Trailer sway control is one of the most important things to take into consideration before you head out for that first, glorious trip. Perhaps the most dangerous thing about towing a bumper pull trailer is trailer sway. There are many ways to help reduce or control the possibility of trailer sway. We’ll cover a few of them here.
Excessive Speed Can Be Deadly
Watch your speed. Many states different have speed limits for larger vehicles. I follow truck speed limits and rules. Your tires are rated for maximum towing weights and speeds. Most tire manufacturers have charts on their websites to help you understand these guidelines. Take a picture of the numbers on your tires and look them up. I tow at about 60 miles per hour unless the speed limit is lower.
Tow With an Adequate Tow Vehicle
Make sure your tow vehicle is up to the task. I started out with a Ford F150 after doing more research than you can imagine. It just wasn’t enough truck and I had some serious sway a couple of times. So much in fact, that my dash sway warning light came on. I traded up to a Ford F250 and I feel much safer. My trailer weight is just under 8,000 pounds dry. Dry means completely empty including the holding tanks and propane tanks.
Most people ask how much their vehicle can pull but the more important question is; how much can it stop? Think about going down a steep mountain pass. Your trailer is behind you pushing as you go down that hill and around those curves.
Weight Distribution and Trailer Sway Control Equipment
The weight distribution of your gear inside the trailer makes a huge difference in controlling sway. The majority of the weight should be over the axles. Keep the load light in the back end and try to distribute weight fairly evenly on each side. This will also help your tires wear more evenly.
With our 5th wheel and motorhome, we didn’t have anti-sway equipment but moving to a Travel Trailer has been a whole new ballgame. Weight distribution and anti-sway hitches are very effective for reducing sway. While I only have personal experience with the Equalizer Four Point Sway Control Hitch, there are others on the market. This is also a weight-distribution hitch. The main point here is, if properly installed, it works and it works well. The price is reasonable too. Please don’t tow a bumper pull trailer without a trailer sway control hitch.
Your driving conditions can also contribute to sway. Bumpy or uneven roads, strong winds, and steep grades are all reasons to slow down. If winds are too severe, pull over. Those winds can tip your trailer over.
Read more about sway at the following links.
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