Five adjustments that might result in your caravan exceeding the weight limits

Photo of author

By Car Brand Experts


Currently, many new caravan enthusiasts are considering the enhancements they wish to make to their vans and the equipment they want to carry. This will require modifications to accommodate the additional gear. However, it’s essential to be aware that such modifications can substantially impact the weight and stability of the caravan on the road. Besides potential legal and insurance concerns, an overweight caravan poses significant risks to both the owner and other road users.

In recent years, awareness of these issues has broadened. Several companies now offer mobile weighing services to caravan owners, gathering crucial data on common modifications that push vehicles beyond safe limits.

One such company, Check Weight-Mobile Caravan Weighing, reached out to RVDaily to share key findings. Here are the top five adjustments that could potentially lead to your caravan being overweight or unbalanced.

1. Bicycle carriers

When it comes to carrying bikes, many caravan owners inquire, “Where should we mount our bicycles?” While the ideal solution might be to leave them at home, most individuals prefer to take their bikes along. The options are limited:

  • Inside the caravan: Not practical, especially for adult bicycles.
  • On the tow vehicle’s roof: Suitable if you can handle the task, but not convenient for everyone.
  • At the rear of the caravan: In many instances, not recommended since any weight at the back reduces the tow ball weight significantly.

Issues with bike carriers

Although it may seem insignificant, reducing the tow ball weight can lead to swaying and decreased stability, especially at lower speeds. Mounting a bike frame on the rear bar adds extra weight, potentially affecting stability. Carriers mounted on the A-frame might be the better option, provided the tow ball weight is already balanced.

mods that make your van overweight - bike carriers
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • reddit
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
It is not recommended to mount bike carriers on the rear bumper.

Calculating the total weight of bike carriers, brackets, bolts, and bikes is crucial when determining the impact on the caravan’s handling and towing capabilities.

2. Portable generators

As the trend of free camping grows and with the need to bring electronic gadgets while traveling, more caravan owners opt to carry generators. While useful, generators pose challenges due to their weight and impact on caravan stability.

Generators typically weigh 25 – 35 kilograms and are often placed in a box on the A-frame. Loading such weight at the rear of the caravan can be hazardous and affect towing capabilities.

mods that make your van overweight - generators
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • reddit
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
Generators come in various sizes, with some weighing up to 45 kilograms.

3. Oversized storage compartments

Many caravan manufacturers add large storage boxes to the front of new models for storing generators, BBQs, and other essentials. While convenient, these sizeable toolboxes are heavy on their own and often encourage owners to overload with unnecessary items, affecting weight distribution.

Similar to bike carriers on the A-frame, these storage boxes increase tow ball weight significantly. Having space doesn’t mean it should be filled to the brim!

Adding more storage boxes to the rear bumper can worsen stability issues unless the caravan was specifically designed with such weight distribution in mind.

mods that make your van overweight - tool boxes
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • reddit
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
Just because you have a large toolbox doesn’t mean it must be filled with heavy items.

4. Fuel and water containers

Jerry can holders at the rear of caravans are optional features that few consider when it comes to weight balance and distribution. Similar to bikes and toolboxes, any weight at the back of the van will impact towing stability.

If you store 20 gallons of water at the back of your van, it will reduce the weight on the tow ball by 10 pounds. By adding two 20-gallon containers, you will have decreased the weight by 20 pounds on your tow ball.

If it is necessary to have the jerry can holders there, it is advisable to travel with the cans empty until shortly before reaching your camping destination, then fill them up at the last town. This way, you are minimizing the distance driven with the extra weight, allowing you to reduce your speed and lessen the impact of that weight on your vehicle.

When it comes to battery placement, it has become usual to position batteries under the caravan in external boxes attached to the chassis, typically just in front of the axles. Many owners may not realize the considerable weight of standard lead-acid batteries. Batteries with a capacity of about 100 to 120ah can weigh between 30 and 40 kilograms. Most caravans come with two batteries that are usually located on one side of the van.

Placing batteries behind the wheels on one side can disrupt the balance of the caravan by adding excessive weight to the rear, therefore it is not recommended.

If you are upgrading the current batteries in a pre-owned van, consider investing in Lithium batteries. They are lighter in weight and provide more usable power compared to equivalent AGM batteries.

This post was originally featured on Check Weight’s website. Check Weight, a mobile caravan weighing service located in Newcastle, NSW, recognized the need for a simpler way for caravan, boat, and 4WD owners to determine the weight of their vehicles. Utilizing Check Weight’s services helps ensure that your setup is secure, steady, and compliant with regulations.

Read next:

Leave a Comment

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!