While the prospect of living in a motorhome was incomprehensible for many individuals a few years ago, it is now becoming increasingly appealing for many. Even if living in the motorhome is not the main goal, the idea of owing one to explore at one’s will is certainly attractive.
So, if you also have been wondering along the same lines, you may find it useful to know how big a motorhome you can drive on a car licence. We have simplified the UK driving licence terms and the relevant aspect so you can understand them easily.
Date Of Licence Issuance
Simply put, if you want to drive your motorhome on a car licence, there are two factors at play that you need to consider:
The vehicle’s maximum authorised mass
The licence category and date of issuance
The MAM or Maximum Authorised mass is the total car or trailer weight, and it includes the maximum load the vehicle can carry safely on the road. The MAM is also often referred to as the permissible maximum or gross vehicle weight.
Before we get to more details about the weight of the motorhome and the MAM, let’s address the date of issuance of the licence. You can easily check your driving licence date from the Gov.UK website. You will be required to provide your driving licence number, the postcode on the licence, and your national insurance number.
Here is how it works:
Motorhomes On Category C1 And C1E
Category C1 and C1E caters to medium-sized vehicle. In the UK, driving motorhomes usually requires a licence from this category.
A category C1 licence allows you to drive vehicles more than 3500kg but lesser than 7500kg (Maximum Authorised Mass) with a trailer weighing a maximum of 750kg. If you wish to tow a heavier trailer, you need a C1+E entitlement.
If you were issued the driving licence before January 1st, 1997, and have the C1E entitlement, you can drive a combination with a shared weight of 8.25 tonnes. However, if you were issued the licence on or after January 1st, 1997, you can drive a combination of vehicle and trailer, the combined weight of which cannot exceed 12 tonnes (12000kg).
The driving licence clearly shows the categories you can drive. The categories will be listed on the front if you possess the old-style paper licence. If you have the newer licence form, check the back of the card.
Motorhomes On Category B And BE
The category B licence is allotted to regular cars in the UK. The good news is that most modern motorhomes are built with a weight well under 3500kg, so anyone with a full licence is allowed to drive them.
If you passed your test before January 1st, 1997, you could drive a vehicle and trailer, the combined weight of which does not exceed 8.25 tonnes. You can also drive a minibus with a trailer weighing more than 750kg.
Previously if you had passed on or after January 1st, 1997, you were allowed to drive vehicles with 3,500kg MAM with a maximum of 8 passengers and could tow trailers up to 750 kg. However, with a change in the law in 2021, you can tow heavier trailers exceeding 750 kg, given the combined weight of the two does not exceed the 3500kg mark.
Motorhomes On Category C And CE
Category C entitlement allows you to drive a larger motorhome that weighs more than 3500kg.
So, if you have a category B licence and wish to drive a larger motorhome weighing more than 3500kg, you must pass an additional driving test to add category C to your licence. A category C licence is an LGV (Class 2) and an entry-level HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) licence, but it does not get you permission to tow a trailer heavier than 750 kg.
However, if you upgrade your licence to a CE, you now have the HGV (class 1) licence, and you are all set to carry a larger motorhome.
It is thus important to understand that if you currently possess a category B or BE licence, you can carry maximum weight of 3500kg. However, if you want to drive the larger American RV style motorhome that weighs heavier than the MAM of 3500kg, you need to have your current licence upgraded to category C and CE to acquire a class 1 HGV licence.
Can I Drive A Motorhome On A Bus Licence?
Minibus licences are categorised as D1 and D1E. Category D1 allows you to drive vehicles up to 8 metres in length and with maximum of 16 passengers’ seats. You can tow a trailer up to 750 kg. A category D1 vehicle can tow a trailer of up to 750kg, and the combined weight of the bus and the trailer cannot exceed 12,000kg.
Licences for regular buses are catered for under categories D and DE. A category D licence allows you to drive any form of a bus with more than eight passenger seats and tow a trailer up to 750kg MAM. If you wish to have a trailer heavier than 750kg, you need category DE.
So you drive a motorhome on a bus licence you clearly need a certain number of seats within it!