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Towing with your Land Rover

Your Land Rover is one of the best and safest tow vehicles available. However, other than the Defender, they are essentially passenger vehicles and were not specifically designed for towing. For that reason, some simple guidelines should be followed to avoid potential damage and inconvenience.

Trailer load safety

Never exceed the weight of the tow vehicle. The absolute maximums are listed below BUT safely factor should be applied, namely 85% of the stated total weight:

  On Road Off Road
Discovery 3 and 4 3500 Kg 1000 Kg
Range Rover Classic 3500 Kg 1000 Kg
Range Rover Sport 3500 Kg 100 Kg
Freelander 1500 Kg 500 Kg
Range Rover Evoque 1500 kg 500 Kg
Defender 3500 Kg 1000 Kg

Recommended towing equipment

The standard hitch supplied as original equipment on Land Rovers is generally satisfactory for most towing but if in doubt, the cost of a heavy duty unit is recommended. Beware however, of exceeding the Land Rover specifications, or it could affect your insurance.

(left) OEM towbar on Range Rover Evoque (right) Hayman Reece HD towbar

Trailer brakes

In simple terms, a trailer with a total load (including the trailer itself) of less than 750 Kg does NOT require brakes. For loads over 750 Kg and up to 2 tonnes, override drum brakes are required and if the trailer has dual axles, these brakes must be fitted to the front trailer axle on each side. Over 2 tonnes the trailer must have brakes operating on  all wheels

It is wise to refer to the source :

Electric brakes are a worthwhile investment because they do not “lock up” like drum brakes, but they require careful application to work correctly and require the driver not to expect immediate braking

Trailer lights

Do NOT guess – consult the ADR specifications – as noted above and be sure to have the correct light fitted and working. Also, there is no substitute for modern LED lights


Power, stability & trailer towing techniques

The stability of the total load depends not only on the ability of the tow vehicle, but also on the balance of the load and the vehicle speed. It is critical to keep the load from fishtailing at all times and on all surfaces. For example, if the terrain has steep grades or side camber, the safety factor will be greatly compromised. This where the high/low range transfer boxes become paramount! Drop into low range 2 nd gear and you can go virtually anywhere in safety if you know the right techniques. Here are a few simple tips:

Take-off - Avoid jerky actions that will potentially damage the vehicle. The tow ball, mounting frame is not designed for that and even the chassis (if there is one) can be damaged by excessive force

Load balance – Beware having the load too far back on the trailer. This will invariably cause fishtailing and in extreme cases will destabilise the rig and even pull it across road lanes. If ever fishtailing occurs, DO NOT BRAKE. Keep the steering straight and ease off the speed until you can stop safely

Speed – Although highway speeds are achievable, beware of the effect of windage that will completely change the usual handling characteristics. This is especially true for caravans, horse-floats, some boats, high-sided trailers etc. It is entirely possible for the wind to turn over the entire rig, including the towing vehicle.

Consideration for other drivers when towing

There are few things more irritating than having a slow vehicle ahead where the driver refuses to move over to allow others to pass in safety. It is not enough to wait for an “overtaking” lane if it becomes obvious that a line of traffic is banking up behind you. There are plenty of places where it will be possible to pull over to allow other to pass. Just be careful of soft road shoulders. If there is a “Pull-over” area to allow faster traffic to pass, please use it.

This article is one of many written by ASPAC Consulting,in collaboration with the technical experts at Graeme Cooper Automotive. To download it in PDF format, click here: Towing with your Land Rover.PDF

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