Can a Mercedes c class tow a caravan?


This article will give information regarding towing capacities of the Mercedes Benz C Class model series. And answer the question, can a Mercedes Benz C class tow a caravan?. This article will also explain driver assistance systems available while towing and the process involved in attaching a trailer to a vehicle.

Can a Mercedes C class tow a caravan?

Yes, the Mercedes Benz C class can easily tow a 2 to 4 berth caravan weighing up to 1300 Kg and a larger caravan up to 1800 Kg with reduced speeds (less than 100 km per hour). The only exceptions to this are the AMG models Mercedes Benz C 63. Towing on AMG models is not recommended and doing so will void the warranty.

Let’s take a look at the following table of trailer loads for braked trailers.

Braked trailers have an independent mechanical braking system that applies brakes to the trailer through linkage connected to the trailer hitch mechanism and does not rely on braking force from the vehicle.  Thus Braked trailer loads are always higher compared to unbraked trailers.

The towing loads also depend upon the minimum initial incline climbing ability of the vehicle, in this case, it’s 12%. The C class has 4MAtic only on AMG and AMG line models which are not recommended for towing a caravan.

The following tables show unbraked trailer loads

Unbraked permissible trailer loads are lower compared to braked trailers as they must be slowed down with the braking force provided by the vehicle. If unbraked trailer loads are higher than the gross weight of the vehicle, there won’t be sufficient brake force available to stop and this will lead to accidents.

The C class model series offers a maximum braked towing capacity of only 1800kg and for unbraked trailers, it is 750kg. The permissible trailer loads also depend on the combined weight of occupants and cargo in the vehicle. There should be a safety buffer while towing a caravan, to avoid towing at the maximum limit.

Important weight terms to remember before attaching the tailor.

  • Gross weight – Total weight of the vehicle with the weight of occupants and cargo in the vehicle. The permissible gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is usually available on the Vehicle identification plate located on the B-pillar of the vehicle. The actual gross weight must not exceed this rating.
  • Nose weight of trailer- The nose weight of the trailer is the total weight at the coupling head connected to the tow ball of the towing vehicle. This nose weight naturally affects the gross weight of the vehicle. The nose weight is between 10 to 15 % of the weight of the trailer and its loads. This is also known as maximum drawbar load.
  • MRO- mass in running order indicates the average weight of an unloaded caravan. Refer to manufacturing details before towing the caravan.
  • MTPLM- maximum technically permissible laden mass this is the total weight the caravan is rated for, generally the maximum weight of the loaded caravan.
  • Towing capacity- it is the maximum weight the vehicle can tow minus the gross weight of the vehicle. The higher gross weight reduces the towing capacity and affects the weight distribution.

Connecting a Trailer to the Mercedes Benz C class.

If the vehicle is fitted with a trailer hitch mechanism from the factory, it is usually electrically operated from a switch in the load compartment. Pressing the switch will lower the towing ball of the trailer hitch. Mechanical levers can also be used to lower the towing ball. The trailer load must be entered in Vehicle documents; some countries can require a special license to tow a caravan.

The ball neck must be pulled and locked into towing position, if the ball is damaged due to an accident it must be replaced, and the condition of the ball neck must be checked before attaching the trailer to the vehicle.

  • The vehicle transmission should be in P (parked) gear.
  • The electrical parking brake must be engaged to prevent the vehicle from rolling.
  • The trailer must be positioned behind the vehicle in a straight line before connecting the trailer.
  • The nose load of the trailer affects the position of coupling on the trailer; a trailer with height-adjustable drawbars helps to connect with the towing ball more easily.
  • Lastly, connect the electrical coupler for the lights to the vehicle.

C class is equipped with a trailer recognition control unit that controls the lighting system on the trailer.  The vehicle trailer socket is factory fitted with a permanent power supply. 

If the vehicle is travelling downhill with the trailer attached, selecting lower gear will use the engine braking effect on the automatic transmission. This reduces the load on the vehicle braking system, especially in the case of unbraked trailers and prevents brake fade due to overheating.

Engine and gearbox in the New Class model series.

The Mercedes Benz C class comes with inline 4, V6 and V8 engine configurations. Engines in petrol variants are M274, M264, M276 and AMG M177. The petrol engine produces power between 115kW till 225kW and AMG produces up to 375kW. M274 is replaced by the M264 engine, M264 is also available with a 48V belt-driven starter and alternator. 

Diesel variants use OM 654 with an AdBlue injection system for exhaust after-treatment producing a maximum power output of 140kW and 400NM torque.  Diesel engine with its superior torque and the all-wheel-drive system naturally has the highest towing capacity in all available variants. 

The Mercedes Benz C class has a 9-speed automatic transmission 725 mated to both petrol and diesel engines. Only the AMG line model has a transfer case to facilitate all-wheel drive.

Driver assistance systems available while towing in a Mercedes Benz C class

  • ESP trailer stabilization- ESP control unit monitors vehicle wheel speeds by wheel speed sensors and steering inputs with the help of a steering angle sensor. If the vehicle with the trailer starts to swerve, the ESP control unit will intervene by reducing engine power and braking at individual wheels to stabilize the vehicle. This is only active from 65km/h.
  • Crosswind assistance- While towing a caravan, the vehicle behaves differently. A strong crosswind can push a vehicle off the straight line and into a divider or oncoming traffic. Crosswind assistance integrated into the ESP control unit helps in keeping the vehicle in a straight line. The ESP control unit can brake individual wheels depending on the direction of wind hitting the vehicle. This function is active from 80km/h.

Other articles about Mercedes Benz you may be interested in

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Can a Mercedes E class tow a caravan?

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The Mercedes Benz C class has a towing capacity of 1800kg with a braked trailer, it will tow most caravans over long distances. AMG variants of the C class model series do not come with a trailer hitch and installing any aftermarket towing mechanism will void the warranty. 

FAQs: can a Mercedes GLA tow a caravan?

Can you fit a towbar to a Mercedes Benz C Class?

A towbar can be installed to the towing eye provided with the vehicle. But towing a trailer is not suitable for this method. A proper trailer hitch mechanism with a tow ball must be used to tow a trailer.

Which Mercedes can tow a caravan?

Mercedes Benz models can be retrofitted with a trailer hitch. Visit the nearest dealership to check if retro fitment for your Mercedes is available. AMG model services are not recommended to tow a caravan.

Does adding trailer hitch void warranty?

If the trailer hitch is available for the model and installed by authorized personnel at the dealership then the warranty is not void. Installing an aftermarket trailer hitch with modification to the rear bumper can lead to damages to the vehicle and void the warranty.

Is the Mercedes Benz C class worth buying?

The Mercedes Benz C Class is a great family sedan that can carry 5 occupants easily. The C class also comes in a soft-top convertible coupe. A wide variety of engine options is also available to satisfy customers.