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 create this unwanted back and forth motion called sway, which can cause an accident if it gets severe. You can stop this from happening once you know how to appropriately set up your trailer and tow vehicle. It also depends on various factors, such as tire pressure, the hitch, the coupling, weight and tongue weight so you need to have a friction sway device and an air pressure gauge.
You have to keep 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 help out to split-weight your trailer in order to know what weight your tongue is. You can reorganize the load to get correct tongue weight by taking out some items if overloaded and weighing it gaining.
Make sure to read the manufacturer’s manual to know 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 must not go beyond 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 must be already cold during checking. Once you have just been driving the vehicle, you should let the tires to cool down ahead of checking the pressure.
Do not drive the trailer during extreme windy conditions in order to avoid being blown over. If severe weather condition is predicted, postpone your trip until it is calm. Your tow vehicle should only be driven during cool weather so it won’t get blown away.
You can request your dealer to have a friction sway device installed in your vehicle while having a test drive taken to make sure that everything is correctly installed. If sway is still there, you should 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.