7 Things You Need to Know Right Now about Towing a Recreational Trailer in BC

Trailer and Boat

You’ve got the boat and trailer (or a fifth wheel straight from heaven) and you want to hit the road…

– Wait!

Do you know everything there is to know about travelling on BC’s beautiful highways with a recreational trailer in tow? No?

Here are some helpful points to keep in mind when you head out on the highway with your RV combination.

  • Know how heavy your load is. Most recreational trailers weigh less than 4,600 kg. If your trailer weighs under 4,600 kg (fully loaded), your Class 5 or 7 licence is all you need. If your load is over 4,600 kg fully loaded and you hold a Class 4 or 5 licence, you need to get a house trailer endorsement or hold a different class licence.
  • Understand your vehicle towing requirements. Your vehicle owner’s manual will tell you the maximum weight your vehicle can tow. Do not exceed this amount as it will put you, your trailer and others at risk. Most manufacturers have trailer towing packages including: type of engine, transmission (heavy duty), cooling systems, axles and suspension, power brakes, steering, tires, mirrors, electrical system and more. Make sure your truck is equipped for the trailer you intend to tow. Have more questions? Here’s what the CVSE wants you to know.
  • Know the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the trailer including its load, and how much of that weight is on the hitch, to calculate if the truck is capable of towing the trailer. There is usually a plate or a decal on the trailer indicating the GVWR. This is the manufacturer’s recommended maximum weight of the trailer and its load.

Pre trip inspection

  • Do a pre-trip inspection. You should conduct an inspection of your truck and trailer at least daily and, when travelling, every time you stop. The inspection includes: checking under the hood, checking gauges in the cab, walking around the truck and trailer to check lights, tire pressure and mechanical components, making sure boats and other items on travel trailers are securely buckled down. The final step is to pull ahead slowly and check for brake and steering response. ICBC has compiled a detailed list of things to check in their pre trip inspection document.
  • Realize that speed and weight affect stopping power. Understand what is required of you and your vehicle combination to move and to stop. This includes giving yourself adequate stopping distance and stopping time (at least five seconds between you and vehicle in front of you). As always, inclement weather, construction zones, emergency work, and other unique situations on highways may require you to slow down or even stop with short notice. Be prepared and stay focused.
  • Keep safety in mind at all times. This is a given for all road trips you take but staying safe while travelling with your trailer ensures your journey will end well for everyone. A few things to remember:
    • Passengers are never allowed to travel in the trailer.
    • Propane appliances should be completely closed during travel and equipped with detectors to alert you of a leak.
    • Carry a fire extinguisher on board in case of fire.
    • Make sure water valves are closed, power lines are disconnected and all vents and awnings are completely closed before you take off.
    • Make sure ATVs and boats are properly secured to the trailer.
    • Regular vehicle maintenance is another important part of travelling with or without a recreational trailer; keeping your pride and joy road ready will ensure you have a safe and enjoyable trip.
  • Refresh yourself on the rules of the road. It’s always a good time to refresh your knowledge of BC road signs. Take this practice test.

DefinitionsNow that you know the basics rules of the road for recreational trailers, you are ready to make the move to good times ahead.  If you have a question about your configuration – contact the CVSE directly at CVSEgeneralinquiry@gov.bc.ca

Happy and safe trails to you!

374 comments on “7 Things You Need to Know Right Now about Towing a Recreational Trailer in BC”

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  1. I am looking to do some camping in B.C. next year. Am i able to tow my brothers travel trailer that is registered and insured in B.C., with my truck that is registered and insured in alberta?
    Thanks in advance

    Reply
    • Hi Travis,
      This is courtesy of one of our CVSE Commercial Transport Advisers: “Thank you for your inquiry regarding camping in British Columbia. As long as both vehicles are registered and have valid insurance it is not a concern that one is British Columbia and the other is licenced in Alberta.
      I hope you have an enjoyable camping trip.”

      Reply
    • Hello Travis,

      We asked ICBC about your question and here is their reply:

      You are OK to tow a BC registered trailer in BC with your AB registered truck, as long as it’s for personal use (non-commercial) for up to 6 months (touring/vacation). You should check with AB to ensure they have no concerns but as long as AB is fine with him towing a BC registered trailer, BC has no concerns.

      Hope that this helps!

      Reply
  2. We are planning to bring an 8′ utility trailer into BC to carry our inflatable pontoon boats. This trailer weighs about 600# and I do have a title to it. However, Oregon does not require a license for this trailer and it is not licensed. Will we be allowed to bring it in for a two week trip?

    Thank you, David

    Reply
    • Hello David,

      That sounds like a question for the good folks at the CVSE. We have shared this with them – so stay tuned for a response!

      Reply
    • Hi David,

      While the CVSE has responded to your question directly, we are posting the response here as well in case anyone else has the same question.

      Thank you for your inquiry regarding travel in BC.

      Your trailer, while not required a license in Oregon, does need to have coverage in BC. We do sell a temporary operators permit, but it is from A to B and as I understand you would like to travel around for two weeks? If you are just going to one place you can order a permit by phoning our permit center at 1-800-559-9688.

