Can a Beetle tow a caravan?

In this short guide, we will answer the following question: Can a Beetle tow a caravan? We will explain what MAM is and how to deduce the payload you can carry in your car. We also talk about the risks of driving with a too loaded car. 

Can a Beetle tow a caravan?

Let us get straight to the point: a Volkswagen Beetle cannot tow a caravan. All Beetles were not planned to tow any cargo, and as you will see in the below table, only the 2000 to 2011 models have a towing capacity of 1000 kg (or 2200 lbs). A typical caravan can weigh between 800kg and 1300kg. Keep in mind that the caravan’s exact weight should not exceed 1.3 times the actual weight of the car.

Volkswagen Beetle Towing Capacity

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Towing with a Beetle: The Maximum Authorized Mass (MAM)

Whenever deciding if a car can tow a caravan, you have to know for sure the”Maximum permissible laden mass of the vehicle in service” or more simply the “Maximum Authorized Mass”, summarized in three letters that we know well: MAM!

To find out the MAM (Maximum Authorized Weight) of your car, please refer to the car’s manual, more exactly line F.2. on the grey card: “F.2. Technically permissible maximum laden mass‘.

The MAM indicates the maximum authorised weight for your car and includes:

  • The curb weight of the car.
  • The weight of the luggage and equipment transported (bicycles, for example).
  • The weight of the transport accessories (roof box, bicycle rack, etc.).
  • The weight of the driver, his passengers and their 4-legged companions.

What is not specified:

  • The weight of the trailer or caravan that can be towed behind the car.
  • The weight of the luggage and equipment contained therein.

How to deduce the payload you can carry in your car from the MAM?

You have to look at line G.1. National empty weight, also called Mass of the vehicle in running order. This is the weight of the unladen vehicle, that is to say:

  • With the full tank of fuel, oil and the various fluids necessary to function correctly, tools (jack, crank, etc.) and the spare wheel.
  • With a driver (counted as a flat rate for 75 kg).
  • But without luggage and passengers.

To calculate the payload, i.e. the maximum weight your vehicle is allowed to carry, you need to do a simple subtraction:

F.2. – G.1. = payload

If in the car, in addition to a 75 kg driver, there is an adult (65 kg) and 3 children (40 kg on average), there will be around 351 kg available for luggage. 

Note: Bike racks, roof boxes and other accessories are included in the calculation of a vehicle’s GVWR, but if you are towing, the trailer’s weight is not included.

If you are towing with a Beetle, also pay attention to the MAM of the caravan

Trailers and caravans also have their own MAM. Similarly, if you are towing, you must load the hitched vehicle not to exceed its Total Authorized Loaded Weight. Besides, the trailer’s actual weight should not exceed 1.3 times the actual weight of the car.

Also, pay attention to the overall weight (car + trailer); more exactly, pay attention to the GVWR or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. On the grey card it is mentioned in line F.3. : “Maximum permissible laden mass of the assembly in service in the Member State of registration”. It corresponds to the total mass that the vehicle is able to transport.

This is then the GVWR, plus the maximum trailer weight that can be towed by the vehicle. The GVWR of a car and its trailer must never exceed 3.5 tonnes.

Car too loaded? Advice for towing a trailer/caravan

The cars are designed to be loaded without worrying about GVWR. But when you go on vacation, sometimes you want to load your vehicle more than right.

Full trunk and passenger compartment with the addition of a roof box and a rear bicycle rack and luggage trailer … and here things get complicated in terms of GVW! Also, be careful with moving: we are tempted to overfill the vehicle or trailer, and often very heavy objects. 

What are the risks when driving too loaded?

Driving too loaded (GVW not respected) is dangerous: for you and your family but also for other road users.

Indeed, the more the vehicle is loaded, the more its handling and its handling are degraded. In addition, the braking distances are extended. The risk of an accident is then dangerously increased.

What fines and penalties are given for non-compliance with the authorized MAM?

For an obvious safety issue, compliance with the maximum authorized weight is a road safety priority. Also, if you drive too heavily and the police find that your car does not meet its authorized GVWR, you risk a fine, or even a lot more.

  • Exceeding up to 5% of the authorized MAMfor your vehicle: $150, reduced to $90 if paid within 15 days.
  • Exceeding the MQM between 5 and 20%: violation identical to that indicated above. In addition, the vehicle is immobilized and the registration card is confiscated, as long as the vehicle does not comply.
  • Over 20% overweight: fine increases to $1,500. In addition to the immobilisation and confiscation of the vehicle registration document, the driver receives a summons to Court. He then risks a loss of points on his driving license.

Click here to read more about oversize and overweight fines and penalties by state.

Conclusions and more about the Beetle

The simplicity, reliability, practicality and capabilities of the Beetle made it become a car that sold millions of units and that would even last in production for more than 60 years, coming to live with its modern reinterpretation in some countries. 

In the United States, it was poorly received in 1949, as it was the opposite of what “American” cars were. Also, the resentment of everything that was German at that time made its life more complicated. However, in time Americans learned to love the New Beetle.

In its years of existence, Beetle also had many special editions that ranged from a Beetle Turbo, the exciting Turbo GSR, the Pink and Denim, Coast, Fender, Xbox, R-Line, All-Star, in short, many.

In its last years the Volkswagen Beetle began to suffer from the industry trends because, as we know, SUVs are on the minds of most consumers. While coupes and caprice cars, in general, lose their market little by little. Even so, the Beetle definitely stays in the memory of the automotive industry, lovers of the brand and even those who did not find it attractive.

When towing a caravan, always put safety first. Our verdict is that a VW Beetle cannot tow a caravan. Care to contradict us? We’d love a good argument, so if you have any comments or questions, feel free to share them below!

FAQ on Can a Beetle tow a caravan?

What is the towing weight of a caravan?

The towing weight of a caravan must be up to 750 kg MAM. The combined weight of the trailer and the car should not be more than 3.500 kg. 

Can VW Bug be flat towed?

A VW Bug can be flat towed only if it has a manual transmission. Otherwise, it has to be on a dolly or trailer. 

How much does a small trailer weigh?

A small trailer can weigh on average 700 lbs. The most a trailer can weigh is 1700 lbs and this is usually a three or four-bed camper. 

How much do pop-up campers weigh?

Pop-up campers usually weigh between 1180 and 2700 lbs, depending on its size and usefulness. 


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