How To Find Information About My Caravan
Thursday, 30 July 2020 | Katie
Why do I need to know information about my caravan?
You may need to know the weight limit of your caravan before going on holiday or find the model, year of manufacture, safety enhancements or CRiS (Central Registration and Identification Scheme) number for insurance purposes.
It is also very important to make sure your dream caravan is well matched to your car as a poorly matched combination could lead to uncomfortable towing, poor fuel economy and potentially a serious accident!
Where can I find this information?
This information can usually be found in an owner’s handbook or on the documentation given by the dealership where you received your car or van.
But I’m sure if you had this information then you wouldn’t be reading this blog! So, assuming you don’t have access to the above, there are a few ways in which to uncover the specifications you may need.
There are websites specifically designed to help you determine useful information about your caravan or motorhome such as this one below. If you do not have any information whatsoever, there is also a handy Caravan manufacturer quick links section that may lead you in the right direction.
Here’s a link to the caravan talk caravan specifications page. https://www.caravantalk.co.uk/caravan-specifications/
The manufacturer of your caravan is generally easy to identify, the make and model will usually be displayed on the body work such as in the picture below. Motorhomes can be slightly more complicated as different manufacturers have made engine/chassis part to the living area. Generally, check the living area to determine manufacturer of your motorhome.
Make and Model Different manufacturers
Year of manufacturer
You can determine the year of manufacture of your caravan by looking at the VIN number. Embedded in the long 17 digit number will be a section indicating what year your caravan was manufactured. See our blog on deciphering VIN numbers.
The weight of your van can be found on the manufacturer plate. This will conveniently have the average weight of unloaded caravan (MIRO) and the weight your vehicle should be when packed and ready to go (MTPLM). Be careful when looking on older models as the definition of MIRO has changed over the years. 2010 and previous models did not have to include gas bottles, water in water heater, toilet flush water, water in onboard tanks or the leisure battery. In 2011, the rules changed so that all components had to be included, other than the leisure battery. For example, if the water tank had a capacity of 30 litres it had to be assumed that it was 90% full. The rules changed again in 2015 so that manufacturers can now specify what is included in the MIRO, so it is always best to check the van’s personal weight limits than guessing based other similar vehicles.
Alternatively, you can unload your caravan and use public weigh-bridges.
Another important subject, especially for towing, is the nose weight of your caravan. The nose weight should never exceed the tow limit of your car, which as a general guideline is around 80-100kg.
This can easily be measured by using a nose weight gauge. You can pick up a simple gauge from around £10-15. More precise gauges can be from £25 upwards. For the gauge to measure correctly, make sure caravan is level before measuring.
Alternatively, if you are looking for a D.I.Y option you can use some weighing scales and a plank of wood. Park your caravan on level ground. Make sure your hand break is on. Level the caravan and measure the distance between the bottom of the tow hitch and the ground, then takeaway the height of your scales. Cut a piece of wood to this calculated length. Place the scales on the ground, under the towing hitch. Raise the nose of the caravan using the jockey wheel, and slot the wood into place. Lower the caravan tow hitch onto the wood until the jockey wheel is off the ground. The reading on your scales is your nose weight.
Too heavy can affect stability and steering
Too light can affect stability
Height, Width, Length
You can use an old-fashioned tape measure! However, you might want to check with the manufacturer or on official documents if the specific measurement is needed.
A caravan CRiS number can be found etched on to the windows of your caravan or VIN number found around the driver’s seat in a motorhome. See our blog about deciphering CRiS/VIN numbers.
If you have any questions or further specifications not named on this blog, please comment and share information…