      I would also recommend contacting your licencing department to see if they could put a binder on your insurance to cover your trailer while out of state.

      I hope you are able to enjoy your holiday with your pontoon boats.

      Hope that this helps!

      Reply
  3. We have just purchased a 4 horse gooseneck trailer (2006 Silverlite). Can anybody tell us if we need to get an inspection done on the trailer before we can insure it to bring it home? We are picking it up on Vancouver Island and bringing it back to Langley. If we so need an inspection first, can we just get an A to B permit without inspection and them have it inspected in Langley?

    Reply
    • Hi Rick,
      The requirement for a trailer inspection depends on usage and trailer weight. The definition in the Commercial Transport Act reads as follows:
      “trailer” includes a vehicle without motive power designed to be drawn by or used in conjunction with a motor vehicle and constructed so that no appreciable part of its weight rests on or is carried by the motor vehicle, but does not include
      (a) a trailer having a gross vehicle weight of less than 1 401 kg that is licensed under the Motor Vehicle Act,
      (b) a trailer that is
      (i) designed, constructed and equipped for human habitation, or
      (ii) designed, constructed and equipped for human occupancy for industrial, professional or commercial purposes, or
      (c) a boat, horse, snowmobile, automobile or motorcycle trailer that is not used for business purposes or financial gain;

      As you will note under subsection (c) “Horse” trailers are note included as part of the commercial trailer definition and thus would not trigger for inspection. Purchasing a Temporary Operating Permit from ICBC is an option which excludes the requirement for inspection anyways and would allow the vehicle to travel from A to B. The cost and whether ICBC will issue it to this specific vehicle is at their discretion as we don’t have all the details about the vehicle.
      Hope this helps.

      Reply
  4. I have heard conflicting opinions on this subject, I would like to ask once again.
    I have a swivel wheel trailer that I use to haul my motorbike behind my fifth wheel, I purchased this so I could travel through the US in the states that will not allow pulling behind a fifth wheel, all states have approved this method of hauling my bike behind the fifth wheel.
    I am planning on going through BC down into the USA, and wanted to know for sure if this is not legal.
    I am leaving within the week, I just need to know if I have to bypass BC on my travels.
    thank you,
    Dale

    http://www.cruiserlift.com/swivelwheel58.htm

    Reply
    • Hi Dale,

      We have sent your question forward to the CVSE and hope to get an answer for you as soon as possible. Stay tuned.

      Reply
    • Hi again Dale,

      Here is the official word:

      These configurations are not allowed in BC, in fact they are prohibited in a number of ways:

      First, Section 7.12 of the Commercial Transport Regulations prohibits the operation of “self steering” axles such as these swivel wheels.

      Second, BC does not allow the operation of three-vehicle RV combinations, as explained in section 5.3.14, Chapter 5, of the Commercial Transport Procedures Manual.

      Third, if one says instead that this is a frame extension on the second vehicle (and therefore it is not a three-vehicle combination), then the fifth wheel trailer would require certification from an approved secondary manufacturer, certifying that the modified vehicle meets Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS). And it would still be equipped with “self steering” axles.

      Sorry it’s not the news you were hoping to hear.

      Reply
  5. I have a truck that is allowed to haul 17100lbs. My proposed trailer a GVWR of 18000lbs. If I maintain an ACTUAL weight on the trailer below my truck limit am I legal? My main concern is what is used to determine if I’m legal. Actual weight or GVWR weight on decals?

    Reply
    • Hello Dennis,

      The answer to your question is “yes”, but there is more to it. There are three kinds of weight limits on trucks and trailers (and their component parts), and you can’t exceed any of the three.

      1. Manufacturers’ ratings: The GVWR is the weight rating, from the manufacturer, stating the maximum weight that that piece of equipment is built to support. Lots of different components have manufacturers’ ratings on them (such as the axles, the tires, the hitch), in addition to the overall rating on each of the two vehicles. A manufacturer may also provide a specific maximum ‘towing capacity’ for a vehicle. None of those ratings can be exceeded.

      2. Licensed weight: In BC, pickup trucks, which have a cargo-carrying body style, must be licensed for at least 1.5 times their empty weight, but the vehicle owner can request that the vehicle be registered for more. Except for tiny utility trailers (under 1400 kg and for non-commercial use), the registered weight on the truck must be high enough to include the weight of the trailer and any load. However, it is pointless to request a registered weight that is higher than the manufacturers’ ratings – see the paragraph above.

      3. Regulation (or permit) weights: Commercial vehicles that are large enough that the limits in the Commercial Transport Regulations apply to them also can’t exceed the maximum weights set out there, on tires, axles, axle units, vehicles and vehicle combinations, unless they are a vehicle/load that is eligible for and travelling under a permit for additional weight.

