Checking the Tow Rating of a Second-hand Car

There are a whole range of benefits that come from purchasing a second-hand car. You're getting a great deal, there's likely no need for a loan, your insurance premiums may be lower and if you're lucky, the second-hand price will hold its value for far longer than a new price!

However, there might also be a few downsides to a second-hand car such as not knowing too much about it. That said, there might be a little bit more work involved in finding what to look for in a second-hand car to ensure you're not buying a lemon!

In this post, we'll take a look at one commonly overlooked aspect of a second-hand car - what the tow rating is, why it's important and how to check the tow rating of a second-hand car.

What is a Tow Rating?

As suggested by the name, the tow rating of a vehicle tells us the amount of weight your vehicle can tow, as set by the manufacturer. It’s important, however, to remember that because your car is second hand, it’s age may have impacted the tow rating. The older the car, the lower the tow rating will be.

You will find that the towing capacity of a vehicle is set out as if your vehicle is empty which means that if you’re towing a caravan, trailer, or boat and your car is full of items, you’ll need to check whether your second hand car has the ability to tow all this additional weight with a full car too.

To find out more about a vehicle's tow rating and why it's important not to exceed this rating, you can take a look at HowStuffWorks. You'll quickly see why it's vital to stay well-within your towing limits.

Why is the Tow Rating Important?

As you'd expect the tow rating is important as it will let you know whether your vehicle is capable of towing something safely. If your tow rating is too low for a specific vehicle or trailer, you risk damaging your vehicle as well as not being able to stop quick enough in emergency situations. This can be incredibly dangerous to your own safety and the safety of your car.

Keeping the above in mind, it's always important to check your vehicle's tow rating and towing capacity before you attempt to haul anything. Weigh the item you’re towing and make sure you’re able to tow it safely.

How to Check a Second-hand Car's Tow Rating

There are a few ways to check your vehicle’s tow rating, all of which are fairly easy.

Firstly, if you’re purchasing a car from a car yard, you may be able to ask your salesperson to get the information for you.

Secondly, if there is a manual for the vehicle in the glovebox, you’ll be able to find the information in there as well. A second-hand model might also have a badge or information stamp somewhere under the hood or beside the driver’s seat with this information too.

The aforementioned HowStuffWorks website also gives you the ability to take a look at your car's make, model and year to find out the tow rating. If you're towing another car with your second-hand vehicle, you should also check its weight on websites like LovetoKnow.

With all of the above said, it's so important to make sure that if you're towing anything over a long distance or through a built-up area that you weight it at a weigh-bridge and also make sure it's in line with your car's towing ability. You want to safeguard yourself against injury or causing an accident.

Do you have any specific towing questions? Leave us a comment below: