Different Easy Ways to Prevent Trailer Sway
There are several types of trailers, which consist of general hauling utility, vehicle hauling car, camping and enclosed cargo trailers. There are times when they have this unwanted back and forth motion called sway, which can lead to 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 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 help to split-weight your trailer for you to 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 also important to have correct 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.
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 should only be driven 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 already installed on each side of the hitch once 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 situations will cause the trailer to sway and this can initiate a road accident.
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