Doctor Diesel

Blackpool Tower

dd3I have just read Paul Allerton’s request for help regarding towing, and your reply. I tow a 1,350kg caravan with a Mercedes-Benz C 220 CDI BlueEfficiency of 2010 vintage. It is rear-wheel-drive, of course, but with a manual gearbox.

When I bought the car at two years old and with 14,500 miles on the clock, the original Michelin Energy tyres on the rear were down to three millimetres and gave very poor grip, particularly on wet grass, and without a ‘van on the hook. I decided to fit Goodyear Eagle Vector 2 all-season tyres on the rear, and this gave me much better traction, and I’ve not since experienced any difficulty towing my caravan on various surfaces. The Goodyears also lasted for 22,500 miles until they wore down to three millimetres. My current rear-drive tyres are Pirelli Cinturato All Season, with directional tread pattern for increased grip. I use standard Michelin Primacy HP tyres on the front axle, which again are giving better wear mileage.

I decided on purpose to go rear-wheel-drive, as towing with a front-wheel-drive Vauxhall produced plenty of wheel spin when attempting hill starts. I would not hesitate to upgrade to a Mercedes-Benz seven-speed automatic, as it does not upset the fuel economy too much, unlike the earlier five-speed automatic slush box. Cars with this excellent seven-speed automatic box were unfortunately not available as a reasonably priced used purchase in 2012, when I bought my current C-Class.

CRA, Morecambe. (well Morecambe’s near Blackpool, isn’t it?)

Many thanks CRA. I shall forward your helpful comments to Paul Allerton without delay. I shall also file away your respected advice for my future reference. Not being a towing man, I had not really thought too much about the weight transfer in relation to FWD vs RWD, although I am a little surprised that the relatively modest normal caravan nose weight of 70 to 100kg makes that much difference to rear-wheel-drive traction. But then, when I think of the same effect on a front-wheel-drive car, I guess that it can amount to reducing the weight on the front driving wheels by enough to make a difference. If I’m talking nonsense, please come to my rescue CRA, or any other experienced towing experts!


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