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Tesla Model 3 UK Manual Towbar Accessory Limit of 55Kgs

gidster99

Member
Feb 24, 2020
64
63
London
I am not sure if anyone can help me ... I need to find out when the UK Manual added the tow bar limit of 55Kgs for accessories. I am not sure how I can establish this given that the manual is online.

In particular, I am trying to find out if this limit was already in the manual prior to January 27th 2020 (being my order date). Maybe someone downloaded a copy of the manual for reference prior to that date and can check to see if this limit was mentioned even then? Maybe it is mentioned in some release notes?

I am asking because when I ordered the factory fitted towbar, the only thing I was told was a 910Kg limit... I now realise that this is a limit for towing a trailer or something with wheels, and not a limit for something simply supported on the tow bar like a bike rack which Tesla considers an accessory. I feel somewhat upset as I had spoken about bike racks in this same 910Kg conversation, and noone pointed out there was this lower 55Kg limit.

The issue with 55Kgs is I do not think I can get all four of our bikes on a rack within that weight.

And I am thinking if this limit was only added to the online manual after Jan-2020, then I can at least try and speak to Tesla to see if there is anything they can do for me.

Thanks for your help!
 

Medved_77

TM3 SR+ | MSM+Black | No FSD
Jan 20, 2020
1,954
1,921
Scotland
The date may be borderline but for release 2020.4 the tow limit was 55kg.

That document was published on 27 Jan 2020.

Let me know if you want the link to the manual.
 

VanillaAir_UK

Supporting Member
Jun 17, 2019
7,327
4,823
Surrey, UK
It was in the manual since the at least the 2019.36.1 release. Sorry.

Worth noting that tow hitch was only mentioned in Eur version of manual, ie the version relevant to UK. Your account links to the less relevant NA version.

There was a long period between the manual for first UK Model 3's (2019.16?) and subsequent one (2019.36.x?). First one, no weight bike accessory limit was mentioned, I think it came in with the second version which has been more regularly updated. A bit of history, tow hitch was not released until after the Model 3 went on sale in the UK so early manual was very limited on info - just mentioning tow and tongue weight.

You can probably see the whole history in the early pages of the tow hitch waiting room thread. It was first hinted at here Tow Hitch Waiting Room and will be confirmed further through the thread. That will probably give pretty much the exact date it became official spec. [edit]Here you go, 15th Nov 2019. -> Tow Hitch Waiting Room

upload_2020-5-27_19-53-10.png
 
Last edited:

gidster99

Member
Feb 24, 2020
64
63
London
Nose weight, 4 bikes around 10kg and frame 20kg, I wouldn't worry about 5 kg overweight

Unfortunately our bikes are a bit heavier than 10 Kgs each. But as the towbar itself is rated to 100 Kgs, I am not worried about the tow-bar handling the load (as I think we would find it hard to go much above 65 Kgs even with all 4 bikes on, so well within the towbar limits)

I just can't seem to find any information to tell me whether it is legal to drive with accessories that fall well within specifications of the tow bar Type Approved plate S-value (of 100Kgs) but over the car manual 55 Kgs.

If it was legal to do so, then I would be very prepared to go over Tesla's limit as I spoke to a towbar fitting company and they said that the Tesla towbars are fitted very well, and are very solid indeed.

But I just cannot seem to find anything explaining what the law says in this regard.

I have found (actually with help from @VanillaAir_UK) guidance that points to only using the lowest of the trailer limit (not applicable for me), towbar limit (100Kgs) and the car limit (55Kgs per the manual). But I do not know if it is actually illegal to go over the car limit (but beneath the towbar limit), or if I could choose to do so.

I would, of course, be putting the bikes on very securely and driving very cautiously. But I would only want to do so if it were legal. And I really haven't been able to find any guidance telling me the law !
 

UrbanSplash

Member
Nov 10, 2019
356
141
UK
I too have been considering the accessory limit of 55kg. Including the rack itself it’s tight for a family worth of bikes to the point of pretty useless.

I personally would never exceed the stated limit in the manual.
 

gangzoom

Active Member
May 22, 2014
1,208
1,022
Uk
And I am thinking if this limit was only added to the online manual after Jan-2020, then I can at least try and speak to Tesla to see if there is anything they can do for me.

Our X has the same 55kg nose weight limit so it seems unlikely Tesla will up the limit.

Our 3 family bikes comes in at 41kg (including 3kg battery for my eBike), so still fine as our bike carrier is only about 5kg.

4 bikes would need a bigger carrier so heavier, 4 road bikes would be under 40kgs anyways so would be fine but eBikes + kids bikes are so heavy they will be way over the limit.

I only have a 2 bike carrier so my daughters bike is going in the boot of the X, does a small kids bike fit in the boot of a 3? Or get roof bars as well?

If you must carry alot of bikes roof bars seem a better option, though 8 Pinarello Dogma probably weigh about the same as 4 normal family bike, I would still worry about having £80k+ worth of stuff on the roof though:).

