Towing with a car

3. Trailers, caravans and towing equipment

The equipment you use with your trailer or caravan must:

  • meet certain safety standards
  • be used correctly

You can be fined up to £2,500, be banned from driving and get 3 penalty points for using a vehicle in a dangerous condition.

Carry out safety checks to make sure you’re using the trailer and equipment legally.

Towing bars

If you get a tow bar for your car, it needs to be ‘type approved’. This means it meets EU regulations and is designed for your car.

Type-approved tow bars have a label with:

  • an approval number
  • details of the vehicles it’s approved for

If your car was first used before 1 August 1998, your tow bar doesn’t need to be type-approved.

Towing mirrors

You must have an adequate view of the road behind you.

Fit suitable towing mirrors if your trailer or caravan is wider than the rear of your car.

You can be fined up to £1,000 and get 3 penalty points for towing without proper towing mirrors.

Trailer or caravan brakes

Your trailer must have a working brake system if it weighs over 750kg when it’s loaded.

Some smaller trailers also have brakes, but these are optional.

Any brakes must be in good working order.

You must use a breakaway cable or secondary coupling in case the trailer becomes detached from your car.

Number plates

You must display the same number plate on your trailer as on your towing car.

If you tow more than one trailer at a time, fix the number plate to the trailer at the back.

A-frames and dollies

An A-frame attaches to the front of a car so that you can tow it behind a larger vehicle. The car plus the A-frame counts as a trailer.

If you use a dolly to tow a broken-down vehicle, the dolly counts as a trailer.

Read more guidance about using A-frames and dollies.