      We are not sure what you mean when you say your truck is ‘allowed’ to haul 17,100 lbs. You may have already done some of the calculations explained above. In any case, there is no reason you cannot tow a trailer that is rated for more than you need, provided you are within all the other equipment ratings and the insured or registered weight on your truck, and the regulation or permit weights for your vehicle combination, if they apply.

      Hope that this helps!

      Reply
  6. I’ve been told that if you have a tri-axil (6 tires) on your fifth wheel the the vehicle you are using to tow it also needs to have 6 tires, so a dually or something larger would be needed. Is this true? Cause we would like to get rid of the dually but can’t if we need it for moving our fifth wheel.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your question, Vania. We recommend checking your owner’s manual for towing capabilities of your particular vehicle. In this case, if you need a dual single axle on your truck, it would depend on the weight of your trailer, not the fact that it has a tri-axle.

      Reply
  7. I would like to clarify. Can you put a fifth wheel hitch on top of a wooden boxliner if you make sure it is tightened regularly in case the wood compresses? If not, can you install it with tube spacers so it is still metal to metal or do you have to remove the boxliner (or cut around the rails). And is a plug in the truck box mandatory in BC?
    Thank you,
    Erika =)

    Reply
    • Hi Erika,

      We have sent your question forward to the CVSE on your behalf, please stay tuned for more information.

      Reply
    • Hi Erika,
      It is recommended that the hitch be installed and attached to an integral part of the vehicle. Further, the installation of the hitch should be based on the manufactures instructions. Any variance from that, is not recommended. Hope that this helps!

      Reply
      • So if it is on top of the wooden box liner is it legal to tow in BC? And do you need an extra plug in the box or can you plug in over the tailgate to the bumper plug?

        Reply
        • Hi again Erika,
          Because we can’t know for certain that your wooden box liner is an integral part of the vehicle, we can’t say yes to your question in certain terms. We can say that there is no specification required for wiring, only that vehicle lights must function as required. We hope that this helps. Let us know if you have any other questions, or you can connect directly with the good folks at the CVSE here: http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/cvse/contacts.htm Hope that this helps!

          Reply
  8. Not quite on topic but I’m not sure who to ask. I would like to haul a canoe or kayak in the back of my pickup for personal use, not commercial. I know about the red flag being necessary.
    But what length of a canoe or kayak can extend over the end of a pickup with the tail gate down? i.e. pickup bed is 8 feet with tailgate down. What length can extend past that?
    Thanks for your help.

    Reply
    • Here’s the response from the CVSE: The Motor Vehicle Act 4.20 refers to 1.2m beyond the rear deck of the vehicle needing a flag or a light if travelling during darkness. The MVA has adopted the Commercial Transport Regulations which states in section 7.31, appendix B, that you are allowed a 4m rear overhang from the last axle, which is probably a lot more than you need. Hope that this helps!

      Reply
    • Hi Steve,
      Jan Lansing, our Commercial Transport Policy Advisory, has followed up with an email. To summarize, in BC, a fifth wheel coupler is specifically defined in our Commercial Transport Regulations, in this way:
      “fifth wheel coupler” means a device that is mounted on the vehicle chassis and that consists of a skid plate, associated mounting brackets and latching mechanism that couples or connects to a kingpin located on the other vehicle or component; The device pictured at the web link you provided would be considered a ‘ball hitch’, not a ‘fifth wheel’.”

      The next step is the process to have a piece of new technology, such as the one you mention, reviewed for potential acceptance in the province.

      Reply
      • OK. So this hitch is more akin to a gooseneck ball in a truck bed. Where it differs is that it is not on the floor of the bed but, rather, raised on a support structure in order to meet the ball to kingpin conversion block. Are goosenecks legal in some part of the code? The next question is whether a “raised” gooseneck pin meets the regulations.

        p.s. Can you provide a link to the code addressing the hauling of fifth wheels and trailers.
        Thanks.

        Reply
        • Hi Steve,
          The trailer you’re talking about would be considered a ‘pony trailer’ in our regulations, and it is fine to use in BC as long as he does not exceed any of the manufacturers’ ratings on his axles, trailer or hitch, and has appropriate insurance, registration and driver license in his home jurisdiction.

          Our general dimensional limits would apply to this combination, and those maximum dimensions are:
          • 2.6 m wide
          • 4.15 m high
          • 12.5 m long for the trailer, and 20 m long for the trailer and pickup together

          Reply
  9. I have purchased a 29′ toy hauler with a 50 liter factory installed fueling station. I am told we are not allowed to carry gas in this tank on an inland ferry. It must have diesel. I have been told to empty my 50 litres of gas into 2 x 25 liter Gerry cans and put 10 liters of diesel in the tank instead. Can you verify this?

    Reply
  10. I Have An Older Dodge quad cab 4×4 Dually 5 Speed Manual Diesel with Pretty Good Power But I am about to possibly buy A pretty Big Boat with a fifth wheel trailer. Loaded The Trailer is 14.600 lbs with the boat and While I have the Power to pull it i need to know if I am Legal to pull it. Also the boat is 9 foot beam so over 102 inches what kind of permits and sigs will i need to tow it?