Jaguar_XF_-_Team_Sky_-_Tour_de_France_2015_-_Haastrecht_-_Zuid-Holland_-_Pays-Bas_%2818818348044%29.jpg
 

gidster99

Member
Feb 24, 2020
64
63
London
Yes, the lightest wheel supported 4 bike carrier I've found for the tow bar is 14.5 Kg.

There do seem to be some hang on types that are lighter (10 Kg) which then maybe becomes doable (though i think I would need to change one or two of my bikes to lighter ones which becomes very expensive)

But I still want to know the fundamental question of legality: the tow bar itself is rated for 100 Kgs, so is driving above 55 Kgs but (well) below 100 legal or not?

Are there no tow bar road lawyers out there who can weigh in? (excuse the pun!)
 

KendoNagasaki

Member
Oct 30, 2019
65
33
Edinburgh
Yes, the lightest wheel supported 4 bike carrier I've found for the tow bar is 14.5 Kg.

There do seem to be some hang on types that are lighter (10 Kg) which then maybe becomes doable (though i think I would need to change one or two of my bikes to lighter ones which becomes very expensive)

But I still want to know the fundamental question of legality: the tow bar itself is rated for 100 Kgs, so is driving above 55 Kgs but (well) below 100 legal or not?

Are there no tow bar road lawyers out there who can weigh in? (excuse the pun!)

I’m in the same position - 2 adult bikes and two rapidly growing child bikes. Was resigned to buying a three bike rack and the roof bars for when we are four.

I hadn’t realised the tow hitch had a 100kg rating. Reading the manual again, the value on the Certificate of Conformance takes precedence, then the tow hitch label, then the 55kg in the manual.
Does anyone have a link to the certificate of conformance specific to the tow hitch?
 

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Neilman

Member
Mar 27, 2020
256
152
Southampton, UK
My understanding of the rating for the towball/arm part itself could, for instance, be easily rated for up to one tonne but its the part of the car chassis that the towball is fitted to that determines the final safe maximum load.
When overloaded above the car spec but less than the towball/arm spec, the towball/arm itself might not bend but the M3 chassis might bend or shear and then render the whole towball system as unsafe for further use.
 

KendoNagasaki

Member
Oct 30, 2019
65
33
Edinburgh
I’ve searched back through my emails but can’t see Tesla having sent me the Certificate of Conformity - I suspect because I’ve leased rather than bought.

I’ve asked my lease co if they have it. If they do and it states 100kg (or is silent on this) I’m going to ask my insurance company for their position. Fingers crossed and I’ll keep you posted.
 

gidster99

Member
Feb 24, 2020
64
63
London
I’m in the same position - 2 adult bikes and two rapidly growing child bikes. Was resigned to buying a three bike rack and the roof bars for when we are four.

I hadn’t realised the tow hitch had a 100kg rating. Reading the manual again, the value on the Certificate of Conformance takes precedence, then the tow hitch label, then the 55kg in the manual.
Does anyone have a link to the certificate of conformance specific to the tow hitch?

That is an excellent spot - can't believe I missed it! And it definitely indicates that the Certificate of Conformity and the Tow Hitch label take precedence over the Manual.

I (well my company) bought the Tesla outright, and yet I also do not seem to have been given a Certificate of Conformity - so it would be very interesting to see what one of them says. But the fact that the Hitch itself gives us an S-Value of 100Kgs gives me hope that we can carry the four bikes on an accessory rack... My reasoning is simple: if the Manual itself tells you that the Manual's figures are overriden by these other things, then the 55Kg figure in the manual becomes an irrelevance! (So I am not sure why they would have this figure in the Manual in the first place?!?)

I am also not clear that (were the Certificate of Conformity to mention a figure different to 100 Kgs) that it would matter... Grammatically it seems to me that, by using commas and an "or" statement in the Manual if any one of these would be more than 55Kgs we could use it. Although it would possibly get a bit murkier if the Certificate had a lower value than the 100 Kgs on the tow hitch label.

As you say, if anyone has their Certificate of Conformity it would be great if you could share what it says regarding the nose weight limits.
 

VanillaAir_UK

Supporting Member
Jun 17, 2019
7,327
4,823
Surrey, UK
But the fact that the Hitch itself gives us an S-Value of 100Kgs gives me hope that we can carry the four bikes on an accessory rack... My reasoning is simple: if the Manual itself tells you that the Manual's figures are overriden by these other things, then the 55Kg figure in the manual becomes an irrelevance! (So I am not sure why they would have this figure in the Manual in the first place?!?)

I think the issue is that a 55kg weight of rack and bikes will give a vertical load on the hitch that if measured, would be > 55kg. The exact amount would be down to loading and centre of gravity. My understanding is that, when loaded reasonably, a 55kg load probably will not exceed the tongue/nose limit.

ie 55kg at 0.5m from hitch has a turning moment on the hitch greater than a 55kg load balanced directly on the hitch and this needs to be taken into account when calculating the overall nose/tongue weight.

