Various Easy Ways to Avoid Trailer Sway
There are different types of trailers, which include general hauling utility, vehicle hauling car, camping and enclosed cargo trailers. There are times when they make this unwanted back and forth motion called sway, which can result in an accident if it gets severe. You can avoid this from happening if you know how to correctly set up your trailer and tow vehicle. It depends also on various factors, including tire pressure, the hitch, the coupling, weight and tongue weight so you have to have a friction sway device and an air pressure gauge.
You need to bear in mind that 10 to 12 percent of trailer weight should be on the tongue that is found at the front of the vehicle. The sway can happen once there is too much weight at the back of the vehicle so it is important to weight your trailer at a truck shop before loading it. The shop attendant can assist to split-weight your trailer so you will know what weight your tongue is. You can rearrange the load to obtain correct tongue weight by eliminating some items if overloaded and weighing it gaining.
Be sure to read the manufacturer’s manual to make out the maximum load capacity. It will also indicate the appropriate class hitch for the vehicle so that your tow vehicle won’t get overloaded. The total weight of the cargo, trailer tongue and passengers should not exceed the vehicle’s weight capacity.
It is important also to have appropriate air pressure in your trailer and tow vehicle tires. The owner’s manual has a suggested exact tire pressure both for the vehicle and the trailer. You can check the tire pressure using the air pressure gauge but the tire should already be cold during checking. When you have just been driving the vehicle, you must allow the tires to cool down prior to checking the pressure.
You should not drive the trailer during extreme windy conditions to avoid being blown over. If there is a prediction of severe weather condition, delay your trip until it is calm. Your tow vehicle must be driven only during cool weather so it won’t get blown away.
You can ask your dealer to install a friction sway device in your vehicle while having a test drive taken to guarantee that everything is installed properly. If sway is still present, you must rotate clockwise the adjustment handle until it is gone and the trailer is stabilized. The sway control device can be installed already on each side of the hitch when you have a large trailer.
When towing, your driving speed should be changed as the extra heavy weight does not tolerate fast driving. When you see that sway begins, stay away from highways, changing lanes frequently or passing tractor trailers. These instances will cause the trailer to sway and this can lead to a road accident.
Source: hensley hitch