Not Enough Tongue Weight
One factor that can cause your trailer to sway is not enough tongue weight. Between 10 and 12 percent of the trailer’s weight must be on the tongue (where it hitches to your vehicle). This is the most common cause for trailer sway. Your trailer can be weighed by taking it to a commercial scale (at truck stops). For instance, if the gross weight of your trailer is 2000 pounds, the tongue weight on the hitch should be about 200 pounds. Remove items or redistribute the weight as necessary. Heavier cargo should be placed at the front of the trailer, center the cargo left-to-right, and use reinforcements to tie down the cargo and prevent them from moving around.
It is important to make sure that both your vehicle and your trailer tires have correct air pressure. Also, check to ensure that they are exactly the same size when inflated.
Avoid overloading your trailer. You should keep in mind that your load capacity includes the weight of the trailer, tongue, vehicle and your passengers.
Install a Friction Sway Control Device
Installing a friction sway control device will reduce the effects of sudden gusts of wind and sharp turning by applying resistance to the trailer and vehicle with respect to each other. When driving, you should stop and turn the adjustment handle a quarter of a turn in the clockwise direction, which adds more friction. This should be continued until your trailer feels stable. There are three different styles of friction sway control devices available, and they should be used in trailers that have a low tongue weight percentage. If you have a trailer that is over 5000 pounds, the sway control devices should be attached to each side of the trailer hitch.
Avoid Windy Conditions
If you can, avoid windy conditions. But if you can’t, here are a few tips for safe driving in these conditions:
- Reduce the speed gradually when experiencing trailer sway. Do not slam on the brakes.
- Don’t increase speed, since higher speeds make trailer sway more severe.
- Apply only the trailer brakes to help reduce sway.
- Stop to investigate the cause of the sway. It is not a good idea to take a trailer on the road if you know it is suffering from a swaying issue.
Safety on the road should be a priority when you’re towing thousands of pounds of weight. Depending on the state and composition of your trailer, combined with the right conditions, things can get bad fast. If you are having issues with trailer sway, keep these tips in mind, and be safe on the road. For more information feel free to contact us here at Gooseneck Trailers today!