Should my trailer be level when towing?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Should my trailer be level when towing? We will discuss why it is important to level your trailer when towing, how to stabilize it and why the right hitch can make a difference. 

Should my trailer be level when towing?

Yes, your trailer should be level when towing to improve your driving stability, braking performance, ground clearance,  and ultimately to prevent unwanted movement

Swaying is one of the main causes of accidents when towing a trailer. Using a sway control system can help tremendously with towing any trailer. Accidents occur when trailers begin to sway due to a change in load or suspension problems. 

When towing a travel trailer, driving through traffic, wind, and other conditions can cause the trailer to wobble, making control more difficult. An experienced towing driver can often handle this influence with minimal effort, but for those unaccustomed to towing, control can be difficult. Sway bars help reduce the amount of sway present while driving and can make trailering much easier.

Thus, the most simple way to level a trailer when towing is to use a sway bar. Here we explain how to connect your travel trailer to a sway bar, step-by-step:

  1. First, you must attach the L-shaped panels and link plates to the trailer tongue with the included heavy-duty bolts to hold it firmly in place. The L-shaped panels allow the stabilizer bars to be attached to the trailer.
  1. Secure the trailer tongue to the ball receiver on your towing vehicle.
  1. Fit the curved end of the spring lever up into the hole in the bottom of the L-shaped panel with the dip facing the ground and the stabilizer bar resting on that dip.
  1. Pull up on the spring lever up to raise the stabilizer bar and place it on the flat part of the L-shaped panel. Lift the spring lever up until the stabilizer bar rests fully on the corner of the shaped panel. of L. Remove the spring lever when the stabilizer bar is in position.
  1. Place the L-shaped bracket into the hole where the spring lever is positioned up so the stabilizer bar bracket holds it in place.
  1. Secure the L-shaped bracket below the hole with a locking pin.
  1. Repeat this process for the other side of the trailer tongue.

Note: Increasing the trailer tongue takes some of the pressure off the stabilizer bars and helps you move into position more easily.

How to install an anti-roll bar to level my trailer?

An anti-roll bar is used when towing a trailer to prevent it from swinging from one side of the road to the other when travelling. The stabilizer bar keeps the tongue of the trailer rigid, which will prevent it from moving left or right as the trailer moves. It will need to be connected to the trailer hitch and the stabilizer bar.

  1. Place a tow vehicle in front of the trailer on a flat surface. Verify that the towing vehicle is sitting in a straight line with the trailer. Connect the trailer to the hitch on the tow vehicle.
  1. Attach the sway control ball to the hitch. Secure the trackball with the nut and lock washer. Tighten the nut with a wrench. Tighten the trackball to 100 foot-pounds, using a torque wrench.
  1. Measure 24 inches from the hitch ball to the trailer tongue with a tape measure. Mark this point with a felt tip marker. Position the ball/plate assembly over the mark on the tongue of the trailer. Mark the location of the bolt holes.
  1. Drill a hole in the trailer tongue at each mark, with a power drill. Set the ball/plate assembly over the bolt holes. Insert the tapping screws into the holes and fix them with an electric drill.
  1. Drill a hole for the two remaining screw holes. Insert and tighten the screws. Apply a small amount of grease to both of the balls with a rag. Place the slide bar connector over the ball in the hitch and secure it with a cotter pin.
  1. Turn the scroll bar handle counterclockwise to loosen. Place the control assembly over the ball on the tongue of the trailer. Secure with a cotter pin. Squeeze the scroll bar handle by turning clockwise, until it no longer moves.

Note: Rotate the slide bar handle counterclockwise to relieve tension before disengaging the sway control.

Here’s how to level a trailer when it’s parked

  1. Chock the trailer wheels before unhitching from your towing vehicle to prevent it from moving. Place two chocks at the front and rear of each tire on each side of the trailer. Keep in mind that chocks are the only things that will keep your trailer from rolling back and forth.
  1. Install outriggers at each of the four corners of your trailer, if not so equipped. Use the stabilizer mounting plate as a template and hold it against the desired location on the trailer frame from the underside of the vehicle. Mark through the stabilizer mounting holes in the frame with a pencil. Set the stabilizer aside.
  1.  Drill through the pencil marks frame with a 13/64 inch bit attached to an electric drill.
  1. Hold the stabilizer in position and run on the clamping bolts through the stabilizer mounting holes and into the holes drilled with an adjustable wrench turned in a clockwise direction. Use the crank provided with the outriggers and make sure they are fully retracted before moving the trailer. Repeat these steps for the other three stabilizers.
  1. Use the stabilizers to eliminate the up and down movement of the trailer while it is parked. Level the trailer from front to back using the Trailera’s tongue connector. Check the spirit level built into the Trailer’s trailer and open the jack in a clockwise direction to raise the front of the trailer and the left to lower the front of the trailer.
  1. Lower the outriggers on the low side of the trailer by placing the crank on the outrigger lowering nut and crank counterclockwise until the trailer is level from side to side. Check the Trailera’s built-in spirit level so that you don’t crank it too far. Lower the outriggers at the top of the trailer in the same manner until the base of each outrigger is touching the ground.

