How to Stop Your Utility Trailer from Bouncing on the RoadAugust 19, 2019 by Kyle McFarlane
Anybody that’s ever driven a trailer is aware of trailer bounce. Even the most careful drivers will have suffered the unusual sensation of seeing your utility trailer catching some air in the rear-view mirror. Trailer bounce is a common issue among owners and unfortunately, some drivers don’t stop to wonder what’s causing the bounce. When your empty trailer bounces, the only things you’re potentially damaging are the joint connection and the trailer itself. Bounce with a fully loaded trailer though, and the consequences could be devastating. Let’s have a look at why your trailer’s bouncing, and what you can do to prevent it.
WHAT CAUSES TRAILER BOUNCE?
It’s not something many of us learn about in s school, but the reasons your trailer is bouncing could all be down to simple physics. A combination of force, pressure, and suspension are usually the culprits behind trailer wheels which just won’t stay down.
The first thing to check is your suspension settings. Each trailer will come with a suspension rating, and you need to make sure that your gross trailer weight is higher than that number. That being the case, the springs will compress when your trailer is loaded, and even when it’s empty, so your utility trailer will be balanced while moving. If the springs are too stiff, then you’ll know about it pretty quickly. You should also be checking the weight ratio with the wheels and the trailer: make sure the wheels aren’t too big, otherwise, you’re going to get an impressive bounce when you go over even the slightest bump.
The axle position also plays an important part in the physics behind your trailer. If the weight of your load isn’t distributed correctly throughout the trailer, it and the axle position will work against one another, and cause some bounce.
THE RISKS OF TRAILER BOUNCE
Understandably, trailer bounce isn’t something you want to be seeing. Especially not when your trailer’s fully loaded with expensive and valuable possessions. The most obvious risk of trailer bounce is that you’re going to cause some serious damage to whatever you’re carrying. If your load is particularly heavy, it can also cause damage to the utility trailer.
Furthermore, there’s a chance that the weight imbalance could break the joint between your vehicle and the trailer. If it goes really wrong, you could even dislodge your goods on a busy road, causing unimaginable damage to other drivers and pedestrians.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO AVOID TRAILER BOUNCE?
The consequences of trailer bounce can be severe, so how do we avoid it? Well, after you’ve checked your suspension ratings and made sure that it’s lower than your gross net weight, there are still a few things to check.
One of the easiest checks is your tire pressure. Even if your tires are at the recommended pressure, there’s a chance they could be causing the bounce. Obviously, you shouldn’t be deflating them completely, but taking just a small amount of air out can make a big difference. This will depend on your trailer weight, tire size, and load mass.
Experiment with the axle position and see if you can reduce bounce by setting the axles back. Dampeners (normally made of rubber) could be an option, but have a limited effect and only suit certain trailers.
As you can see, the physics behind a well-balanced can be complicated. Consult our experts here at McFarlane Trailers. Our highly trained staff have years of experience and will know which trailer is best suited for your use. They’ll be able to give you professional advice regarding weight ratings, suspension ratings, and essential advice regarding trailer bounce.