Video – Why Do Some Trailers Tow Stable?
The way a trailer tows makes a big difference in the ownership experience. So, Why do some trailers tow stable, while others do not? Even a small trailer that does not behave is intimidating on the highway, and a lot of work to tow. Bigger trailers that waggle are downright dangerous. (Of course, that does depend on the severity of the waggling.)
On a recent trip, I caught one such small trailer waggling away behind the tow vehicle rolling down the highway. My wife was a great sport and took this video for you. It’s a little shaky, but, with the help of YouTube stabilization, not too bad.
Look at the trailer and how it tracks. For the most part it follows well, but when there is an small interruption — like going around this curve, or a bump, a minor steering correction by the driver, etc., the trailer fishtails a little.
This vehicle caught my attention when the driver changed lanes and the trailer did a pronounced waggle. Fortunately for them (unfortunately for the video), the driver did not do that again while we watched. Nevertheless, you can still see some tail wagging in the video as they round this bend.
This is actually not that bad, but I’ll bet the driver feels some weird steering inputs and probably has to fight it just a little from time to time as they drive. That said, a little can be a lot if it makes driving stressful.
Making Trailers Tow Stable
For the trailer in the video, it’s hard to say exactly the cause of the semi-stable behavior just by looking. However, I will guess it is poor loading. Probably the center of mass is too far back leaving insufficient tongue weight. The other thing, not shown in the video, the tongue on this trailer is a little short, which can amplify loading issues. See the post on setting the right axle position with discussion on loading for more on making trailers tow stable.
Of course, there may be other contributing factors. Yet, I’ll bet if they stop and redistribute the trailer contents for a more centered (side to side) and slightly forward center of mass, then this trailer will be much more stable and enjoyable to tow. I sure would like to show them that on the spot. Oh well.
I will give them props for securing the load well. As another driver on the road, I really appreciate it when folks take the time to strap down and secure their loads. Stuff flying from trailers (or vehicles for that matter) is no fun. Thank You.