Caravan Brakes, Weight and Towing
For touring comfort and safety, each of our JAYCO Caravans and Camper Trailers is fitted with an approved ‘electric braking system’ which works in tandem with the towing vehicle (ie, your car). This way your car & caravan brakes are working in tandem, rather than your car brakes trying to slow down both.
Some cars have a hard-wired system for electronic brakes, we can supply you with the contact details of an auto electrican to be able to install this if you would like to investigate this option.
We also offer a bluetooth electric braking system on most of our vans which can be hired out for a fee if you don’t have electronic brakes installed.
As noted in the Great Rates Australia Terms & Conditions, before you hire one of our Caravans or Camper Trailers, you must first make sure that your car (the towing vehicle) has the capacity to tow the Caravan or Camper Trailer model that you wish to hire.
To find this information, you will need to consult TWO sources:
Your vehicle Manufacturer’s Owners Handbook
Specifically, please refer to the section on ‘Towing’; to compare your vehicle’s ‘Gross Vehicle Mass’ rating with the weight of the Caravan or Camper Trailer you wish to hire from us. You then need to consider how much weight (ie, your personal belongings) you add to your hire van, so as to ensure that the total loaded weight complies with your vehicle’s specifications.
The rating plate
The ‘rating plate’ attached to your car’s towbar. The information on this plate will tell you the rated ‘Maximum Towing Capacity’, in kgs, of your towbar.
As you can appreciate, towing the weight of a caravan or camper trailer takes a bit of extra skill and care. So, if this is your first time driving with a caravan, then you should put in some ‘practice time’ in parking and reversing before you hit the highway. After hours at a local carpark, might be a good time and place to do this.
Because of the added length of a caravan on tow, always allow yourself a little extra space to swing out when you turn into and out of entrances and driveways.
Extra care will need to be taken with extra length of the rear overhang of the van. It can be easily damaged if it scrapes or ‘bottoms out’ in the dips at the entry and exit driveways.
Take special note of the ‘Height’ of your caravan; as listed on specifications on our website or on the collection day handout sheet
The extra weight of a loaded caravan will, obviously, slow down the normal acceleration of your towing vehicle. If your car has manual transmission, you will find that you need to stay longer in each gear before changing to a higher gear. With cars that have auto transmission, use the gear lever to manually control gear changes; especially when climbing hills.
On the highway
For safety’s sake, always drive at a significantly slower highway speed than you normally would. A good guideline is to leave at least ‘a three second gap’ between you and the vehicle up ahead. Remember, with a caravan behind, you will always take a longer time and distance to stop in a hurry.
Overtaking other vehicles, especially long trucks or other caravans, must be done with extra care. Not only is the acceleration considerably reduced but due to the extra length a greater distance has to be covered before it is possible to move back into the left hand lane. Remember to check the mirrors before pulling out.
By regularly checking your rear vision mirrors, you will be aware if a vehicle wants to pass you. Keep to the left without speeding up or your tyres running off the bitumen. When traffic builds up behind you, periodically move off the road to allow other motorists to pass safely. Keep in mind, any dust your wheels kick up my affect the passing motorist’s vision.
Going Down Hill
On steep hills you can avoid the need for heavy braking, by backing off the accelerator before reaching the downhill section; and also, changing to a lower gear to use engine braking.