Originally Posted by thestrangebrew
All great advice and I'm glad I asked the question. Having only towed for the last 2 years, I've never experienced a bad sway event and I'm glad all of you who've posted experiences are safe! Hopefully this will help other people who are new to towing!
We all thank you for posting this question. This is a safety issue that all of us should be aware of. It has also brought to the attention of some, that no matter how well the set up, an event out of your control can happen in a heart beat. That is not the time to be asking the question.
Here are a few safety checks that should be performed at least a week or two before a trip. This may help prevent a sway event:
* Initially, set up the TV and the cargo trailer, TT, toad, etc. correctly. There are no shortcuts or economy decisions on this.
* Make sure that both TV and the towed item are in proper mechanical condition.
* At least a week before taking an adventure, check each tire, including sidewalls and treads, for cuts, tread separation, unusual wear. That will mean getting under the unit and inspecting VERY closely.
*Make sure all tires, including spares are aired properly. If there is one that is not holding air, look for the reason and address it. A tire failure on a 2-wheel trailer is almost certain to cause a sway event. If there are four or six trailer wheels on the ground and one goes flat, the remaining tire(s) on that side is carrying extra weight and you have lost the benefit of one brake.
* Jack each wheel off the ground and check for unusual noise while rotating the wheel. Push/pull the wheel from side-to-side to check for a loose or failing wheel bearing. A loose/failed bearing can cause tire wear on the inner tread, can damage the brakes, and can damage an axle. Remember, also, that bearings require interval maintenance.
* Is the trailer break-away battery charged? This is a very small sealed battery and can only take a 2 amp charge. Any more will toast the battery.
* Is the break-away switch and cable in operating condition?
* Check the TV hitch for stress cracks and that the hitch receiver pin is not wearing.
* When loading, make sure the majority of weight (in proportion) is forward of the trailer axle(s).
* Set the gain control on the TV. This may be a consistent setting unless there is a significant change in towed weight.
* Upon leaving the drive, manually engage the brake controller lever to see if the trailer brakes will significantly slow the unit without using the TV brakes.
* With traffic clear behind and at 45-55mph, apply the TV brakes and determine that the unit as a whole smoothly reduces speed without swaying.
* Each time a rest/fuel stop is made, check each tire for pressure and check each wheel hub for excessive heat. Note that the hubs on the sun side will be slightly warmer. Also, do a walk around to make sure everything looks good.
* Be aware of weather and traffic conditions. Take heed of tall vehicle wind warnings and hazardous road conditions.
* Drive looking for danger signals far ahead of you, keep a safe interval, be aware of the 360 degrees around you, and be vigilant of road hazards that can damage a tire. Anticipate what another drive will do. Drivers of average vehicles have no clue as to what we are contending with, will take away the interval and often don't respect the big rigs or the law.
* It is best to travel in the far right lane on a 4-lane because you have the shoulder as a safety lane. On six or more lanes with a lot of merging traffic, it may be best to be over to the left one lane, allowing traffic to merge without having to brake. In large cities where frequent lane changes are required, make the change as soon it is safe-it will be a zoo the closer you get.
For those of you wanting to add/detract from the list, feel free to chime in. Safety on the road is all of our responsibility.