Three Points to Towing without a Caravan Stabiliser by:Karl Clark
A caravan stabiliser is not a required item for towing but it does add an extra layer of safety to your caravan outfit. Before caravan stabilisers however people still towed trailers successfully and without incident on many journeys. They achieved this by having a good knowledge of trailer packing for the journey and how best to take care of the towing rig so it performed to its best while on the road.
There are 3 simple points for you to consider when towing a caravan that, with or without a stabiliser will increase your safety and comfort while towing.
First and the most important point to consider is getting the car and caravan combination right. Small cars with relatively large engines are more than capable of pulling a caravan behind them but if the caravan is heavier than car then many problems can occur. When buying your first caravan it is often tempting to seek out the caravan that you find most luxurious and has all the internal niceties you want for your break. This however may lead you to getting a caravan that is unsuitable for your present car. Don't forget what car will be pulling the caravan and do your research into what caravan is suitable for your car. The best place for this information would be the caravan dealer or manufacturer but you can also get good information on the internet from places like forums on your favourite caravan magazine website.
Second point to consider in the search for safe caravan towing is having a properly loaded caravan and car. When loaded up ready for the journey your caravan weight should be no more than 85% of the total weight car towing it. With this in mind you should always try and have heavy items secured safely in the car boot. After that you should have the remaining heavy items as close to the caravan axel as possible. Simple common sense should tell you that heavy items should be stored low down and never in overhead cupboards. If at all possible there should be no item, especially heavy ones, which can move about if you had to break suddenly in an emergency. If you do all this right and have the weight evenly distributed the caravan should tow behind you level or very slightly nose down.
The third and final point is so simple but for many it is often overlooked. Ensuring the tyre pressures of your caravan are correct not only improves the handling and therefore safety of the caravan being towed it will also help reduce you fuel consumption and help a tank of fuel go further. If your tyre pressures are 25% too low, your fuel consumption is increased by 2% and also have an adverse effect on braking distances of your caravan and car. Tyre pressures should be checked when the tyres are cold and make sure you are using the correct loaded pressures as manufactures often have two recommended pressures.
You could be forgiven for thinking that if you take care and always follow the three points mentioned above you would not need a caravan stabiliser. In fact you are correct and with all things equal you could easily tow a caravan without a stabiliser attached. Unfortunately things are never equal and external forces will act upon your caravan rig and make it react in ways that you are unprepared for. With lots of experience you may be able to overcome these external forces, but with a caravan stabiliser you will be adding an extra layer of safety that has been designed and improved to help you increase the safety of towing caravans.
About the author
Karl is a keen caravanner and blogs about the caravan stabiliser among some other things. At present he has an Al Ko Stabiliser but writes about more than just the one.