Guide to improving your caravan’s towing stability

Published in Caravan Guard News, Caravanning Top Tips on   - 13 Comments

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  1. Jon Meddings says:

    Shock absorbers fitted to the caravan will also have a positive effect on stability. We fitted a pair of Alko shock absorbers to our Bailey Pegasus and they’ve certainly made a noticeable difference.

  2. Dr Ellis says:

    In addition to ATC and Al- KO 3004, I would strongly recommend fitting Tyron bands; in the event of a puncture (blow out) while driving they keep the tyre on the rim and prevent a roll over.

  3. Jack Cook says:

    Roger. You can change the pads yourself very easily. Check ALKO Tutorials for easy to follow instructions. 🙂

  4. Roger Hughff says:

    Now I know why the tow ball “groans” ,will have the Alko pads replaced at next service following 6 years towing . Thanks

    Roger Hughff
    16/04 /17 18.20 hrs

  5. David Field says:

    Years ago I used to use a wing or air deflector on the roof of my Astra estate. It definitely gave me more mpg ( about 3 mpg) than without but also reduced the buffeting between the caravan and car making it a better towing experience. I haven’t seen them in use for years. Are they still legal? Are they still available?
    The deflection of the wind over the caravan roof seemed to improve stability particularly in poorer conditions.

  6. lizziecollinson says:

    Further to the comment about having a spare wheel in the caravan, we had a blow out a fortnight back. On the M5. I had AA cover and had once asked them if they would cover us for a caravan breakdown, they said they would. It got put to the test on that day……and they were great. Arrived within half an hour and had the wheel on in no time. The funny bit was me and hubby knowing we had a spare, but trying to think where it was….(underneath the caravan, accessed from under the carpets in the kitche area).

  7. lizziecollinson says:

    I was taught when towing look in your mirrors. If you see something really big coming up behind you, move slightly out to the right of centre of your lane, as the big vehicle is closing on you, move back to the centre or slightly left of centre of your lane. You moving to the right makes the big vehicle keep to the centre or slightly right of centre of his lane, and as you move back to your centre, or left of your centre (as he passes) the gap between you is greater and can make it less likely to make your towed vehicle pitch. I used to use this method when towing horses and I use it towing a ‘van.

  8. Jack Cook says:

    Some good points from Adrian Solly. About the caravan spare wheel, do you have a suitable “jack” to lift the van or maybe call out the recovery people (check first to see if they provide this service). Be careful with point three about increasing the car tyre pressure. Only do this if recommended in the car manual. My car does not need different tyre pressures when towing. Great point about the car spare wheel. Most space savers aren’t suitable for towing.
    Mark is spot on with the shock absorbers improving the towing stability. Just be careful when you are towing if you come up behind a car transporter. The air displacement is all over the place and can quite easily unsettle the van.

  9. Adrian Solly says:

    I suggest that you may like to read the first sentence of the paragraph above the heading Stabilisers.
    Otherwise, here are a few tips which may help:
    1. Not only the weight match of car and caravan is important to stability. Look at the distance from tow hook to rear axle. The shorter the better, this will reduce the effect of forces (both horizontal and vertical) from the caravan on the car.
    2. You have a spare wheel for your caravan. Do you have one for the car? Is it suitable for towing.
    3. Increase the tow car’s tyre pressures.
    4. Check caravan’s tyre pressures. Too low means more rolling resistance, poorer fuel economy and overheating.
    5. Check that the caravan’s windows, doors, roof vents aerial (satellite), locker hatches and covers for fridge vents, water, gas and electric points are secure. Also torques of wheel nuts/bolts, It sounds obvious, but do you check when collecting from having a service carried out? Mechanics are not infallible.
    6. When driving be more aware of your surroundings. Your car/caravan combination is probably almost double the weight, over double the length, wider and higher than your car alone. Try to anticipate the actions of other road users.
    7. Use your rear view mirrors. Be aware of vehicles about to overtake especially on fast roads such as motorways. Big vehicles displace a lot of air. This acts like the bow wave of a ship. The higher the speed difference between them and you, and the closer they pass, the greater is the effect on the rear of your caravan. You can minimise this by moving over to open the gap.

  10. Mark M says:

    My car (yeti) & caravan (Bailey pursuit 550/4) are an 88% match, so slightly higher than I would’ve liked; it tows fine with loads of power but I found it slightly choppy. I firstly fitted atc, which didn’t affect the ride quality but gave me a little more peace of mind; I then fitted the Alko shock absorbers and… wow..! This has had the biggest difference of all. Utterly faultless – highly recommended.

  11. Jack Cook says:

    You haven’t mentioned the “straight liner” as an option stabiliser. A very good piece of kit which came after the “Trapezium” was taken off the market due to it not being “E” approved.

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