Towing Your Trailer

Towing Your Trailer

Sway Control

When the weight of a loaded caravan or trailer is transferred via the tow ball connection to the tow vehicle suspension, a Weight Distribution Hitch, matched to the tow ball weight is the first essential for sway control. This restores the tow vehicle front wheel traction and tow vehicle stability.

External factors such as cross winds and overtaking trucks and buses create significant side thrust forces that increase in intensity with increasing caravan/trailer size and load.

If these forces are noticeable after fitting an appropriate Weight Distribution Hitch, an added sway control unit should be fitted.

Below are four examples of sway control devices that are commercially available:

With this device, friction pads apply a high level of pressure on the tow ball. Their high damping force resists sudden movements, either horizontally or vertically to stabilise the caravan when being towed.

This stabiliser must only be used with an anti–rotating tow ball.

Electronic Stability Control
This is an electronic stability control system (ESC) which automatically applies the electric brakes, in a controlled manner; to a trailer should sway or a severe manoeuvre occur. This slows down the caravan and stops the sway from increasing.

Friction Sway Control
This is a device of universal application to all caravan/trailer combinations regardless of tow ball weight or coupling height. It is adjustable to accommodate small to large rigs and normal to severe highway conditions.

Dual Cam Sway Control
This is applicable only to caravan/trailers having heavy tow ball weights (exceeding 180kg), and with a coupling to ground clearance of 450mm. Whereas the Friction Sway Control is adjustable, the Dual Cam has a fixed setting

The guidance of an experienced installer is advisable with any of this equipment.