    Reply
    • Hi Corey,

      We asked the good folks in the CVSE about this and here is what they had to say: We are not aware of any specific prohibition stating that it is illegal or a violation for having the ball hitch in the vehicle receiver when not towing. Only other regulation that comes to mind, depending on what the enforcement officer is saying, would be Motor Vehicle Act Regulation Division 7 section 11 under the schedule of approval of a motor vehicle, where it states: “No part of a vehicle may have a sharp or ragged edge which could injure persons or objects.” – This would be at the discretion of the officer and would be a far stretch from what the intent was of this statement. Hope that this helps.

      Reply
  11. i have an 18 travel trailer in bc. What type of tires do I need for my trailer?
    Can I use passenger car or light truck tires? Or is it required by law
    To have trailer tires? Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

    Reply
  12. I am having a problem understanding why another small trailer like a car trailer or dolly for example is not allowed behind a fifth wheel. I know it is not legal, but do not understand the logic behind it. This would be the exact same configuration as a B train on a commercial tractor/trailer with another trailer behind. this is a common combination on lumber carriers and I have also seen logs hauled this way. So if you had a commercial vehicle licence and you were within you weight limitations, Why not? I bought my 36 foot Montana in Southern Oregon and I saw several combinations like in Washington.

    Reply
    • Hi Terry,
      Thanks for connecting with us here and sharing your feedback. We have shared it forward with the good folks at the CVSE.

      Reply
    • Hi again Terry,
      We have shared your comment forward with the good folks at the CVSE and they will send you an answer directly to your email.

      Reply
  13. I have a 1993 3/4 ton Chevy truck and it has a bumper hitch which states the maximum trailer weight is 3500lbs and maximum tongue weight is 350lbs. I have recently purchased a 1978 tent trailer which is almost exactly like my neighbours 1980 tent trailer which he ran through a scale when it was loaded and he mentioned that the tent trailer was 1900lbs loaded. My question is are these bumper hitches legal to use to tow my tent trailer. I don’t know what the tongue weight of my tent trailer is but I can lift it off the ground so it cannot be too heavy. Any suggestions or clarification would be greatly appreciated

    Reply
      • Hi Daryn,
        Thanks for connecting with us here. We have just confirmed that the CVSE will send you an answer directly to your email. Hope that this helps!

        Reply
  14. Restoring a 1969 13 foot triple e travel trailer and want to tow with my 2007 canyon. Any foreseeable problems. I cannot find the trailer weight but exoect that it is no more than a boler.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Melodie,

      You can always take your trailer to a weigh scale to confirm your travel trailer weight. Hope that this helps!

      Reply
  15. Indeed, know the weight of your load. You need to be sure your vehicle can handle it. Knowing how the weight is positioned is good too. If you have most of the weight at the back, the back end will swing farther.

    Reply
  16. I have bought a 1995 Chevy Suburban and am planning on going camping in BC this summer (I am an Alberta residence). My question is two-fold:

    1. As per a previous post, I am planning on towing an older 24′ trailer with a GVW of 6500 lbs, but the manufacturer specifies a maximum tow weight of 6000 lbs. I will be weighing the trailer at a commercial scale before embarking to ensure compliance with manufacturer limit, but will the trailer GVW result in non compliance?

    2. I am looking at upgrading drive train to 2005 suburban (engine, transmission, rear differential, brakes) with tow rating of 8200 lbs (same vehicle GVW). Given that I have proof of origin of components, will this allow legal towing at the donor vehicles capacity?

    Reply
  17. I understand that I cannot tow a trailer behind my fifth wheel but what is your definition of “trailer”? Please be very specific.

    Reply
  18. We will be purchasing a 18ft travel trailer this weekend. I know we go to ICBC to register it, do they also provide insurance? If so, does anyone the ballpark of how much this costs? Someone told me that it’s insured under the towing vehicle?
    Thanks for the help.

    Reply
  19. I have a Ford 350 dually registered in Ontario. We plan on cruising acrross Canada, ending in BC for 4 months, which includes the annual inspection date. Does BC have a reciprocal arrangement which would preclude returning to Ontario for inspection?
    Many thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks for connecting with us here. If your vehicle was here (in BC) and required an inspection, the owner of the vehicle would be able to get a BC inspection and it would be valid while operating on highway.

      If Ontario has insurance requirements that the vehicle must have a Ontario inspection, then they should be contacting someone in Ontario because we would not know the specifics.

      Hope this helps. Safe travels and enjoy your trip – sounds like a great one!

      Reply
  20. Hi:

    I have read through all the posts on this blog, and found lot of helpful information.

    I would like to verify one thing.

    We are towing a 31′ trailer with a 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel. The towing capacity of the trailer is 7500 lbs.

    The GVWR of our RV trailer is 7600 lbs, but we never get close to that, it just has a lot of capacity. We usually weigh in around 6500 lbs. Would this setup be legal, or would we automatically get a ticket for having a trailer with a higher GVWR then the tow vehicle is rated for?

    Thanks, and thanks for this great resource.

