How Does A Sway Control Hitch Work?
The working mechanism of a hitch sway control lies in its construction and build. The body of the weight distribution hitch consists of adjustable spring bars that can be modified according to the current requirements. The bars present within the hitch serve as weight stabilizers/equalizers. An uplift force can elevate the trailer tongue and bring the towing vehicle back to its previous level.
These bars also work by applying leverage to each side of the arrangement. It helps transfer the load at the back to every axle over the tow vehicle and trailer. Due to this even distribution of weight, you get to benefit from a smooth and level ride along with the ability to tow the vehicle at the most supreme capability of your hitch.
What Causes A Trailer To Sway?
Usually, trailer sway occurs due to strong gusts of wind. It can be either from side wind in bare areas or from a nearby passing truck. Trailer sway can also happen by sudden changes of direction, for example, on winding mountain roads. It can get even worse by the faulty air pressure in the tires with the driver trying to fix the issue but not reacting quickly enough.
Some other most common causes of truck sway include
- Inadequate tongue weight and overloading
- Moderate or strong crosswinds
- Sloping off the road shoulder
- Evasive movements of the trailer
- Sudden braking or icy roads
You can dramatically reduce the risks of accidents and incidents by keeping heavy-duty merchandise down low and pumping the tires to correct pressure. Always expect adverse conditions, exposed roads with strong crosswinds, and nearby trucks so you can slow down in time to reduce the chances of trailer sway.
How Much Trailer Sway Is Normal?
Trailer sway can be very frightening. Imagine heading up to a busy road, trying to overtake a slow truck within the passing zone when all of a sudden, someone loses complete control of their vehicle. What happens next could be very catastrophic.
Consider trailer sway normal if you do not have to turn your steering wheel in a seesaw kind of movement to counterbalance the response of the vehicle. If the motion of the trailer is unable to amplify to a point where you know you are going to lose the rig and bad things are about to happen, there is nothing to worry about.
Also, the trailer sway is not disastrous if you are feeling the whole rig move as a solid unit, considering that you have set up everything just right. You should be able to turn the trailer in a certain direction to stay within your driving lane.
Do I Really Need A Weight Distribution Hitch?
A manual from the owner of your vehicle should be able to provide you with the information regarding the use of a weight-distribution hitch.
A weight distribution hitch can distribute the load equally among the trailer you are towing and your tow vehicles. Apart from this main reason, there are specific indicators that you can analyze to know if you need a weight-distribution hitch or not.
You need a weight-distribution hitch if:
- If the GTW (trailer weight) is more than 50-percent of your GVWR (weight of your vehicle)
- The back of your tow vehicle sags quickly when you hook the trailer up
- Your trailer experiences sway on the road
- The headlights of your tow vehicle point in the upward direction
- It is difficult for you to stop or navigate up the rig
- You wish to tow the vehicle to the maximum capacity permissible by your trailer hitch
Does A Weight Distribution Hitch Reduce Sway?
With the help of a weight-distribution hitch, you get the best of both worlds i.e., stable load distribution on your trailer and sway control. The design and strength of a distribution hitch work actively to prevent the unwanted movements of the trailer. The spring bars are very strong, and provide more stability as well as dampening for no bumper-sag bouncing.
The friction sway control feature can resist the trailer wagging whether you are driving in a straight line or on a winding road twisting back and forth. A weight distribution hitch reduces sway by constantly working to make sure that your trailer follows the tow vehicle without swinging in the left/right direction. Still, the best way to avoid sway is an appropriate trailer loading.
If you can load the vehicle so that the tongue weight is somewhere between 10-15% of the total vehicle weight, you are more likely to reduce the sway naturally.
How Much Tongue Weight Is Too Much?
Tongue weight is defined as a static force that a trailer tongue applies over the hitch ball. Appropriate tongue weight can have a significant difference between safe and dangerous trailer towing. If there is not enough weight on the trailer tongue, the trailer is sure to sway from side to side, thus making it difficult for you to control the vehicle. Conversely, if there is too much weight, it can overload the back tires of the tow vehicle and push the back-end in the opposite direction.
For conventional trailers, too much tongue weight is more than 10%-15% of the fully-loaded trailer weight. The towing trailer with a tongue weight of more than 700 pounds to 800 pounds can also cause negative handling effects.
What Happens If Trailer Hitch Is Too High?
Different trailer setups involve a different amount of weight as well as hitch heights to work efficiently. Of course, it can be very tricky to attach a travel trailer to a tow vehicle, especially if you cannot determine the suitable hitch height and its adjustment.
A trailer hitch that is set too high can be very dangerous. You can have a hard time towing the trailer, and it is not safe to drive as well. Your trailer can easily trip backward and create a distorted profile that shows an unbalanced weight distribution.
This way, your trailer will appear less aerodynamic and is more susceptible to catch the heavy winds and sway back and forth. Trailer sway, when this happens, should be taken very seriously since it can lead to any unfortunate event or devastating accident on the road.
Why Does My Trailer Sway At High Speeds?
Most of the trailer accidents on highways are a result of unpreventable trailer swaying. With high speed, the intensity of the swinging movement of any trailer can increase manifold and lead to trailer flipping, which may also overturn the towing vehicle.
Excessive speed can undoubtedly create instability in the trailer and its tow vehicle grouping. As your trailer speeds up, the tow vehicle will eventually move even faster. Any braking action at this point can cause the trailer to exert unnecessary force over the tow vehicle and begin a swaying action.
You can avoid this situation by maintaining a safe speed limit on lineages. Shift the trailer into lower gears to slow down or use brakes carefully or only when needed. You can also use the trailer brake control manually to slow down the vehicle if the sway is too much and avoid the problem from turning into a complete nightmare.
What Should I Do If My Trailer Starts To Sway?
Trailer sway can be very dangerous and tragic, not only for you but also for other vehicles on the road, especially if not handled properly. If you feel that, your trailer has started to sway, follow these simple guidelines:
- Do not, in any situation, step over the brake pedal. It might cause the sway to get even worse, and you may lose control of the trailer completely.
- Never try to fight the sway by turning or twisting the steering. To avoid more complications, keep the steering wheel pointed in a straight direction.
- If you have a brake controller or trailer brakes, manually apply them smoothly and alleviate the intensity of sway.
- Remove your feet from the accelerator slowly and gradually to lower down the vehicle’s speed.
- Pull over and rearrange your cargo with more weight towards the front.
- Get the hitch inspected for malfunctioning and defects or replace it with a good-quality weight distribution model.
What Is The Best Weight Distribution Hitch With Sway Control?
Since there are many products to choose from, there are certain attributes that one must acknowledge before making a final choice. The best weight distribution hitch with sway control must be unbeatable in terms of control over swaying and durability. It should be available in a variety of models to fit different types of tongue weights. You should go for a hitch that can give maximum gross trailer weight compatible with the model of your trailer.
Moreover, you must opt for a weight-distribution hitch to match your towing needs. The tongue weight should be between 10-15 percent of the gross trailer weight. Make sure that the hitch is easy to fit and allow convenient access to the ball hitch.