What is Sway Control

Posted on November 26 2018

What is Sway Control

What Is Sway Control?

Trailer sway can be caused by crosswinds, poor trailer loading (load being too far back), or inadequate spring bar tension in the weight distribution system. The use of a weight-distributing hitch by itself may help limit trailer sway by evenly distributing the weight of the load, but it will do little to improve sway caused by crosswinds.


To help control sway, a sway-control device is recommended for most standard weight distribution systems. Because sway control is so important, it is built into many systems. If you want to wait to add on a sway control device, you will likely be limited to a bar-style friction sway control. Trailer sway devices come in 2 basic types - those that reduce sway once it has begun and those that work to prevent sway altogether.


Reduce Sway

Sway control systems that reduce sway typically rely on friction to keep your trailer from shifting, preventing sway from increasing only after it has begun. There are 2 styles of friction sway control systems - independent and dependent.

Quick Tips:

  • Bar-style sway controls are not compatible with surge or hydraulic trailer brakes
  • It is recommended that you remove the friction-style sway control before backing up to ease reversing and prevent damage to your system.
  • When towing in slippery conditions - such as on wet, icy, or snow-covered roads or on loose gravel - turn the on/off handle of the sway-control unit counterclockwise until all tension is removed from unit. Failure to do so could prevent the tow vehicle and trailer from turning properly.
  • One friction-style sway control can be used for trailers with up to 6,000-lb GTW. If your trailer's GTW is between 6,000 lbs and 10,000 lbs, you will need 2 sway-control units, 1 on either side of the trailer. You will also want to use 2 units if your trailer is 26' or longer.

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