There are different types of trailers; general hauling utility trailers, vehicle hauling car trailers, camping trailers and enclosed cargo trailers. Trailer sway is the unwanted motion made by trailers. If these back and forth motion is severe, an accident could occur if it transfers to the towed vehicle. Setting up your trailer and tow vehicle properly could prevent trailer sway. Trailer sway is dependent on tire pressure, the hitch, the coupling, trailer weight and tongue weight.
You need a friction sway device and an air pressure gauge.
- 10 to 12 percent of trailer weight should be on the tongue. The tongue is at the vehicle’s front. When too much weight is placed at the back, sway is caused. You could weigh your loaded trailer at a truck shop. They have scales that you can use to weigh your trailer. The attendant will help you split-weigh your trailer so as to know what weight your tongue is. To get correct tongue weight, re-arrange the load. This means having some items removed if overloaded and reweighing the trailer.
- The manufacturer’s manual should tell you how much load capacity your vehicle should carry. The manual also indicates the appropriate class trailer hitches for the vehicle. Make sure your tow vehicle is not overloaded. Add the weight of the cargo, the trailer tongue and passengers. The vehicle’s weight capacity should not be exceeded.
- Your trailer and tow vehicles tires should have correct air pressure. Your owner’s manual has the correct tire pressure indicated for both the vehicle and the trailer. The air pressure gauge should help you check the tire pressure. The tires should be cold during checking. If you have just been from driving your vehicle, let the tires cool down before the pressure is checked.
- The trailer should not be driven during extreme windy conditions, to avoid blowing over. Your tow vehicle could also be blown away. If you predict severe weather, delay until its calm. You should only tow in cool weather.
- Install a friction sway device by help of your dealer on your trailer. A test drive can be taken to make sure everything is correctly installed. If trailer sway is still there, the adjustment handle should be rotated clockwise. Continue till the sway is gone and the trailer is stabilized. On each side of the trailer hitch on large trailers, install a sway control device.
Make sure alter your driving speed when towing. The extra weight may not allow you to drive so fast. The vehicles mostly sway from 45 mph or higher. Stay off highways if your trailer begins to sway. Avoid changing lanes frequently or passing tractor trailers, unless it’s absolutely necessary. Changing lanes and passing tractor trailers are causes of trailer sway.
5 Easy Steps to Prevent Trailer Sway