How to Avoid Trailer Sway and Keep Your Vehicle Upright When Driving
One of the most dangerous things that can happen to you when you are towing a trailer is the potential for the trailer to begin to sway back and forth while you are in motion. If this starts to happen then eventually the trailer will end up falling to one side and it will bring your vehicle down to. Many trailer owners don’t take this seriously enough but it is a common problem. Without the proper electric brake controllers for trailers, you could completely lose control of your vehicle and cause a major accident all due to lack of trailer sway control. Here are a few things that can cause trailer sway and how to fix them.
Incorrect Weight Distribution
There should be 10% to 12% of the trailer’s weight on the tongue of the vehicle which is where it connects to your vehicle. If there is not enough weight right there then this is the most common reason that trailers sway. In order to make sure that you avoid this, you should have your trailer weighed on a commercial scale, like the ones at truck stops. If your trailer weighs around 2000 pounds, then there should be at least 200 pounds of weight on the hitch itself. If this is not the case then you’ll need to redistribute the weight of the cargo you are carrying inside the trailer and vehicle.
Incorrect Air Pressure
Probably the second biggest problem when it comes to trailer sway is the tire pressure. Not having the correct tire pressure on both the vehicle’s tires and the trailer’s tires can result in incorrect weight distribution so this goes right in with the first point. On top of correct air pressure, you need to make sure that the tires are all exactly the same size once they are inflated. If they are different sizes but inflated to capacity then you may have the incorrect size tires on somewhere.
Make sure that you do not overload your trailer. This is easy to do because it’s hard to tell how much weight your trailer can handle. Do the research on the type of trailer you have to find out what exactly yours can hold. Don’t forget to factor in the weight of the trailer itself, the hitch or tongue, the vehicle that is towing the trailer as well as any passengers that are coming along on the road trip and of course the weight of the cargo you are carrying.
Gusts of Wind
Of course, you cannot control the wind. If a sudden gust of wind catches you then you’ll need something to help you control the trailer. Electric brake controllers for trailers can do this as well as a friction sway control device. These can actually reduce the effects of the wind by adding resistance to the trailer and vehicle. If you find that the amount of friction that you have set is not enough once the wind hits and the trailer starts swaying a little, stop and pull over. You can adjust the friction with a quarter of a turn, clockwise if necessary. You can keep doing this until the trailer feels like it’s stabilizing a little better.
Lack of Trailer Brake Controls
Your best bet is to get electric brake controllers for trailers. These will be very helpful in reducing the sway of your trailer. However, just because you have electric brake controllers for trailers doesn’t mean that you can forego the rest of the suggestions. Make them all work together in order to keep your trailer and yourself safe. Trailer brake controllers help the trailer and the vehicle to work together better in order to reduce the amount of trailer sway.
Don’t procrastinate on doing any of these things. It’s important to make sure that these things are all in place before you take off. Remember that so many trailer drivers make the mistake of underestimating the danger of trailer sway. Don’t become part of that group. Just because it hasn’t happened before to you or someone you know, doesn’t mean that you are exempt. It’s better to be safe and spend a little extra money than wishing you had.
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