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Are RV Sway Bars Necessary? (Travel Trailer FAQs)

Are RV Sway Bars Necessary? (Travel Trailer FAQs)

One of the most liberating experiences in the world is travelling in an RV. However, there are a few safety things that you should review first. For example, sway bars, which are commonplace on many travel trailers, are one of these important components.

So, are sway bars truly necessary for your camper, or is it simply another accessory?

Sway bars are an essential component of RV safety equipment. They help to reduce highway swaying and can even rescue your car from an accident or rollover. While some drivers complain that sway bars make turning more difficult, the added safety is well worth it. 

Continue reading to learn more about RV sway bars, including what sway bars are, as well as whether RV sway bars are necessary, and more.

Definition of an RV Sway Bar

Sway bars are crucial components of an RV’s safety system. They aid in preventing swaying when driving on the highway and may potentially prevent a dangerous collision or accident when towing your trailer with your car. 

Sway bars can make turning more difficult for some drivers, but the added safety is often worth it. Fortunately, you also don’t have to worry too much about looking for a sway bar because the majority of campers available nowadays already have them installed. Sway bars are also a common feature of vehicles and trucks; however, they differ slightly from those found in camper types. 

RV Sway Bar Necessity

There are necessities and then there are accessories, as everyone who has ever purchased an RV is aware. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to determine what is truly necessary when it comes to safety because there are so many things available in the RV industry.

Take note, however, that sway bars are not an accessory, they’re a necessity. After all, this strong metal frame can end up saving your life, the lives of your passengers, and even the life of the RV.

Sway bars, when installed properly, not only reduce swaying when driving on the highway but also help to prevent any potentially dangerous collisions or accidents when towing your RV behind your car.

What You Should Know About RV Sway Bars

Outside influences and stress are quite prevalent for all types of RVs. As a result of their large size, they are prone to wobbling when being driven at highway speeds.

Unfortunately, your camper and tow truck risk colliding and flipping over if the driver is unable to manage this movement. This is a very risky scenario that can potentially be fatal. Fortunately, with the use of RV sway bars, the chances of this occurring are drastically reduced.

What Causes Sway When Travelling With An RV?

Wind gusts, drafts from passing semi-trucks, curves on curving roads, and uneven loads in the trailer are the most prevalent causes of sway. Even minor sway can be taxing for a driver, necessitating continual steering changes.

How To Prevent Sway?

Avoid Driving in Poor Weather

In an RV, bad weather is a formula for catastrophe. Even with sway bars, if you reach your destination without incident, the trip will be unpleasant and stressful.

Therefore, it is best to try to allow yourself a little breathing room for when you need to get to your next location in order to avoid bad weather. For example, before you go, check the weather along your planned route and develop a list of potential stops.

Drive Slower

Another easy technique to reduce sway is to drive more slowly. After all, when you drive slowly, you can more readily compensate for any wobbling that happens.

Overall, when towing an RV, it is advised to keep everything moving at 55 to 60 mph for the smoothest ride. At this speed, you can also increase your fuel efficiency.

Distributing the Weight By Properly Loading Your RV

Take note, that in order to prevent sway, one will also need to load their RV correctly. This means that you must distribute the weight of a trailer so that around 60% of the weight you’re pulling is in the front half of the vehicle. 

It is also important that you don’t overburden your trailer or RV. So, if you tend to pack more than you need when traveling in your RV, you’ll need to learn how to cut the surplus if your weight exceeds the limit.

Do Fifth Wheels Need Sway Bars?

Sway bars are not required for fifth wheels. One of the most significant advantages of a fifth wheel is that it pulls from above the axle, making it considerably more stable.

This means the trailer attachment point on a fifth wheel is moved forward over the tow vehicle’s rear axle rather than behind it, allowing the tow vehicle and fifth wheel to function more like a signal vehicle rather than two distinct ones. Travel trailers, on the other hand, can and will benefit considerably from a sway control bar.


Closing Thoughts

One of the most important parts of your RV is the sway bar. Fortunately, these bars are a common feature of many towable trailers. As anybody who has ever owned an RV knows, there are necessities and then there are luxuries. Unfortunately, because there are so many options in the RV industry, it can be difficult to evaluate what is genuinely important when it comes to safety.

When it comes to swaying bars, it is important to know that this piece of RV equipment is classified as a need. After all, this sturdy metal frame might save your life, the lives of your passengers, and possibly the life of the RV itself.

When correctly installed, these sway bars not only work to help minimize swaying when driving on the highway but also help you avoid any potentially dangerous collision or accidents when pulling a trailer with your automobile.

Overall, weight distribution and sway avoidance technologies, like sway bars, allow for a more secure and comfortable ride. So, make sure you check to make sure these pieces of RV safety equipment are functioning before you hit the road for any adventure.


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