|Example of a hitch that uses chains. The sway or tension bars are fitted into the hitch from below, then twisted and locked into place.|
When I told our salesman that I preferred a bar hitch to a chain hitch, he recommended a Trekker. After some research, I decided to give it a try.
The purpose of a weight distribution hitch with sway control is varied. First of all, too much weight in the front of the trailer will place excessive weight on the back of the towing vehicle (our truck), raising the front of the tow vehicle and causing loss of steering control, hitch dragging and braking difficulties. The key is to balance the weight over the axles and the hitch. The weight distribution part of the hitch does precisely this. Of course, you should also be very careful how you pack your trailer, being careful not to place too much weight in the front, where the storage bay is located on many bumper pull trailers such as our Coachmen.
|Truck/trailer combo WITHOUT sway bars attached.|
But more importantly for me, the sway control aspect of a hitch is important. I especially notice its importance on high speed multi-lane highways. I usually hold my speed to 65 or below. As I've said many times before, most trailer tires are rated for a max speed of 65 mph, and I adhere to that. As a result, I get passed quite a bit. I can feel when a truck approaches to pass. It's like it is pushing a wall of air ahead of it. As soon as that wall hits my left rear trailer bumper, it seems to push to rear of the trailer towards the shoulder. This causes trailer sway, that nauseating fish-tail motion that makes a driver begin to feel a bit helpless. A good trailer sway system helps to mitigate such sway and return control to the driver. I also find that if I get as far right in the lane as possible, I am less affected by passing trucks. But passing semis are not the only causes of trailer sway. Wind is also a factor, and perhaps more so than passing trucks. Road surfaces can also contribute to trailer sway.
|Overhead view of the hitch system, with both bars visible.|
|Overhead look at the hitch without sway bars attached.|
|Rear look at the hitch without sway bars attached. The sway bars fit in the round holes.|
If you have a trailer of any size, you really need a good weight distribution hitch with sway control.