Before you begin towing that load down the road, it might pay to make sure the length of your light trailer – and load – is within regulations*.
The maximum length for a light simple trailer in New Zealand is 12.5 metres from the front of the drawbar to the rear-most point of the trailer/load. The overall length from the front of the towing vehicle to the rear of the trailer/load must not exceed 22 metres. Light trailers, including their load, can have a maximum width of 2.55 metres, and height of 4.3 metres.
As well as length, there are restrictions in height and width for light trailers.
To make sense of this we need to understand a few definitions.
A light trailer is a vehicle that doesnt have a motor with a maximum gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 3500 kilograms or less, including the weight of the load (some exceptions may apply).
Light Simple Trailer
A simple trailer has between one and three three axles in one axle set, and the most common examples include most boat trailers, caravans, and garden trailers (some exceptions apply).
The maximum height for a light simple trailer (including load) is 4.3 metres, although the height must also be safe and appropriate for the kind of load you are towing.
Generally speaking*, a light simple trailer and its load must not exceed 2.55 metres.
Maximum forward distance
In simple terms*, the distance from towball to the rear axis of the trailer must not exceed 8.5 metres (the diagram above shows the reat axis for a tandem trailer).
Maximum rear overhang
Again, in simple terms*, the distance from the rear of the vehicle / load must not exceed 4.0 metres.
Minimum ground clearance
There are no minimum ground clearance requirements for light trailers.
* This article is not legal advice. For full legal definitions and requirements see: