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Sway Control Devices

How to stop the fish-tailing and snaking of your caravan.



There is nothing more frightening than the feeling of your caravan or trailer starting to sway or ‘snake’ behind your tow vehicle.  There have been many reported accidents and roll-overs as a result of loss of control of the tow vehicle steering due to uncontrollable sway of the caravan or trailer.

You insure your tow vehicle, you insure your caravan or camper trailer so why not buy yourself some more peace of mind by purchasing one of these sway control or stabilizer devices designed to reduce “snaking” when towing.  As they say, ‘Prevention is better than Cure’.  These sway control devices or stabilizers limit excess movement when towing and ensure good tracking of the caravan or camper trailer behind the tow vehicle.

If your tow vehicle is fitted with self-levelling suspension then you must follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when hitching up your caravan or camper trailer.


Sway control devices should not be confused with weight-distribution hitches (See article on Hitches & Weight Distribution)

Hayman Reese manufacture a friction sway control bar.  The sway control unit comes with a metal plate, on which is a small ball mount, that can be bolted onto the A frame or draw bar of your caravan or trailer.  The hitch receiver can be modified by welding on a small ball mount for the other end of the sway control bar to attach.  For safety reasons this welding should be done by a qualified person or Hayman Reese distributor.  The manufacturer claims this friction sway control bar can be used for ball weights from zero kgs upwards.   



Dual Cam Sway Control

Hayman Reese also have a dual cam sway control device or straight line hitch to suit ball loads over 160 kgs.  The manufacturer claims it will keep your tow vehicle and caravan in a straight line at highway speed when sway might develop due to wheels running off the edge of the road, passing trucks or cross winds.  If there is a sudden maneuver such as a short swerve the cams seek a straight line that helps the tow vehicle retain control.

AL-KO also have a AKS 3004 Stabiliser Coupling that the manufacturer claims reduces even small snaking movements in both horizontal and vertical directions.  It has a maximum capacity 2,500 kg loaded trailer weight and 250 kg maximum towball weight.  AL-KO also have an AKS hitch lock to prevent theft.

Other brand names for stabilizers are Reese, AL-KO, Curt Manufacturing, EAZ-Lift, Husky, Draw-Tight, Bulldog and Equal-i-zer. These sway control devices are available from distributors, caravan accessory stores and on-line RV stores.

Some European caravans come standard with stabilizers.  For example, Adria Caravans use the AL-KO AKS stabilizer and Geist Caravans provide an option for the AKS stabilizer or the Winterhoff stabilizer which incorporates friction pads and are suitable up to 3000 kg.

Winterhoff also have a hitch lock which secures the towing hitch and mounting bolts plus a newly developed ‘Robstop’ anti-theft device.


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