Join Date: Mar 2008
My Motorhome: A Caravan of all things !!
Thanked 484 Times in 408 Posts
This subject raises its head every so often.
Sadly it's NOT at all simple to answer.
I would suggest you do a LOT of research before deciding.
I would make the following observations.
A trailer is 100% fully legal throughout Europe.
An "A" frame is not so clear cut so the chances of you getting fined for using one are higher (especially in Spain) should you choose to use one. Many will say they have used an A frame for years and have never been stopped. That does not mean what they are doing is within the law.
With a trailer you can change Smart cars with no issues, with an A frame any replacement car will need to be modified.
An A frame is FAR easier to store.
My personal view, from the best part of 30 years of enforcing road traffic law is that A frames are (technically) not legal. I also fully accept that others, with to be fair less in depth legal knowledge, will disagree, that's their choice. The main problem concerns the requirement to be able to reverse the whole rig with the trailer (smart car on A frame is, in law, a trailer) WITHOUT the trailer brakes operating. That's what happens on all caravans, car tranorter trailers etc BUT that CANNOT happen with your smart car because the entire brake system was never designed to do that.
So as I said, do your research first. Find out the FACTS don't rely on "My brothers mate has used one for years and has never been stopped" argument.
Ask yourself why every single braked trailer can be reversed without the brakes operating if it's not a legal requirement.
Others will be along shortly with all sorts of arguments as to why I am wrong, A frame manufacturers will tell you "Their" system is legal. Ask them to give you a written undertaking to pay any fine if you get one and see what response you get, then make your decision, if they are legal the makers will be happy to give such an undertaking. Won't they??
I towed a Smart car and trailer for years. I would much rather have used an A frame because I think it's a better system but didn't use one because of the questionable legality.
So as I said at the start, it's not a clear cut issue.
If you decide to go down the trailer route be sure you have enough train weight capacity. Auto trails tend to have low max trailer weights. I ran a Cheyenne 696g and. smart car and trailer was right on the max permissible towing limit at 1040kg (limit was 1050 kg)
Its not the destination that matters.
It's who you share the journey with (even if like me, itís in a caravan!)
I am very fortunate to have Mrs Plodd to share mine with
Last edited by Mrplodd; 25-05-2015 at 08:55.
Reason: Added details about Autotrail trailer weigh limits