In today’s article, we clear up all the doubts you may have about the mirrors you need when towing a trailer. Do you need towing mirrors on a van? Keep reading to find out!
Do you need towing mirrors on a van?
When you are carrying a caravan or a trailer and its width is greater than the width of your car, you will need the trailer mirrors.
As a very simple guide, look at the back of your car (with a trailer attached). Watch it while walking away until you stop seeing the mirrors sticking out of the car. This is how far you will see without van mirrors.
If you quickly lose sight of your car mirrors, you should install additional towing mirrors to expand your field of vision while driving.
However, when you start looking for mirrors for your trailer, new questions begin to arise:
- What is this about flat and convex mirrors?
- Which one is right for my trailer?
- How far should the mirrors reach? Etc, etc, etc.
We have asked ourselves the same questions and this is what we have found out.
Flat Or Convex Mirrors For Your Van?
Flat mirror (also called concave) is a mirror that has an inwardly curved reflective surface. Thanks to this, it shows the enlarged image and the objects you see in them seem closer to you.
Generally, this type of mirror is used in telescopes (to bring the image closer) or in a simple makeup mirror.
Convex mirrors instead have an outwardly curved reflective surface. Thanks to this, they zoom out the image they show and allow you to expand your field of vision.
Surely you have seen in the mirrors of your car the phrase: “objects are closer than they appear”. It is because you have the convex mirrors. These zoom out on displayed objects so you can see a bigger picture of what’s happening behind you.
You will have also seen these mirrors on the corners of some establishments such as hospitals or the corners of the streets with poor visibility. They are placed there to help drivers see if a car is approaching down the street that you cannot see.
Trailer mirrors are manufactured both flat and convex, however, the convex ones enjoy more popularity. By allowing you to expand your field of vision, they give you more security and information at the time of any unforeseen event.
Which Rear View Mirror Is Right For Your Van?
You already know whether to choose the flat or convex trailer mirror, but there are so many on the market that it is difficult to know which is the best for your car/trailer model.
The Aero mirror range is continually improving over the years and has been modified to accommodate all new vehicles as they are released. Currently, they fit all cars, 4x4s and vans produced since 1995.
Unlike other mirrors that are installed employing rubbers (which wear out over time), in Aero mirrors, the fixing screws are made of stainless steel. They rotate on brass inserts, which will never corrode, despite rain or snow.
Its assembly is very easy. You just screw it to your car mirror. They are equipped with chrome safety glass, which will not fade over time. Thanks to this, it is a long-lasting product.
All Aero mirrors have the “E” mark, which means that they comply with the most current European safety legislation. You must pay attention to this when buying a trailer mirror.
They are extremely stable. They are shaped so that you can see far beyond your trailer and cars on all three lanes of the freeway. If you can’t see your mirrors behind your trailer, then you need wider mirrors. Extra-wide arms are available for narrow/wide trailer combinations.
How to travel safely with a caravan
The first thing you should do before starting to place the load on the trailer is to check that its total weight does not exceed the weight limit that the trailer can carry, as well as its capacity. Remember that, if you have a B driving license, you can only carry up to a maximum of 3,500 kilos of maximum authorized mass.
On the other hand, you should know that it is very important that the centre of gravity of the trailer is in front of its wheels so that it is as level as possible. To do this, you must place the load as close as possible to the axle of the trailer, with the aim that, in case it is not completely level, at least the front part is the one that is lower than the rear.
Begin loading the trailer by placing the heaviest items first. Once you have the heaviest items loaded on the trailer, you can load the rest as evenly as possible, from closer to the trailer axle to further away, with a side-to-side distribution without leaving gaps, to reduce risk. overturning.
Despite this, do not overload the front area, as it could cause a loss of control of the vehicle when driving with it. Besides, the heaviest load should be at the bottom of the trailer, while the lightest load should occupy the top, without exceeding the limits of the trailer.