Note: Most motorhomes have built-in side-to-side and front-to-back spirit levels. When levelling a trailer with the stabilizer jacks, make sure the bubble on the trailer’s bubble level is within the two marks on the clear tube. If your trailer does not have built-in levels, use a carpenter’s level placed on the floor inside your trailer.

Why a good hitch makes the difference when towing

Purchasing a hitch device is a good idea whether to tow a luggage trailer, a work material trailer or to place several bikes safely on a specific support.

Likewise, to buy or rent a caravan or horse trailer taking into account the capacity of the vehicle, you also have to inform yourself and document yourself about the offer of hitches on the market. Not forgetting to choose the right cable harness for the vehicle.

The coupling device is chosen based on several criteria. These are the main ones:

  • Compatibility with the towing vehicle;
  • compatibility with the accessory to be towed;
  • compliance with the highway code;
  • the frequency of use;
  • the functionality;
  • aesthetics;
  • optional items.

The different types of hitches

There are many coupling devices and, depending on the type of use, three main categories are distinguished:

  1. Detachable or folding hitch with or without tools: it is ideal for occasional use or for drivers who want to take care of the aesthetics of their vehicle;
  2. standard hitch – designed for regular use and usually has a fixed hitch ball;
  3. reinforced latch device: it is designed for intensive use and is very safe. The hitch ball has a clamping ring to support a heavy trailer. A locking system completes the device.

Choosing the right hitch makes the difference for trailer stability

A coupling device is a mechanically welded assembly that is fixed to the chassis by means of bolts, under the rear of a vehicle, at the anchor points provided by the manufacturer. With it, you can tow a trailer, a caravan, a horse trailer, a boat trailer or carry a bicycle rack.

A 50mm diameter threaded or elbow monoblock or gooseneck ball is attached to the location provided on the hitch. You can create the hitch yourself, but it is not recommended. We recommend you go to an authorized workshop.

All car manufacturers have defined the right hitch for each of their vehicles. With the prices of compliant hitches becoming more competitive, it is better to turn to ready-to-install hitches. If the trailer is used often, it is preferable to equip the standard hitch with an easily removable ball.

Although it is not mandatory to dismantle it when you are not going to tow a trailer for a while, you should inform yourself of your level of responsibility in the event that the vehicle behind you collides with it from behind. In general, damages are multiplied and insurance does not accept to pay damages that can be reduced by removing the hitch ball.

The bottom line

As we have already mentioned at the beginning of the article, not levelling a trailer when towing can cause great damage and put you at unnecessary risk. No matter how good of a driver you are, by levelling a trailer you are ensuring both your safety and that of your passengers and other drivers on the road. 

Please feel free to get in contact, should you have any questions or comments on the content. 

FAQ on Should my trailer be level when towing?

What happens if your trailer is not level?

If your trailer is not level when towing, it will affect your braking performance, handling and it will cause your trailer to wear out more quickly. Another danger when your trailer is not level is that it can sway, causing unnecessary accidents. 

How do I stop my trailer from swaying when towing?

To stop your trailer from swaying when towing you’ll have to use anti-sway bars and shock absorbers. The transfer of load between wheels on the same axle can affect the balance of the vehicle. !

What do sway bars do?

An anti-sway bar is a U-shaped steel tube that interconnects the wheels of an axle. The stabilizer bar compensates for sway because as the suspension on one side compresses, it forces the suspension on the opposite side to compress as well.

How do you adjust the height of a trailer hitch?

It is possible to adjust the height of a trailer hitch in just a few simple steps. The hitch system between a towing vehicle and a trailer needs to be configured correctly so that the two can work together safely. The towing vehicle must be capable of supporting the weight of the trailer. 

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