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New rules for towing a trailer or caravan with a car

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


The Changes


If you passed your car driving test from 1 January 1997, you’ll be allowed to tow trailers up to 3,500kg MAM when the law changes.


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.


Car and trailer driving tests stopping from 20 September 2021

Car and trailer driving tests are stopping before the law changes.


You can no longer book or take a car and trailer driving test from 20 September 2021. However, the law will not change until later in 2021.


What you can do until the law changes


Until the law changes later in autumn 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:

  • why learning to tow is important

  • safety checks you should do when you’re towing a trailer or caravan with a car

If you’d booked a car and trailer driving test


Tests before 20 September 2021

Your car and trailer driving test will go ahead as planned. You can cancel your appointment if you no longer want to take the test. If your driving instructor booked your test for you, talk to them about cancelling it.


If your test is:

  • up to and including Tuesday 14 September 2021, you’ll need to contact the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) after you’ve cancelled your test to get a refund

  • from Wednesday 15 September to Sunday 19 September 2021, you’ll automatically get a full refund when you cancel your test

DVSA customer services customerservices@dvsa.gov.uk


Tests from 20 September 2021


Your car and trailer driving test will not go ahead if it was due to take place on or after 20 September 2021.


If you booked the test yourself, DVSA will automatically cancel it for you. You’ll get a full refund within 5 working days.


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.