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Feb 14, 2022

Why is Sway Control Important When Towing?

What is Sway Control?

Sway control is the act of minimizing the amount of side-to-side movement of a trailer while driving. Trailer sway is caused by wind, road conditions, passing semi-trucks, sudden braking, and improper trailer loading. It is recommended that a weight distribution hitch with built-in sway control or sway bars be used to increase vehicle stability and combat sway.

How the trailer is affected by road hazards
Without sway control, trailer sway can cause unsafe driving conditions.

What is a Weight Distribution Hitch?

Weight distribution is the act of restoring the balance between the tow vehicle and the trailer while towing. A trailer pulled on a standard ball mount has a single connection point that provides no lateral resistance. Too much or too little weight on that connection point can cause uneven towing and produce a dangerous towing situation.

Weight distribution hitches act as a bridge that forces the trailer and truck to work as one unit. This is accomplished by adding two other connection points. Two steel arms extend from the hitch head and are placed on L-brackets bolted onto the trailer frame. Weight distribution hitches can improve steering, braking, provide enhanced vehicle control, and a longer life span for tires and other equipment.

What is a Sway Bar?

A sway bar is a steel bar sheathed inside a case fitted with resistance pads that can be adjusted to increase or decrease friction. That friction acts as the sway control; more friction equals less trailer sway.

Add-on Sway Control Bar
Acting as a brake, a sway control bar is a needed accessory for chain-style weight distribution hitches.

A separate, smaller hitch ball is installed on either side of the hitch head, and the sway bar attaches there. A trailer frame plate with a hitch ball is also installed onto the trailer frame by drilling pilot holes and securing it with the included bolts. These two anchor points allow the sway bar to resist movement between the tow vehicle and trailer to combat sway. Depending on the need, they can be configured on a single side or both sides of the hitch.

There are drawbacks to sway bars that should be addressed. If installed incorrectly, they can interfere with the vehicle turning and cannot be used when backing up or in inclement weather. The installation also requires drilling pilot holes into the trailer frame with the risk of severing electrical wiring. They also need consistent adjustments to ensure sufficient sway control.

What is built-in sway control?

Built-in sway control is designed into a weight distribution hitch itself. Unlike the sway bar, built-in sway control is automatic and hassle-free, requiring no additional installation or hook up.

An example is The Original Equal-i-zer® Sway Control Hitch, the first and only hitch to have Integrated 4-Point Sway Control™. This revolutionary system continually works to resist the trailer’s attempts to sway.

Two L-brackets are placed on the trailer frame, and two steel arms that connect inside the hitch head are placed on those brackets. The spring arms link the hitch head to the sway control brackets on the frame and distribute trailer tongue weight. The downward pressure from the spring arms on the L-brackets automatically creates two sway control points when the hitch is engaged.

The other two sway control points are created from the compression of the hitch head pinching the two spring arm sockets. The combined 4-point sway control effectively holds the trailer in line behind the tow vehicle and combats sway.

How Integrated 4-Point Sway Control is possible.
The patented design of the Equal-i-zer hitch head combined with rigid L-brackets provides superior weight distribution.

There is no need for additional sway bars with this hitch style, and the sway control can remain engaged even when reversing or in inclement weather. If installed correctly and the weight distribution amount is correct, the Equal-i-zer hitch will provide constant and active sway control for a safer journey.

Sway control is a must-have when towing a travel trailer, and while sway bars are far better than nothing, the superior sway control solution is the Equal-i-zer hitch.

The Equal-i-zer sway control difference
Integrated sway control, or a sway control kit, is a superior option over sway bars