Can a minivan pull a pop-up camper?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Can a minivan pull a pop-up camper? We will explain a minivan’s GVW is, payload, curb weight and towing capacity. 

Can a minivan pull a pop-up camper?

Yes, a minivan can pull almost any pop-up camper. With the right equipment, the towing capacity of a minivan is up to 3600 lbs (1630 kg), while a pop-up camper weighs from 1500 to 3000 lbs. (680 to 1300 kg). 

Here are the basic steps to follow for towing with a minivan:

  1. Check the weight and size of the trailer you want to attach to your truck against what the minivan owner’s manual says is compatible. Read what he has to say about bicycles and everything that can be hung on the back of the trailer.
  1. Check your minivan’s manual for maximum towing capacity. Towing specifications and capacities vary. Some minivans have a standard 1500-1800 pound capacity. Others can tow up to 3,500 to 3,800 pounds.
  1. Calculate your truck’s rear overhang to the wheelbase ratio. Divide the rear overhang length by the length of the wheelbase. Then multiply that number by 100 to get a percentage. This percentage will be 45 to 55 per cent with most minivans, averaging 35 per cent. The lower the percentage, the better your minivan will handle the load.
  1. Attach the trailer package, or have it professionally installed at a car service.

What is towing with a minivan like?

A minivan is a vehicle that is smaller than a van but large enough to accommodate seven to nine people. Nowadays, these vehicles are associated with soccer mothers and families with children, but they have actually been around for a long time. The minivan’s predecessors include vehicles such as the Volkswagen Bus, but the first true minivans began series production by companies such as Toyota and Chrysler in the 1980s.

Minivans were often preferred to cars like station wagons, a typical car for large families, because they looked more like cars and could be slightly more fuel-efficient. They were also a prime choice for people who wanted plenty of passenger space. 

Many parents thanked the creators of minivans for creating three rows of seats, thus providing the ability to separate children quarrelling in a row.

The dimensions of these vehicles can vary and can be made in smaller and smaller sizes, which can increase in length. The height is typically around 65 inches (165.1 cm) or slightly higher. Especially in the early days, minivans may not be preferred because many of them lacked powerful engines. 

If people wanted large transports with a lot of power, they tended to turn to SUVs. Today, many minivan models are made with a V6 or V8 engine. This gives them more power and makes them more capable of towing things like small trailers.

The popularity of these vehicles has remained high, although there has been some decline in popularity because they are not extraordinarily fuel efficient vehicles. Some people have turned to smaller cars with higher fuel efficiency or hybrid SUV types. 

There was also a concern for the safety of the first models. The addition of driver and passenger airbags and side curtain airbags has improved crash tests and safety features on most minivans.

Trends in creating alternative fuel or more efficient vehicles are driving car manufacturers to find ways to produce hybrid minivans. Several car manufacturers are developing hybrid models for minivans. These will likely replace standard minivans in the years to come as fuel consumption demands increase.

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What is a minivan’s curb weight?

The curb weight of a minivan to the weight of the vehicle when all the conditions are met for it to run. It is therefore determined with the tank full, all the engine fluids, a full gas cylinder, the driver (scale of 75 kg), all the equipment supplied as standard (spare wheels, etc.). 

For converted vans, we use the developer’s plate and not that of the manufacturer. In the Highway Code, article R312-1 defines the empty weight. This is “the weight of the vehicle in running order including the chassis with the accumulators and the water tank filled, the fuel tanks or gasifiers filled, the body, normal equipment, spare wheels and tires. and common tools normally delivered with the vehicle. 

The total weight of an articulated vehicle, combination of vehicles or double train is called the “total running weight” of the articulated vehicle, combination of vehicles or double train. 

However, the regulations provide for a tolerance of around 5%. It is therefore estimated that there may be differences between 2 identical minivans from the same manufacturer (type of options, finishing materials). But be careful, this does not affect the GVW (total loaded weight) which remains at 3.5 T. The latter also has the right to tolerance, but this time concerns the devices for measuring the forces of the order.

What is a minivan’s gross vehicle weight (GVW)?

A minivan’s GVWR is the maximum weight allowed when driving (generally between 2,800 and 3,500 kg depending on the vans). By placing your minivan on the scale, law enforcement will check to see if you are in good standing. The GVW is determined with all passengers, baggage and accessories. 

However, law enforcement authorities apply a tolerance of around 5%, which corresponds to the margin of error of the measuring device. Before setting off, do not only take into account the luggage but also all the accessories or options: 2nd gas cylinder (15kg), loaded bike rack (30 kg), TV (5 kg)… It is also necessary to know for which filling level your van is approved. If it has a 100-litre tank, but it is approved for 20, then it will be necessary to add 80 kg. 

To do this, it is usually sufficient to inspect the datasheet. In the “clean water” box, if it says 20 (100) it means that the manufacturer advises driving with 20 litres to keep a comfortable payload. When stationary, however, the tank can hold 100 litres of water.

What licence do I need to tow with a minivan?

Unlike some motorhomes which are sometimes considered heavy goods vehicles, the minivan does not exceed the GVWR of 3.5 T. But be careful, certain rules must still be observed. License B is sufficient if the GVWR of the trailer (therefore loaded) is equal to or less than 750 kg and the GVWR of the rolling assembly does not exceed 3.5 T. 

If the sum of the GVWR of the tractor and the trailer is between 3501 kg and 4250 kg, it will then be necessary to pass the B96 training. Rest assured, this is not an exam, but a 4-hour theoretical course at the driving school with an additional 3 hours in circulation. 

Beyond a GVW of 750 kg and a sum of 4250 kg with the van, you will have to pass the BE license. In the event that the trailer exceeds 3.5T, it is necessary to have the CE license. Note that trailers with a GVWR of over 500 kg must have their own registration certificate.

The bottom line

Most minivans were designed with the towing capacity in mind. Check the combined weight of the minivan and the camper, as well as the towing capacity of your minivan by referring to the owner’s manuals for both vehicles. 

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or comments on the content.

FAQ on Can a minivan pull a pop-up camper?

Most minivans have a towing capacity of 3,500 lbs (1587 kg), which is in most cases just enough to tow a U-haul trailer. 

Can you pull a travel trailer with a minivan?

Yes, you can pull a travel trailer with a minivan. Check the combined weight of the minivan and the travel trailer, as well as the towing capacity of your minivan by referring to the owner’s manuals for both vehicles. 

Can a van pull a trailer?

A van can definitely pull a trailer. While many associate trailer driving with SUVs, a minivan can do just as a great job. Besides, you have more space for your luggage and passengers!

Which minivan is best for towing?

Some of the best minivans for towing are Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, Ford Transit, Nissan NV and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter or Metris. 


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