Four Common Caravanning Myths Busted

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If you have ever been on a caravanning holiday, you will no doubt have encountered any number of urban caravanning myths and tall tales about life on the road, as well as regulations (and ways around them). Here at Let’s Go Caravan and Camping, we put four of the most popular ones we’ve heard to the test.

1. Police and other Transport Authorities are targeting Caravanners using non-load rated D- Shackles

Rumours about specific requirements for D-Shackles being enforced by police have been circulating around the country for some time. There is currently no regulations requiring shackles used on trailer safety chains to comply with the Australian Standard.

Shackles however must be suitable to prevent complete trailer detachment should your trailer come off its tow ball. It is recommended that a shackle meeting the requirements of AS 2741-2002 be used to secure rated safety chains up to 3500kg capacity.

2. My Caravan has Off-road Suspension, let’s plan a trip to Cape York!

Just because your caravan has ‘Off-road Suspension’ and ‘Tyres’ doesn’t necessarily mean that your rig is designed for off-road use. If you are planning to use your Recreational Vehicle for some serious off road action then you are best to do your homework and purchase a product designed specifically for this purpose.

3. The weight of my Caravan doesn’t matter, I have a large 4WD and it seems to tow it fine.

Towing a Caravan which is overweight or loaded incorrectly is not only dangerous but also illegal. Furthermore, should you have an accident under such conditions then your insurance cover may be null and void.

Vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of less than 4.5 tonnes, can tow a loaded trailer with an Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) up to the lessor of:

  • The tow vehicle’s towbar rating (including the tow ball mass / download rating.
  • The tow vehicle manufacturer’s recommended maximum trailer towing mass (including the tow ball mass / download rating).

If the tow vehicle manufacturer does not specify towing mass data, the vehicle may legally tow a loaded trailer with brakes up to 1.5 times the unladen mass of the vehicle. Also, where the vehicle manufacturer specifies a maximum tow ball mass, this must be adhered to. When no maximum ball mass is specified, the vehicle’s maximum rear axle load rating will be the limiting ball load factor.

Loading or packing your caravan correctly is another crucial factor in ensuring a safe towing setup. As a general rule, heavy items should be loaded down as low as possible and towards the middle, or axle line, of the caravan. Only lighter items should be stored in the overhead compartments.

It is illegal to directly connect your Recreational Vehicles’ 15 Amp electrical system to a 10 Amp domestic socket. Further to this, connecting the power in this way will also invalidate your insurance.

Recreational Vehicles are designed to be connected to dedicated 15A power outlets like those provided in caravan parks. The appliances inside the Recreational Vehicle may still operate below 10A, but the current draw increases as more appliances (air conditioner, fridge, hairdryer, lights, etc.) are switched on.

This content is for your information and to raise awareness of potential issues that need to be considered when towing. If you have further questions or doubts, you should seek the assistance of a professional service provider.

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