My Isuzu

Your guide to towing

With its new lighter engine capable of delivering 164PS and 360Nm of torque, and with a capacity of up to 3.5 tonnes, your Isuzu D-Max is perfect for towing. Especially if you have an Isuzu-approved towbar fitted by your Isuzu dealer. It’s not, though, as simple as attaching a trailer to your towbar and heading off. To make sure that you’re getting the best out of your tow, keeping to the regulations and within the law, here are the answers to some of the questions we get asked on a regular basis. And we’ve also included some practical advice to help you tow.


Whatever load you’re towing, there are some basic steps to follow to ensure that you’re towing safely and efficiently.


As far as practically possible, distribute the weight of your load evenly over the entire trailer.

Avoid overloading to one side or towards the front or nose.

Most trailers come with a ‘Recommended nose weight’, which you should follow.


Your load must NOT go outside of the space defined by the edges of your trailer, as this can be very dangerous to other road users and pedestrians.

It can also can endanger you and any passengers by effecting the stability of both your vehicle and trailer.

Towing a load that sticks out beyond the edges of your trailer is not only dangerous but illegal.


Towing a trailer changes the speed limits you can drive at.

  • Built-up areas: 30mph
  • Single carriageways: 50mph
  • Dual carriageways and motorways: 60mph

The individual and combined weight of your vehicle, your trailer and your load: the relationship between them can mean the difference between safe and illegal towing.

What is GVW?

GVW – Gross Vehicle Weight – is the maximum total weight your vehicle is designed to carry (load and passengers).

GVW is sometimes referred to as MAM – Maximum Authorised Mass – or MPW – Maximum Permissible Weight.

What is the GVW of an Isuzu D-Max?

It depends on the drive of your vehicle:

  • 4x4: 3,050kg
  • 4x2: 3,000kg

What is GTW?

GTW – Gross Train Weight – is the weight of your fully loaded vehicle plus a fully loaded trailer.

Your VIN plate or sticker, which is generally under the bonnet or inside the driver’s door, may show your GTW.

GTW may also be referred to as GCW – Gross Combined Weight.

What is the GTW of an Isuzu D-Max?

All Isuzu D-Max models have a GTW of 6,000kg

What can I actually tow with my Isuzu?

The calculation is simple:

  • The total GTW minus the GVW (assuming it's fully laden) which gives you the towing capacity

For example, a GTW of 6,000kg minus a GVW of 3,050kg gives you a towing capacity of 2,950kg

This final figure will be influenced by the weight of your trailer: the heaver it is, the less weight you can carry.


What you can tow, where you can tow and how long you can tow are all subject to having the right licence and, in some cases, the right in-cab equipment.

Can I tow with a standard licence?

In most cases, it’s not a problem – but there are some situations where are an operator licence may be required.

When do I need an operator’s licence?

If you’re thinking of using a vehicle to carry goods on a public highway for trade or business purposes with a GVW in excess of 3,500kg, you need an operator’s licence.

In the case of an Isuzu D-Max, with a maximum GVW of 3,500kg, and provided the unladen weight of your trailer is less than 1,020kg and you’re only towing goods, then you only need a standard licence.

What if I’m towing in Europe?

If you’re vehicle needs a tachograph (see below) to operate in the UK, then you must have an operator’s licence before you tow anything in Europe.

Does when my licence was issued affect my towing?

It does indeed – and here’s how:

Licences issued from 19th January 2013

If you’ve passed a Category B (car and small vehicle) driving test from this date, you can tow:

  • Small trailers weighing no more than 750kg
  • Trailer weighing more than 750kg, where the combined weight of the towing vehicle and trailer isn’t more than 3,500kg

If you want to tow a trailer weighing more than 750kg, when the combined weight of the towing vehicle and trailer is more than 3,500kg, you’ll have to pass a further driving test to get B+E entitlement on your licence. When you have, you’ll then be permitted to tow trailers up to 3,500kg.

