What is Trailer Sway and how does Hensley control it?
This is the question we hear most often. Well, honestly, most travel trailer owners know what trailer sway is before they contact us. However, in order to understand how the Hensley Arrow and Cub work to eliminate trailer sway, we have to start with the basics.
Trailer Sway is caused when a side force hits your trailer. This can be wind, the “bow wave” of a passing semi, a simple lane change, or uneven roads. Because your trailer is long and tall (weight has little to do with it), any side force is greatly multiplied. Because all other hitches use a ball and coupler as the connection point of the trailer to the tow vehicle, the trailer must pivot on that point. When the side force is applied, there is no other option. The size or weight of your tow-vehicle has absolutely nothing to do with controlling trailer sway. Your large trailer is connected at the ball. It will pivot–or sway–on the ball. It makes no difference what is on the front side of that ball, the trailer must sway.
Why is Trailer Sway Dangerous?
It seems like a silly question, but given the fact that most trailer owners give little thought to the sway control hitch when they make their first purchase, it bears discussion.
Every trailer sways. Most of the time, it’s slight and easily corrected. You may hardly even notice it. But, like any accident, when the right set of circumstances are in place, you’ll experience violent trailer sway. These “perfect storm” circumstances can involve a passing semi-truck just as your trailer wheels hit a dip in the road. It could be a sudden gust of wind. A lane change as the guy in front of you slams on his brakes. If you tow for a few years, you’ll find yourself in one of these circumstances. Again, there’s a good chance you’ll pull out of it. But it’s a game of chance. Eventually, you’ll lose.
Most trailer accidents, of course, do not result in death or injury. However, almost all trailer accidents result in thousands of dollars lost and a vacation ruined. But some trailer accidents do result in injury or death. We hear the stories every year. And some are heartbreaking, especially when a child is involved.
How does the Hensley Hitch prevent Trailer Sway?
The Hensley Hitch was invented twenty years ago by a team of engineers at Hensley Mfg., who used a concept from a man named Jim Hensley to build the perfect trailer hitch. Colin Connell, who is responsible for bringing the Hensley Arrow to the RV world, demanded a hitch that would not only control trailer sway, but eliminate it completely. Towing Safety was, and still is, the primary goal of Hensley Mfg. We’ve considered many “improvements” over the years–including lighter versions of the hitch, adjustable hitch bars, and a yoke system design–but none matched the durability and safety standard set by Colin in 1993. The Hensley Hitch is designed with the strongest, most robust materials and processes available. Even the solid hitch bar is a testimony to Hensley’s safety principles. When you pick yours up and insert it into your receiver, you’ll have no doubt that it is strong enough to withstand anything the road throws at you. Adjustable bars used by all other sway control hitches have what they call an “acceptable failure rate.” By Hensley’s standards, there is no such thing as an “acceptable failure rate.” One broken hitch bar is one too many.
So, back to my point, how does the Hensley Hitch prevent Trailer Sway?
The Hensley Hitch blocks out the trailer ball as the pivot point. Instead, the Hensley uses a linkage system that transfers the pivot point of the trailer forward, to a point near the rear axle of the tow vehicle. Sounds complicated, but it’s really not.
The “secret” of the Hensley Hitch is the “converging linkage system.” The two links, that hold the upper and lower portion of the hitch together are built at an angle, so that if you draw lines through them, the two lines will converge over the rear axle of the vehicle. The concept didn’t originate with Hensley Mfg. or Jim Hensley. It can be found in any physics book.
The upper portion of the hitch (orange) remains fixed in place, along with the ball. The lower portion (black), moves only when you steer the vehicle. Because of the angle of the links, the rear of the hitch, and the trailer, cannot pivot on their own, or because of the side forces on the trailer–wind, trucks, etc.
Essentially, your rig is a solid unit from the trailer forward, like a motor home. It is even more stable than a 5th wheel in that it is simply impossible for the trailer to sway. Imagine a bulldozer pushing the side of your trailer. The trailer and tow vehicle would move together as a solid unit. The trailer would not pivot on the hitch.
However, the tow vehicle is free to turn. Only forces applied by the tow vehicle can initiate the pivot. Not forces applied by the trailer.
Got it? It really is quite simple once you see the Hensley Hitch in action. Watch the video on our home page if you need further explanation.
Is the Hensley Hitch worth the cost?
Since all of us here at Hensley use the products we sell, of course all of us will say “Yes!” But our customers will back that up as well. We can provide all the testimonies you need to satisfy you. I suggest you visit our facebook page. Talk to any one of our customers and they’ll tell you the same thing: The Hensley is the best investment we ever made for our trailer.
Think of the Hensley as insurance. Trailer Sway is the number one cause of trailer accidents. Then Hensley Hitch eliminates trailer sway. Your family will be safer and you’ll be more confident and comfortable when you hit the road for your vacation.
Give us a call at 1-800-410-6580 for more information. Or request our free report: How to Eliminate Trailer Sway. Simply click on the button below. And we’ll see you under the awning.