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Various Easy Ways to Avoid 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 prevent this from happening when you know how to properly 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 get correct tongue weight by removing 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 need not go over 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. When you have just been driving the vehicle, you must allow the tires to cool down prior to 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. Once sway is still there, you ought to rotate clockwise the adjustment handle until it is gone and the trailer is stabilized. The sway control device can already be installed on each side of the hitch if you have a large trailer.

When towing, your driving speed should be altered because the extra heavy weight does not allow fast driving. Once you notice that sway starts, steer clear of highways, changing lanes frequently or passing tractor trailers. These instances will trigger the trailer to sway and this can result in a road accident.

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15 Nov 2016

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