Licences held from 1st January 1997

If you passed your driving test after 1st January 1997 and hold an ordinary category B (car) licence, you can drive either:

  • A vehicle up to 3,500kg Maximum Authorised Mass (its GVW), towing a trailer of up to 750kg MAM (with a total combined weight of up to 4,250kg)
  • A trailer over 750kg MAM as long as it’s no more than the unladen or ‘kerb’ weight of the towing vehicle (with a combined total weight of up to 3,500kg:

For anything heavier, you need to have taken and passed a B+E driving test.

Licences held before 1st January 1997

If you passed your car driving test before 1st January 1997, you are generally entitled to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to an MAM of 8.25 tonnes.

This is the weight of a vehicle or trailer including the maximum load that can be carried safely when it’s in use on a public highway.

You are also entitled to drive a minibus with a trailer with an MAM over 750kg.

What difference does the braking of my trailer make?

Braked or unbraked, your type of trailer dictates the towing restrictions you face.

The maximum gross weight for an unbraked trailer is 750kg or half of the towing vehicle’s kerb weight – whichever is less.

If it’s a braked trailer, the usual maximum gross weight is 3,500kg.

Additionally, both types of trailers have to be clearly marked with their maximum gross weight in kilograms.

All unbraked trailers made after 1997 are required to display their year of manufacture.


It’s a commonly held belief that tachographs are only required in larger commercial vehicles. While true, there are times when they need to be fitted to 4x4 vehicles such as the Isuzu D-Max.

Discover whether you need one in yours

Why would I need to have a tachograph fitted?

The biggest factor is what you’re using your vehicle for. You will need one if:

You’re using it for:

  • Hire or reward
  • Commercial carriage of goods

Your maximum Gross Train Weight (GTW) is:

  • 6,000kg (If the combined maximum weight of the vehicle is over 3,500kg, an exemption may apply)

Then you are required to have a tachograph in your vehicle.

If you’re using your Isuzu D-Max to tow for hire or reward or the commercial transportation of goods and if its maximum weight plus that of the trailer is over 3,500kg, you need to check with VOSA whether you need a tachograph or not.

To discover whether you qualify for an exemption – contact VOSA

What are the most common tachograph exemptions?

Two of the most common exemptions are:

  • If you use your vehicle for agricultural, horticultural or forestry undertakings as part of entrepreneurial activity to carry goods within a 100km radius of your base
  • If your vehicle is used by or on behalf of a relevant NHS body to transport organs, medical supplies or equipment

To discover whether you qualify for an exemption – contact VOSA


If your vehicle needs to have a tachograph installed, it’s important that you’re aware of the regulations relating to driver’s hours.

What rules apply?

This depends on where you are driving, as different rules apply when driving in Europe as to when driving in the UK.

They will vary depending on the type of vehicle you’re driving, and the type of driving you’re doing and, in the case of European driving, the country or countries you might be visiting.

For comprehensive guidance, visit the VOSA website

What if I’m towing in the UK?

If your vehicle has a tachograph installed then the following rules apply:

You must not drive for more than 10 hours in a day:

  • on a public road
  • off-road if not during duty time

Off-road driving counts as duty time if it’s for:

  • agriculture
  • quarrying
  • forestry
  • building work
  • civil engineering

You must not be on duty for more than 11 hours in any working day. This limit doesn’t apply on any working day when you don’t drive.

If not on a tachograph, you must record your hours on a weekly record sheet.

Be aware that different rules apply in Northern Ireland – for further information relating to driver’s hours, visit the VOSA website.

What if I’m towing in Europe?

Under EU rules, the maximum daily driving time is 9 hours.

And after driving for 4.5 hours, the driver must take an uninterrupted break of at least 45 minutes.

Alternatively, a full 45 minute break can be replaced by one break for at least 15 minutes, followed by another break of at least 30 minutes. These breaks must be distributed over the 4.5 hour period.

Be aware that EU rules only allow for a split-break pattern when the second break period is shown as being at least 30 minutes long.

To find out more about towing, tachographs, driver hours and towing advice, contact your nearest Isuzu dealer