What is Trailer Sway, and Why is it Important?
Trailer sway is the side-to-side movement or twisting that occurs when a trailer is towed. If you studied physics in high school, you know that many invisible forces are acting on the surface area of your trailer. While the forward movement is caused by the speed of the towing vehicle and the downward movement results from gravity and weight, there are also side forces like wind.
Several factors can contribute to trailer sway and make it more probable. Here are a few culprits that tend to make towing a trailer much harder.
Even the slightest gust of wind can cause a trailer to act up. Since there is more surface area on the side of the trailer, the wind gust works in tandem with the forward thrust of a trailer to push it sideways. If you look out of your rearview mirror and see your trailer moving or encroaching the center line, you have trailer sway.
Many pickup trucks have a safety feature called Anti-Trailer Sway, which is the computer of the truck sensing when this might be a problem. The program forces the tow vehicle to slow down. This speed reduction allows the wind forces on the trailer to lessen and the trailer to move back in line with the towing vehicle.
However, as good as a safety program on your truck might be, trailer sway can be prevented or significantly reduced by using the correct trailer hitch, like the EAZ-Lift.
Many accidents are often caused by excessive speed, but when pulling a load, the effect of speed is multiplied. Many manufacturers of trailers will indicate that adjusting speed down under the standard speed limit is very wise. Many accidents with a trailer tow were caused by a driver trying to speed over limits considered safe.
If you have a lead foot, you must reprogram your thinking when you tow. Better to arrive at the lake ten minutes later than end up in a mangled wreck in a ditch on the side of the highway.
Improper Weight Loads or Hitch Connections
An improperly loaded trailer for its weight capacity is more likely to encounter trailer sway. The trailer can get pushed around and sway if the tongue weight is too light. If there is too much tongue weight, the load is pushed down on the ball, causing the front axle to rise. This can make the trailer push the tow vehicle.
A correct formula is to keep about 60% of the weight toward the front (over or ahead of the axle). In addition, most manufacturers will advise keeping the load weight to 85% of the max load capacity to help reduce the effects of trailer sway.
Connecting the trailer to the tow vehicle with the right hitch is critically important to keep the trailer from being affected by other forces. This is where a four-point hitch system like the EAZ-lift can help make the towing of the trailer more manageable and safer.
Believe it or not, the road you travel on might not be smooth (I would be willing to bet it’s not). Cracks, bumps, and other imperfections can cause a trailer’s tires to lose contact with the road surface and make it more susceptible to other forces.
When the road surface is wet, snowy, or icy, these conditions can make the trailer slide sideways. The chances of trailer sway are heightened when other factors like incorrect weight loads or speed are involved.
What is an EAZ-lift Trekker Hitch?
The EAZ-Lift Trekker hitch is a four-point weight distribution hitch manufactured by Camco. The hitch is designed to help even out the load of the tongue over the axles, thus smoothing out the ride and keeping the trailer in line with the tow vehicle.
This hitch has four connection points to fasten trunnion bars between the towing vehicle and the trailer. Two conections are bolt-on at the base of the ball mount, and the other two are adjustable L-shaped brackets connecting to the trailer tongue. Having two additional rods secure the trailer to the tow vehicle brings stability and strength to the tow.
Often, when a trailer is hooked to a towing vehicle, the weight of the tongue can push down on the back of the tow vehicle, lifting the front axle. This means that the tow vehicle has less surface contact on the front, which can be a dangerous driving situation. The weight distribution of the EAZ-Lift spreads and balances the weight over all of the axles of the tow vehicle, making the ride more level and smooth.
The hitches have adaptive sway control, which means that when you pass a semi-truck or encounter a wind gust, the hitch works actively to resist the effects. When steering (when trailer sway is not as prevalent), the sway control disengages and then resets itself when you have completed the turn and are resuming straight-line driving.
The sway control can be disengaged manually by just removing a compression plate when towing in conditions when sway control is not needed. (However, loosening the friction resistance is unnecessary in most normal conditions). If your truck tires are adequate, the pavement good, and the weather is not pooling or highly slippery; then a standard weight distribution hitch should be fine.
The hitch comes with a five-year warranty (the owner has registered the hitch with the company within ten days of purchase. The hitch is constructed from steel and comes pre-lubricated.
Camco began in 1966 with one product (Trailer Plumbing Antifreeze) and has, over the years, expanded into many other accessories, including toilet treatments, antifreeze, and water or exhaust hoses. The company has facilities in North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Oregon.
In 2007, Camco acquired EAZ-lift Spring Corp. and began production of trailer hitches. Today, Camco features product lines like Trac Outdoors, Kuumo, PowerGrip, and Hydro-life, among others. The company continues to make quality RV and towing products.
- Made in the USA
- Reasonable Price
- Adaptive Sway Control
- Consistently placed on top review sites.
- Five-year warranty, whereas competitors offer a lifetime.
What are the Ratings for the EAZ-lift hitches?
EAZ Lift hitches are consistently a part of best hitch lists. The hitch has a 4.7 rating on Amazon and is their No.1 bestseller in weight distribution hitches. Many reviews indicate how smooth the ride is with the hitch and comment on the ease of installation.
How Do I Know If I Need A Weight Distribution Hitch?
If the load you tow is more than 50% of your tow vehicle's weight, you need a weight distribution hitch. Be sure not to exceed your vehicle’s max towing capacity. An EAZ lift hitch is designed to spread the weight over the axles of the tow vehicle to keep the trailer planted on the road surface.
The tongue weight should be at most 15% of the weight of a fully-loaded trailer.
Can I Install the Hitch Myself?
If you have a receiver hitch already mounted to your tow vehicle's rear, then the EAZ-Lift installation is relatively straightforward. If you need to have a receiver hitch mounted to the frame of your truck, you will need to purchase one separate from the EAZ-Lift hitch.
You can also adjust the tightness of the EAZ-Lift. The company includes instructions and the tools needed for installation and maintenance. In addition, there are a variety of videos on their website and YouTube which can help you if you need assistance.
About THE AUTHOR
My name is Matt and I've been around cars all my life! I have owned and worked on many different classic vehicles, so I started this site to share my experiences. If you're new to classic cars, then this website is for you.Read More About Matt Lane