It came to our attention recently, via a customer (thank you Mr Hall) that Mazda Bongo (and Ford Freda) owners who wish to tow often find it extremely difficult to find out if they can do so legally.
Mr Hall had done some lengthy research into the matter, as he wanted to tow a caravan with his outfit and unfortunately hit several brick walls. However due to his perseverance he was able to ascertain the following information.
As Mazda Bongo’s are manufactured in Japan, primarily for the Japanese market, they do not weigh them for towing as perhaps a European manufacturer would. This is principally because the Japanese do not have a culture of caravanning, unlike the great British public, and therefore they do not have a need for the weight.
Whilst towing with a Bongo is uncommon it is perfectly legal. The Bongo Fury site recommends that the safe towing weight is 1650 kgs. VOSA (Vehicle and Operators Safety Agency) recommend that an owner have their vehicle weighed as modifications to the original specification could have an impact on the overall weight.
We would recommend that you take your Bongo, full of fuel, along to your nearest public weighbridge and have it weighed with the driver. They can then give you a stamped and dated receipt confirming the weight of your vehicle.
The Caravan Club have always advocated that any vehicle that wishes to tow a caravan safely should adhere to the 85% rule and this advice is no different for a Bongo. So, if your Bongo weighed 2000 kgs at the weighbridge, an 85% match for a caravan would be 1700kgs. This figure would be the maximum weight that you could safely tow including the caravan, awning, clothing, food and anything else that you might like to take away with you. We have a more in-depth article on towing capacities here.
Before you set off into the sunset, it would be a good idea to take your fully laden Bongo and caravan back to the weighbridge as it is amazing how much stuff you can fill a caravan with without realising to make sure that you have stayed within the limits!
We would also recommend that you consider taking a copy of the weighbridge receipts and keeping them in your Bongo in case there are any queries with the authorities whilst you are away travelling.
Don’t forget that you should also check that your driving licence covers you for towing, as there have been several changes in the law over the last few years placing a greater restriction on who can tow what. Our guide to the current law can be accessed from this link.
Lastly, make sure that your Mazda Bongo and caravan are fully covered with the appropriate insurance. Call us on 01480 402460 for a personalised quote – we have access to a wide range of insurers, many of which are not accessible through comparison websites.