Car Transporters - Weights Guide

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If you are thinking about buying a recovery truck or car transporter to be used commercially for delivering cars this may help you decide which truck to purchase....

FIRST - The abbreiviations...

GVW - Gross Vehicle Weight - The total permitted weight of the vehicle when loaded.

ULW - Un Laden Weight - The weight of the vehicle empty.

GTW - Gross Train Weight - The total permitted weight of the vehicle and trailer when loaded, including the weight of the tow vehicle and trailer.

"O" Licence - The additional licence required to operate any vehicle commercially, for hire or reward, that weights 7500kg or more.

"TACHO" - The recording device that is required to be fitted and used in any vehicle / vehicle & trailer combination operating commercially over 3500kg including the weight of the tow vehicle and trailer including 4x4's / Panel Vans

"VOSA" - The Vehicle Inspectorate

SECOND - The Maths...

If the GVW of a truck is 3500kg and its ULW is 2500 kg > It can only legally carry a vehicle that weighs 1000kg. That is nothing much bigger than an Astra for example. Just because it is big enough to carry, say, a Range Rover, it cannot legally. You will be pulled over by VOSA, put on a weighbridge and heavily fined for every 10kg that you are overweight and may have your vehicle, and your clients vehicle, impounded.


THIRD - Trailers

As above, if the GLW of a trailer is 2500kg and the trailer weighs 1000kg it can only legally carry 1500 kg. BUT - if the towing weight of your vehicle is,say, 2000kg this includes the weight of the trailer so in this example you can only load your trailer with again a small vehicle. When towing a car trailer commercially with ANY vehicle the tow vehicle must be fitted with a tacho as the operating weight - Your Vehicle + The Trailer + The Load - will exceed 3500kg. VOSA are frequently pulling over 4x4's and Panel Vans pulling car trailers and the first thing they will want to see is your tachograph charts. Failiure to produce will result in a hefty fine.

FORTH - Recovery Trucks

Any vehicle with a GVW of 7500kg used for transportation must have on display an "O" licence, vehicle transportation is NOT vehicle recovery and VOSA know the difference and can spot quite easily whether you are recovering a vehicle or delivering it!


Many car transporter trucks and trailers are infact very limited in their use if they have a GVW of 3500kg. Ask the ULW and work out what it can carry - don't believe the photos! If you want to buy a 7500kg truck firstly find out if it has a Tacho and apply for an operators licence as you won't be able to use it without both.




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