either of the following:

  • a car or van up to 3,500kg MAM towing a trailer of up to 750kg MAM (up to 4,250kg in total)
  • a trailer over 750kg MAM as long as the combined MAM of the trailer and towing vehicle is no more than 3,500kg

You’ve had to pass a car and trailer driving test if you want to tow anything heavier.

What will change from 15 November 2021

If you passed your car driving test from 1 January 1997, you’ll be allowed to tow trailers up to 3,500kg MAM from 15 November 2021.

DVLA will update your driving licence record to show that you’re allowed to tow trailers. You’ll get category BE added to your driving licence when you get a new photocard driving licence.

You do not need to contact DVLA for this to happen. It will be done automatically.

What you can do until the law changes

Until the law changes on 15 November 2021, you must continue to follow the current rules about what you’re allowed to tow based on when you passed your car driving test.

You can be fined up to £1,000, be banned from driving and get up to 6 penalty points on your driving licence if you tow anything heavier before the law changes.

You’re only allowed to tow anything heavier if you’re being supervised. When you’re being supervised, you must:

  • display L plates to the front of the car and the rear of the trailer
  • be accompanied by a person who’s at least 21 years old and has had category BE on their driving licence for at least 3 years.

Driving a car and trailer for the first time

It’s best to take training from a driving instructor if you want to start driving a car and trailer.

The ‘National standard for driving cars and light vans’ tells you about the skills, knowledge and understanding you need to tow a trailer or caravan.

You can also read about:

If you’d booked a car and trailer driving test

Car and trailer driving tests have now stopped. You can no longer book one.

If you had booked a test yourself, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has automatically cancelled and refunded it for you.

If your driving instructor booked your test for you, talk to them about what happens next.

You cannot get a refund or compensation for any training that you’ve taken to help you prepare to take the test.

If you had previously passed a car and trailer driving test

You cannot get a refund or compensation for any training that you took to help you prepare to take a car and trailer driving test.

You also cannot get a refund for any tests you took.

Published 10 September 2021
Last updated 19 October 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated to confirm that the rules will change on 15 November 2021, subject to Parliamentary approval.

  2. First published.