Towing a trailer for the first time can be challenging. It adds to the weight of your vehicle, which means that you’ll feel your car slightly less powerful than usual. Turning will also feel unnatural, because you’ll need to make wider turns, and you’ll have to brake sooner than you’re used to. You can get used to this after a few minutes; however, a bouncing trailer can be even more nerve-wracking.
What Is A Bouncing Trailer?
A bouncing trailer is typically the result of a suspension that’s too stiff for the load you’re towing. That means that while you’re driving, the trailer will bounce lightly on the road. It makes the ride more unsteady and uncomfortable, and it feels like you’re driving on an untarred road. It can also be risky, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the art of towing a trailer. In the worst-case scenario, you could lose or damage your load, loosen bolts or damage the tyres of the trailer.
It’s important to remember that the suspension in a vehicle comprises of the tyres, springs and axle, which is the leading cause of bouncing trailers. However, other things could contribute to a bouncing trailer, which is why all factors need to be considered if it turns out that the leading cause is not the suspension. Other reasons for a bouncing trailer include the following:
- The tyres have not been adequately inflated and have a weak grip on the road
- The towing is not level
- The load in the trailer has an unbalanced weight and needs to be shifted
- The shocks have worn out
- The shocks are incorrect for the load (this is felt specifically when going over a bump)
- An axle has been damaged
- The trailer is overloaded
As you can see, it’s quite clear that many factors can cause, or contribute to a bouncing trailer. Fortunately, they can be fixed with a few minor adjustments. However, it’s important to remember that if you rent a trailer, you should not perform these repairs or quick-fixes yourself. If you have a problem with the trailer, you should contact the rental company immediately, where they should replace it at no extra cost.
How To Fix It
Your rental company of choice should keep their trailers maintained. This means checking that the electrical systems for the backlights and brake lights work, the suspension, tyres, and even the safety chain and axles.
What A Typical Inspection Looks Like
The rental company you hire the trailer from should perform inspections after a rental trailer has been returned so that any repairs or services can be performed before it’s hired out again. It’s important to remember to check for any visible damage and point it out before you leave with it so that you’re not charged when the trailer is returned. This is what an inspection and service will look like:
- All bolts are tightened and secured
- All lights, fasteners, brakes and the hitch are inspected for damage
- The tyres and the spare are checked for damage, cracking and dry rot
- The tyre tread is looked at and measured for balding
- The tyres are inflated, pressure tested and inspected for escaping air
Before You Leave With The Trailer
Before you fetch the trailer that you’ve hired, you should also perform some minor inspections. You want to be prepared for what you need the trailer for, and should check the following before you leave with it:
- Check the hitch components to make sure that they’ll fit. The ball size and the coupler size should be the same; otherwise, it will be an unsecured hitch.
- Check the rated capacity for both the ball size and the coupler, to ensure that they can tow the load you want to transport.
- Connect the hitch and inspect it to ensure that it’s attached securely. A great tip would be to pull the loaded trailer for a block or two and then double-check the attachment.
- Make sure that the safety chain is attached, for additional security in case the trailer comes loose.
- Check that the safety chain is durable and industrial – it can’t have thin or weak links.
- Make sure that the safety chain won’t drag on the ground during transit. They can be adjusted in length, but shouldn’t be twisted to shorten them.
- Pack your load evenly for equal weight distribution, with the most cumbersome items closer to the hitch.
These methods should stop the trailer from bouncing and provide a more steady ride. Make sure that your rental company keeps their trailer hires well-maintained to avoid issues like this. If not, you’re in for a bumpy ride.