Getting a Trailer? You Should Also Get a Brake Controller and Sway Control Hitch

Hydraulic trailer brakes

Are you finally taking the plunge and investing in a trailer or an RV, joining the over 30 million RV enthusiastic all across America? If so, there are some things you’ll want to consider before hitching your trailer up to your car or truck that are important to your safety and those around you. Finding a trailer brake controller solution before you even get on the road can help you brake safely if you’re towing a heavy weight behind you and investing in a sway control hitch is always advised. If you haven’t even heard of those terms before now, you’ll want to go do some research and see what’s the best fit your trailer or RV and towing vehicle. If you purchase your trailer or RV from a store, the salespeople there might be able to offer some advice and guidance on what you should be using.
What is a Sway Control Hitch?
A sway control hitch is a device that helps limit the amount of sway between a trailer or RV and the tow vehicle. It’s a part of most standard weight distribution systems and is often built into them. However, if your weight distribution system doesn’t come with one, you’ll probably end up having to get a bar-style friction sway control, which might not be perfectly optimal for your vehicles.
There are two main types of trailer sway devices — ones that cut down on sway once it starts happening and ones that try and prevent sway from even occurring in the first place. Sway can come from crosswinds, an imbalance of weight in the back, or not enough spring bar tension in the weight distribution system. Of course, trailer sway devices cannot completely control sway caused by crosswinds, but it might help minimize.
Why Is It Important to Have a Brake Controller?
A brake controller will help manage the brakes in your trailer, putting those on when your tow vehicle’s brakes go on. This can help if you’re going down a steep incline with a lot of weight in the vehicle you’re towing and can also help reduce the strain on your towing vehicle’s brakes.
Most trailer brake controller solutions are electric these days and are installed in the cab of your tow vehicle. When you brake in your tow vehicle, a signal loops through a feed and puts the brakes on in your trailer vehicle. There’s a number of different kinds of trailer brake controller solutions and many can often power multiple sets of brakes. However, there are two main ways they function — either they’re a proportional brake controller model or a time delayed brake controller model.
A proportional brake controller is “smart,” sensing if the tow vehicle is hitting the brakes, either to slow down or to stop entirely, and steps on the trailer’s brakes with the same amount of pressure. Time delayed brake controllers hit the brakes with a pressure and timing that’s preset, which means that there’s a natural delay between the time you hit the brakes in your tow vehicle, and the time the brakes go on in the vehicle being towed.
When Should I Think About Getting a Trailer Sway Hitch or a Trailer Brake Controller Solution?
If your trailer weight is over half of your vehicle’s weight, you’ll want to invest in a weight distribution system. Having a good weight distribution system makes sure that your ride to and from your destination will be smooth and level and that you can tow the maximum load that your hitch lets you. Steering and stopping can also be improved.
Trailer brake controllers can help improve safety by making sure that the vehicle being towed is stopping appropriately and won’t crash into the tow vehicle. Additionally, having a trailer brake controller might also take some of the strain off your tow vehicle’s brakes, especially when towing heavy loads and going down steep inclines.
Before hitting the road in your RV or towing your trailer, be sure you know what kind of sway control hitch you need, and look into getting trailer brake controllers or more general brake controllers for your RV.

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