    Randolph

    Reply
    • Hello Randolph,

      Since your example was so specific, the good folks at the CVSE have replied directly to you. Should you have any other questions or concerns, please let us know!

      Reply
  21. What kind of vehicle is required to tow an RV with a dry weight of 4900 lbs. in BC.Have heard of people being told their vehicle is not sufficient for towing even when GVWR has not been exceeded.Is there a factor for braking capacity or something else that comes into play here?…would appreciate any advice or input on this subject…..thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Harold,

      The good folks with the CVSE have sent your email inbox a bit more information on this. Thanks for connecting with us here.

      Reply
    • Hi Bob,

      MVAR3.b.i.ii states if a trailer is less than 1,400kg and is less than 50% of the licenced vehicle weight of the vehicle by which it is being towed ” no brakes on the trailer are required.

      Hope that this helps!

      Reply
  22. We would like to tow a 45 foot trailer (vintage 1956 ABC Supercoach) from Montana into BC. What do we need to do to accomplish this due to the trailer length?

    Reply
    • Hi Designer Dog,

      Thanks for connecting with us! We have sent your question forward to the CVSE for reply. Stay tuned!

      Reply
  23. Hi
    Question about putting a truck camper on a truck. The length of the box is 6 foot 6 inches with the tailgate down its length is 8 foot 5 inches, is it legal to put on a 9 foot camper on this truck with those dimensions and overhang of the tailgate.

    Reply
      • Hi Dale,

        Here’s the scoop:

        The Motor Vehicle Regulations state that you can have a legal rear overhang of 4m measured from the center of the last axle. At over 1.2m rear overhang from the body of the truck you require a red flag. If you need further help and are close to an inspection facility, it might be helpful to have your truck and camper weighed, as the more rear overhang you have can negatively affect the weight on the rear axle.

        I hope this helps!

        Reply
  24. We camp in a 1968 Boler weighing 1000 lb. fully loaded. It was manufactured without brakes. Our tow vehicle is a 2014 Honda Odyssey. Is this combination legal in BC?

    Reply
    • Hello,
      MVAR3.b.i.ii states if a trailer is less than 1,400kg and is less than 50% of the licenced vehicle weight of the vehicle by which it is being towed ” no brakes on the trailer are required. Hope that this helps and happy travels!

      Reply
    • Hello,

      The Commercial Transport Regulations allow 9,100kg on a dual axle (4 tires) If you have 2 tires on the axle you are only allowed by regulation, 100kg per centimeter of tire width. It would be helpful to weigh both vehicles to determine if you need a dual axle based on the gross weight. I am not certain of the regulations in other provinces. Hope that this helps!

      Reply
  25. I’m considering purchasing a 5th wheel that has a “dry weight” of 11835 lbs. The GVWR is not available until next month as the owner has the trailer in for servicing. My 2500 GMC duramax has a towing capacity of 12,000 lbs according to the owners manual. The pin weight of the trailer of 1950 lbs (taken from spec sheet) is less than my 2500 lb truck capacity so I’m good there I think. If I purchased this 5th wheel and towed it “dry” i.e. all tanks empty, would I be legal in BC? I’m from Alberta. I guess I need to know if I have to use the GVWR of the trailer to see if I’m in compliance. Or perhaps I can get a weigh scale weighing if that’s acceptable.

    Reply
    • Hi Randy,

      The basic weight rule for commercial style vehicles that are smaller than full size commercial vehicles (meaning pickups and trailers) is that you cannot exceed the manufacturers’ ratings on the axles or on the vehicle overall.

      That’s from Section 19.11 of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations. The wording there is that you can’t exceed the manufacturers’ ratings without a permit, but in fact, there is no permit available for weight on those vehicles.

      You will need to know the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the trailer as well, because it cannot be exceeded, whether or not the towing unit has enough room in the towing capacity for it. It is concerning that the dry weight of the trailer you are describing is so close to your towing capacity, as it makes it very likely you would be over as soon as there was any load on the trailer at all.

      Another thing to consider is insurance. You will need to have enough insurance on the truck to include the weight of whatever you are towing, up to the maximum (the manufacturers’ ratings.)

      Finally, because you are coming in from Alberta, and this sounds like a vehicle combination intended for working, you may want to have a look at the information about the non-resident commercial vehicles in section 1.2, Chapter 1 of the Commercial Transport Procedures Manual, especially the sub-section on the Canadian Agreement on Vehicle Registration (CAVR).

      You are very welcome to call our contact with the CVSE (if you still have questions, or would like a hand working with this information.
      Jan Lansing
      Commercial Transport Advisor | Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement
      Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
      Phone: (250) 953-4026 | Fax: (250) 952-0578

      Reply
  26. Hi,

    I am a resident of Washington. I would like to vacation in BC with my truck and fifth wheel Toy Hauler. The truck/RV combination is within prescribed weight limit and is legal in WA state without special permit or Driver’s license endorsement. Will I be allowed to operate in BC while on vacation or is a special permit/endorsement required?