Once you have all the load correctly placed in this way, you will have to secure it with chains or straps to prevent them from moving and could destabilize the vehicle or even fall onto the road when making a sharp turn, for example.
It is also advisable to cover the load with tarps to prevent it from being damaged by the weather conditions, be it the sun or the rain, and they will also help to better hold the load, especially the smaller pieces. Of course, these canvases must also be held in turn with straps or cables.
Towing a van: checklist!
Are you going on vacation soon with your caravan that you plan on towing? We have established a pre-departure checklist so that you can travel safely to your destination.
1. Check the tire pressure
If the caravan has been stationary for a while, the tire pressure has likely dropped. You find the required pressure on the tires of your caravan. You can measure the tire pressure at a gas station.
2. Check the pressure of the hitch ball when coupling
Sufficient hitch ball pressure is 5-7% of the total caravan weight. You can use a boom scale for this.
3. Secure the breakaway cable
This is for safety. If the caravan becomes detached from the car, the breakage cable causes the caravan to break.
4. Remove the handbrake
5. Make sure the crank is tight and the jockey wheel is lifted off the ground
Turn the jockey wheel and pull it as high as possible. Then turn the crank a little more to make sure the jockey wheel is secure.
6. Check that all lights are working and bring a spare fuse box.
The following lights are mandatory for a caravan:
- 2 white position lights
- 2 red or yellow rear indicators
- 2 red or yellow brake lights
- 2 reversing lights
- License plate light
7. Check if the gas cylinder is closed
In many European countries, it is prohibited to drive with an open gas cylinder.
8. Don’t put too much water in your water tank.
Water is also a weight, so take that into account due to the maximum weight of the caravan.
9. Close the windows and the skylight
This prevents damage from unexpected wind gusts.
11. Make sure everything is tidy in the caravan.
Heavy objects or dishes can be damaged if cabinet doors open unexpectedly. For example, the lamp hanging from the ceiling. This can be damaged if the caravan starts to sway.
12. Connect the refrigerator to 12V if you want to use it during the journey
12 volts means the refrigerator is running on the car battery. Make sure you don’t do this when standing still, as you run the risk of your battery draining.
13. Lock the skylights and the caravan door.
Think of the drawbar box and skylights. Prevent them from opening and being damaged by the wind.
14. Use caravan mirrors on your car
Caravan mirrors are mandatory if you cannot see the caravan in your rearview mirror.
15. Try to break after starting. Watch out for other cars.
These are the most important tips that you should check before setting out with your caravan.
In this article, we answered the following question: Do you need towing mirrors on a van? We also talk about the types of mirrors that you can use for towing a van or a trailer.
To summarize, caravan mirrors are mandatory if you cannot see the caravan in your rearview mirror. Otherwise, there is no issue and you do not have to have them. Trailer mirrors are manufactured both flat and convex, however, the convex ones enjoy more popularity. By allowing you to expand your field of vision, they give you more security and information at the time of any unforeseen event.
If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!
FAQ on Do you need towing mirrors on a van?
Do I need towing mirrors on a van?
Caravan mirrors are mandatory if you cannot see the caravan in your rearview mirror. For example, a caravan is significantly wider than a car, even a large 4×4 and you simply can’t comply with the law unless you fit towing mirrors.
What happens when you exceed your vehicle’s towing capacity?
When you exceed your vehicle’s towing capacity you bring a series of consequences for your card, such as engine overheating; tire failure, overloading the drivetrain, CO2 emissions increase among others.
Can any car tow a caravan?
Not any car can tow a caravan. A caravan with the maximum mass over 100% of the car’s kerb weight should not be towed by the respective car under any circumstances!
Is a Caravan braked or unbraked?
Most Caravans are braked, thus having their braking system. Some smaller camping trailers and tents are usually unbraked, but you need to check with the manufacturer as not all are equal.
Can I exceed my towing capacity?
It is not safe nor advisable to exceed the towing capacity, as it may make the vehicle unsafe on the road. Also, if you do not secure the hitch properly, it can cause fatalities on the road.