California License Classes & Trailer Towing Guide

Are you wondering what weight trailer you can tow with your California Class "C" Drivers License? Or what other license or endorsement you might need to tow that large horse trailer or larger than 40 foot motorhome? Unfortunately, most dealers of new or used trailering rigs will not tell you that the trailer that they are trying to sell you may require you to get an endorsement on your California Class C license or even a Noncommercial Class A license. Why tell you something that may spoil the deal?

Check the table below for some of the noncomercial license requirements in California that would affect horse owners with large rigs. The table below is a subset of the information available at the License Classes and License Requirements for Noncommercial License Classes webpage on the California DMV website. If a Noncommercial Class A license or an Endorsement on your Class C license is needed, the study material for both of these "upgrades" is contained in the Recreational Vehicles and Trailers booklet available at any DMV office.

License Classes and License Requirements

Noncommercial License Classes (subset):

License classes are based on the size of vehicle you wish to drive or the weight of the trailer you wish to tow. No passenger vehicle, pickup truck, or RV may tow more than one other vehicle without a Commercial Class A license, with endorsement.

If you have a... you may drive... and you may tow...
Non-com'l Class A license
  • all vehicles under Class C
  • any vehicle under Class C
  • a travel trailer weighing over 10,000 lbs. GVWR, not used for hire.
  • a fifth-wheel travel trailer weighing over 15,000 lbs. GVWR, not used for hire.
Class C
  • any 2-axle vehicle with a GVWR of 26,000 lbs. or less
  • any 3-axle vehicle weighing 6,000 lbs. or less gross
  • any house car (motorhome) 40 feet and under, in length
  • a single vehicle with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs. or less including a tow dolly, if used.

With a vehicle weighing 4,000 lbs. or more unladen, you may tow a:

  • trailer coach or fifth-wheel travel trailer under 10,000 lbs. GVWR when towing is not for hire.
  • fifth-wheel travel trailer exceeding 10,000 lbs. but under 15,000 lbs. GVWR, when towing is not for hire and with endorsement.

NOTE: No motor vehicle under 4,000 lbs. unladen may tow any vehicle weighing 6,000 lbs. or more gross. (VC §21715)