    Reply
    • Hi Mark,

      Just to confirm – your truck and rv combination is within 4,600 kg (as outlined in the blog?) If so, you will not require a special permit to travel on BC highways.

      Reply
    • Hi Jim,

      The maximum legal width allowable on BC highways is 2.6 m. To be clear – when we say ‘maximum legal’, we mean ‘maximum without an oversize permit’. If you wanted to haul something beyond this width, you would be required to get a permit before you travelled. Hope that this helps!

      Reply
    • Hi Aaron,

      Is the truck you are speaking of a tow truck? Or a standard pick up? You might be able to pull someone, who is helping you steer with a winch but a tow truck pulling a vehicle cannot have a passenger occupy the towed vehicle.

      Reply
      • I have a jeep that will run, but a bottom end bearing is broken so I can’t drive it to the shop of my choice, as it doesn’t have enough power.
        Can I pull it with a standard pickup, or do I need to pay for a tow truck? I know in other countries you can do this with a rope between vehicles.

        Reply
  27. Hi I am moving from Saskatchewan to BC this winter and I know winter tires are a must on my truck which I do have but I am renting a 5X8 U-Haul trailer and I was wondering if the trailer needed snow tires or chains on them?

    Reply
    • Hi Megan,

      We spoke with the folks in the CVSE and they told us that the expectation is that the power unit is equipped with winter tires, but the trailer is not specifically required. Thanks for connecting with us here!

      Reply
  28. HI, re trailers, what is the maximum distance from the rear lights to the back of load?
    I realize logging truck loads are well back of the lights and they have a flag.

    Reply
  29. would like to know if there is any regulation concerning trailer hitch length. I have a 10 ft. camper on a 350 hd. would like to tow a 93 tracker behind . the trailer hitch would have to be under the tail gate approx. 20inches. the trailer hitch receiver is commercial grade and could take that length to the hitch ball. any thoughts ..thanks ….Dave. P.S all done for B.C.

    Reply
  30. Can I tow an Alberta licensed and insured trailer with my vehicle registered in BC? In either BC or the rest of Canada? Am I covered in case of an accident on my tow vehicle?

    Reply
      • Is it legal for me to pull a BC travel trailer with a US truck? My father has loaned me his truck, which is registered in the US, to use to pull my BC registered travel trailer on a trip from BC to Michigan. I’ll bring the trailer back home to BC and then the return the truck to my father. I’ve just recently be told I may not be able to do that. Could you shed some light in this? Thanks!

        Reply
        • Hi Abby,
          As long as the trailer and truck have valid licensing in their home jurisdictions, and there is no commercial use at all (strictly touring), there is no vehicle licensing issues for BC. We have full reciprocity with the US for vehicle licensing.

          That said, in BC
          If the trailer weighs:
          • 1401 kg up to 2800 kg it will need functioning:
          o brakes at each axle
          o break-away device
          o safety chains attached to an anchor point on the tow vehicle
          • 2801 kg – 4600 kg
          o All of the above plus
          o Independent braking in the truck
          • 4601kg and over
          o All of the above plus,
          o the driver will need the heavy trailer endorsement (or class 3 minimum) on his/her driver’s license to pull it.
          All axles on the truck and/or trailer weights (regardless of weights above or use) must be not exceed any:
          • axle rating
          • tire capacity
          • hitch rating
          • safety chain rating
          These ratings are on the doorpost of the truck and/or on the devices themselves.

          Reply
  31. A friend of mine has an older boat and trailer which is equipped with hydraulic surge braking system. We replaced all the bearings and seals, brake shoes, master and slave cylinders and machined the brake drums and also replace all the brake fluid.
    He was told by someone else that surge brakes are now illegal and has to change them over to electric over hydraulic.

    The boat fully loaded with fuel, water and everything else that seems to end up in a boat and trailer weighs in at 7300lbs (3300kgs)

    Is the information he was given true and has to convert his trailer to electric over hydraulic?

    Reply
    • Hello again Ian,

      Trailer brake requirements become a requirement at 1,401kgs. Surge brakes are permitted up to 2,800kgs. If the trailer is heavier then 2,800kgs surge brakes are no longer acceptable.

      Hope that this helps~!

      Reply
      • Thank you very much now I have to inform my friend that he has to spend money on a new braking system after doing a complete overhaul on the old!

        Reply
  32. So, the tow vehicle GVWR is applied to the combination of truck and trailer rather than the combined axle ratings? Does this not eliminate many half ton tow vehicles on the road since the GVWR of the half ton is comprised mainly of handling, stopping and acceleration characteristics under loaded conditions for a single vehicle without trailer and can be overcome very readily by a number of modifications including heavier suspension, improved brakes etc? I believe the requirements for any other jurisdiction I have travelled have only been axle ratings and tire ratings, the former not being able to be upgraded at all.

    Reply
    • Hi Mike,

      We asked the folks in the CVSE and here is what they had to say:

      A vehicle GVWR is related to the maximum weight that the vehicle by itself is allowed to have.
      The manufacturer’s Gross Combination Vehicle Weight Rating (GCVWR) is the combined maximum gross vehicle combination weight allowed by the tow vehicle’s OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) for the tow vehicle and trailer as a vehicle combination.

      Half-ton pickups may have a wide range of GCVWRs, depending on the engine size, braking capacity, and Final Reduction Gear Ratio (for traction purpose). Owners of pickup trucks needed to
      inquiry about the GCVWR of their equipment via the truck’s OEM.Aftermarket modifications do not come into consideration on the OEM’s GVWR or GCVWR.

      Reply
      • That’s an interesting response. But here is an interesting snip from that response which is what has me confused:

        “A vehicle GVWR is related to the maximum weight that the vehicle *by itself* is allowed to have.
        The manufacturer’s Gross Combination Vehicle Weight Rating (GCVWR) is the combined maximum gross vehicle combination weight allowed by the tow vehicle’s OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) for the tow vehicle and trailer as a vehicle combination.”

        The reason that is interesting is because by definition, the truck and trailer combo is no longer a vehicle by itself. The tongue weight of a travel trailer applies forces on the receiver, rear of the frame, and rear axle. Each axle is designed to run up to and including it’s GAWR safely, the frame and associated mounting points, even with OEM equipment, are designed to run at full axle load at any given time. Braking, cooling, all of the above. It is truly a strange rating.

        At any rate, I appreciate your reply- it’s unfortunate we are unable to travel to BC because of this. There are many vehicles *without* trailers in tow that exceed the GVWR, so it’s a little confusing.

        Reply
        • Hi again Mike!

          Sorry about the confusion. Here is a response to your response. If you have further questions after this, let us know or you can connect directly with the CVSE (http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/cvse/index.htm)

          The truck OEM’s GVWR and GCVWR ratings are not arbitrary settings: these limits were tested rigorously by the OEM to ensure safety and performance. GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating) is predominantly confined by the axle’s bearing strength and brake’s retardation force. The sum of the GAWR must be lower than the GVWR to account for the total braking capacity (sizing of the air-brakes reservoir, air-brakes line size and brake timing etc.) of the vehicle as a whole. It is against the law to have a truck running with axle weights exceeding the GVWR. We welcome you Mike to visit British Columbia with a compliant and safe vehicle or vehicle combination.

          Reply
          • We are certain to visit Fairmont as we do every year, just a shame we have to leave the trailer behind until the two oldest kids are out on their own in a couple years. I do appreciate you takin the time to clear the confusion up though.

  33. It’s great to read the emphasis on safety. There are way too many people towing travel trailers and 5th wheels that do not understand the inherent dangers and take the task too lightly. I’ve seen fatal accidents involving RVs and it was driver error that caused these accidents. When towing a trailer of any sort you need to check your ego at the door and error on the side of safety.

    Reply
  34. I would like to attach a swivel wheel tote to the back of my 5th wheel rv trailer, it is attached on 2 points on the bumper and has a single swivel wheel. Is this permissible in BC.

    Reply
    • Hi Ron,

      Under the Commercial Transport Act Regulations 7.18, three vehicle combinations are very restricted. I have been told that the arrangement you are talking about would likely fall under 7.18 (1) (b) — a combined weight under 11,000kg. This would not be legal in BC.

      Here is an excerpt from the legislation (http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/30_78):

      Three-vehicle combination
      7.18 (1) A person must not drive or operate on a highway a 3-vehicle combination of vehicles
      (a) consisting, in part, of a semi-trailer and pony trailer, or
      (b) having a gross combined weight less than 11 000 kg.
      (2) Despite subsection (1), a person may, without a permit, drive or operate on a highway a 3-vehicle combination of vehicles if the combination consists of
      (a) motor vehicle,
      (b) a towing dolly, and
      (c) a licensed motor vehicle, one axle of which is carried by the towing dolly.
      (3) A person must not, without a permit, drive or operate a 3-vehicle combination consisting of a truck and 2 trailers, or a logging truck combination that includes 2-pole trailers.
      [en. B.C. Reg. 95/2006, s. 3.]

      If you want to confirm that this applies to your situation, or gain greater clarity, here is a link to the inspection stations contact numbers: http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/cvse/inspection_stations.htm (You may want to be equipped with a photo of the setup you are considering).

      Reply
  35. I’m thinking of getting one of those new dodge ram 1500 Ecodiesels. Towing capacity is 9,200 pounds and I wanted to tow an Arctic Fox (7500 pounds) through the Rocky Mountains. I’m worried about not having enough power in the higher elevations with the little 3.0L, although I have not read anywhere on the internet that these trucks are not enough… but at the same time, it’s the Rockies so I’m a bit worried.

    Reply
      • Hi Jason, in regards to the three-vehicle combination (truck + Arctic Fox trailer and small seadoo), this combination of three vehicles is prohibited in B.C. under the Commercial Transport Regulations 7.18 Three-vehicle combination. Info here: http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/30_78#section7.18

        As far as the Dodge towing vehicle, the stated manufacturer’s towing capacity of 9,200 pounds exceeds the stated weight of the Arctic Fox trailer and therefore the truck would have sufficient power to tow the trailer in the Rocky Mountains.