Its been a very long time since I did physics, but I think you need to sum all the vertical forces, ie the weight and the turning moment. So 55kg worth of bikes and accessories with a centre of gravity at 0.5m, would give a total nose/tongue weight of 55 + (55 * 0.5) = 82.5kg. If that centre of gravity was more than 0.82m, then you have bust your 100kg nose weight limit and if you go by the 91kg (?) limit, then its more like 65cm. Or keeping to 0.5m centre of gravity, 60kg will be 90kg nose weight, and 67kg will bust the 100kg limit. So not much weight increase to have a substantial effect on nose weight. And this all assumes that you know where your centre of gravity is.

Of course, that may be just total bollox and centres of gravities etc have no bearing on limits.
 

gidster99

Member
Feb 24, 2020
64
63
London
I think the issue is that a 55kg weight of rack and bikes will give a vertical load on the hitch that if measured, would be > 55kg. The exact amount would be down to loading and centre of gravity. My understanding is that, when loaded reasonably, a 55kg load probably will not exceed the tongue/nose limit.

ie 55kg at 0.5m from hitch has a turning moment on the hitch greater than a 55kg load balanced directly on the hitch and this needs to be taken into account when calculating the overall nose/tongue weight.

Its been a very long time since I did physics, but I think you need to sum all the vertical forces, ie the weight and the turning moment. So 55kg worth of bikes and accessories with a centre of gravity at 0.5m, would give a total nose/tongue weight of 55 + (55 * 0.5) = 82.5kg. If that centre of gravity was more than 0.82m, then you have bust your 100kg nose weight limit and if you go by the 91kg (?) limit, then its more like 65cm. Or keeping to 0.5m centre of gravity, 60kg will be 90kg nose weight, and 67kg will bust the 100kg limit. So not much weight increase to have a substantial effect on nose weight. And this all assumes that you know where your centre of gravity is.

Of course, that may be just total bollox and centres of gravities etc have no bearing on limits.

OK, so I have been trying to get to the bottom of this... Certainly a couple of people who sell tow-ball mounted bike racks have stated that the weight of the bikes plus rack is what you need to keep below your S-value (Nose weight).

In addition I found some references online to people stating that the mass of the object does not change just because it is offset... this ties in with what the tow-bar sellers were saying.

So I thought I would do an experiment on a kitchen scale... I have a fairly fancy electric one which states things to the nearest gram. So I placed an object right in the middle of the scale and noted the weight (it was 1025g)... and then I moved the object so nearly half of the object was over the edge of the scale, sort of cantilevered out... and the weight was still 1025g. So my little kitchen experiment seems to indicate that nose weight for Bike Carriers really can (and should) be calculated by adding up all the weights of the bike plus the Rack (just like the sellers were telling me).

Of course, the sort of force that a bike rack will exert will, as @VanillaAir_UK states, be higher the further out the bikes stretch (and should mean one drives with greater caution)... but in terms of complying with the actual nose-weight limit, it seems that this is irrelevant?

I am happy for anyone to chime in on whether my kitchen scale experiment is worth anything or not, but it does seem to me that we are back to needing to check what the Certificate of Conformity says (as we already know the Hitch Plate says 100Kgs) and then we can rely on the manual itself stating that these other documents take precedence over the 55Kgs written in the User Manual as @KendoNagasaki spotted above.
 
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gidster99

Member
Feb 24, 2020
64
63
London
OK, so I just got sent my Certificate of Conformity (COC) by a helpful gent at Tesla (attached below).
It talks about a 100Kg "Technically Permissible Maximum Static Vertical Mass at the Coupling Point"

So we now have the COC and the Hitch Plate both talking about 100 Kgs. I am not sure whether to be thrown by the "Static" piece in the COC or not... as when the Car is Static, then the load from the bike racks would be well below that Static value of 100 Kgs.

So, I think this means that we are actually permitted (legally) to drive with a 4-bike rack?

I did note that the same part of the manual that @KendoNagasaki found to tell us that the COC and Hitch Plate takes precedence over the figures in the manual, also states that the Warranty will not cover any damage caused by towing a trailer (in the caution message). I am not clear if this would include accessories, but my real concern was whether it was legal to drive with a bike rack whose nose weight was above 55 Kgs... and this seems to indicate that it is.

Tesla Model 3 Certificate of Conformity - Towing Limits.jpg
 

KendoNagasaki

Member
Oct 30, 2019
65
33
Edinburgh
Good work getting that from Tesla so quickly, my lease company say they don’t have it but have requested one.

I think getting confirmation in writing from your insurance company in advance would be a good idea just in case. Pretty certain there’s no legal issue now but can see an insurer trying to reject a claim if not agreed in advance.
 

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