        Reply
          • Hi Jason. Unfortunately, this still falls under a three-vehicle combination as mentioned in the regulations.

  36. Hi Terry,
    When determining if my rv trailer does not exceed the weight limits for my truck/trailer combination, do I use the actual weight of the units as measured at a weigh scale, or the manufacturer’s GVWR and GCWR? ie, my truck weighs 6000 lb and the trailer 7500 lb. The total of 13500 lb is under the GCWR of 15,000 lb. However the GVWR of the truck is 8200 lb and the GVWR of the trailer is 8400 lb for a total of 16,600 lb which is over the 15,000 lb GCWR.

    Reply
    • Hi Don,
      You will need to use the actual measured weight (from a weigh scale) and then compare that to the manufacturers gross vehicle weight rating (gvwr). If the actual weight is under the gvwr and gcwr then you should be good to go.

      Reply
  37. We are purchasing a 5th wheel and are installing a fifth wheel hitch. We were told that the wiring box needed to be mounted inside the box instead of plugging it in where the wiring is originally below the tailgate?

    Reply
    • Hi Terry,

      We have sent your query on to the great folks in the CVSE, we will reply back here when they have an answer for you.

      Reply
    • Hi Terry,

      Motor Vehicle Act Regulation (MVAR) does not prescribe where and how the mounting of the wiring box is, MVAR Division 4 – Lamps – specifies the appropriate lighting devices and how they must function. Hope that this helps. Thanks for connecting with us here!

      Reply
    • Hello again Angie,

      We spoke to the folks in the CVSE and they informed us that no, a fifth wheel hitch cannot be installed on wood. Any vehicle hitch must be attached directly to structurally adequate frame components and must be installed in compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

      Hope that this helps clarify it for you.

      Reply
  38. Hello I’m from Alberta. A friend told me that my half ton pickup cannot tow my 28ft travel trailer into BC even though my vehicle is well within its limits just because the trailer is too long. I’ve had it weighed and am well under the vehicles limits for all weights. Is this true? This length limitation is something I’ve never heard of and is disappointing since I did alot of research before buying this combination tow vehicle and trailer.

    Reply
  39. Have a 69 sportcraft tent trailer.. only came with tail lights… do I need to add side reflectors or marker lights before traveling to bc?

    Reply
  40. I understand a heavy trailer endorsement is needed on a BC class 5 license to tow a holiday trailer in excess of 10,000 lbs. How does this apply to out of province drivers? Is this just an ICBC thing or is it BC gov regulation? If so, what is required by an Alberta driver visiting BC with a holdiday trailer > 10K?

    Reply
    • Hi John,

      We sent your question to the good folks in the Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement department and here is what they had to say:

      “A visitor from out of province that is here for pleasure use can operate in BC with their vehicle combinations legally as long as they are licensed appropriately in their home jurisdiction. Basically, if John’s DL is legal in Alberta for his truck and travel trailer then he is ok to operate here while on vacation. Reciprocity is granted.”
      Hope that this helps, if you have any other questions, let us know or send an email to the CVSE at: http://www.cvse.ca/contacts.htm

      Reply
      • I just want to be sure we are legal for our upcoming BC visit as I am with Law Enforcement. In your Feb 12, 2014 response to John you indicated that there is reciprocity for out of province visitors. We are legal to tow in Colorado and have a 2012 Ram 2500 diesel with a GCWR of 22000 lbs., a curb weight of 7711 lbs., and a 39′ trailer with a GVWR OF 10500 lbs. The trailer weight slightly exceeds the provincial regulations of 4600 kgs. Does reciprocity apply to US visitors?

        Reply
        • Hi Bill,
          The restriction that occurs at 4600 kg trailing weight in BC is on the driver’s license. We’ve consulted with the Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) and they confirmed that if you are properly licensed in your home jurisdiction for the vehicle combination that you’re operating, then you are good to drive in BC.

          By the way, ICBC publishes a great guide that’s full of safety tips and useful information for towing recreational vehicles. If you’re interested in having a look, you’ll find that guide here: http://www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/types-licences/Pages/Towing-a-recreational-trailer.aspx

          Reply
  41. I will be trailering a boat that weighs more than 4600 kg. Do I need a heavy trailer endorsement or would a house trailer endorsement suffice?

    Reply
  42. Being a long haul driver of 25 years..

    I always see these rv’s pulling trailers etc.. and they always have a flat tire.. CHECK YOUR TIRES!!!

    Reply
    • Hi Margaret,
      Sorry, this configuration isn’t legal in BC. Straight from our Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement branch, this could post significant operating concerns and therefore not legal. No permitting is available for this either. For more info, check the Commercial Transport Procedures Manual under 5.4 Recreational Vehicle Combinations. Reference: http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/cvse/ctpm/Chapter_5.pdf
      Thanks for the question.

      Reply