Why Does My Trailer Bounce So Much

Why Does My Trailer Bounce So Much – Exploring the Problem and Finding the Solutions!

What will your answer be if I ask you, “What makes a journey smooth and enjoyable?” It would most likely differ from person to person. But when you listen to all the answers, you’ll figure out each of these merges into one word, planning.

You need to put two hundred percent effort into planning to make a trip great. However, it becomes tough to plan a trip while towing a trailer. Many factors can make towing a trailer more complicated than it already is. One of them is the jerking of the trailer.

In recent years, I’ve seen hundreds of questions on Quora or other platforms on this very topic. People go crazy about why their trailer bounces so much and eagerly search for an answer. 

In this article, I’ll try to explain the reasons. 

Don’t worry. I won’t leave you high and dry. I’ll add some solutions as well. I believe, at the end of the article, you’ll get to know why a trailer shakes so much and how to reduce it. 

But before directly jumping into the reasons, let’s take a moment and understand the physics behind the whole thing.

The Physics Behind Our Bouncing Trailers

To figure out why our trailers leap (I realize “Leap” is a strong word) back and forth, we must understand the mechanics of a trailer’s suspension system. 

It consists of two things: Springs and Shock Absorbers. Together, these two absorb the shock from the road and give you a smooth ride.

The working principle of these two is simple. Springs compress and store the energy that a trailer encounters from a bump in the road as kinetic energy. On the other hand, Shock Absorbers turn the previously absorbed kinetic energy into thermal energy. Then, dissipate it as heat.

Hence, the strength and frequency of the bounce depend on how great these two work in tandem. If the Springs are too stiff or the Shock Absorbers don’t properly dump the kinetic energy, it’ll cause excessive bounces. On the contrary, if the suspension is too soft, it won’t be able to provide adequate stability. 

A well-constructed suspension system ensures comfort, super-stability, and longevity.

In conclusion, the physics behind a bouncing trailer depends on the suspension system, trailer load, and the friction of the road. I hope you understand it. Now, let’s move on to the probable reasons.

Why Does My Trailer Bounce So Much

Probable Reasons Behind the Mess

There are many reasons your trailer can be erratic and move around while on the road. With the help of my experience and research, I’ve filtered out some of the most common ones. 

One of these will probably match yours. Let’s tackle them one by one.

Improper Loading

The weight distribution won’t be too great if you’re careless about loading your trailer. Hence, there will be a negative impact on the show. This causes unpleasant jerking. 

As a result, the vehicle will have less stability, and you’ll find it harder to handle. Now, let’s understand how improper loading causes excess bounce.

Thanks to improper loading, one side of the trailer will feel the maximum weight, and the other will feel the minimum. The suspension system won’t be able to covert and rebound the bounce perfectly. 

This will cause your trailer to sway and give you a hard time controlling it.

Tire Pressure

When it comes to handling and stability of both your vehicle and trailer, tire pressure plays a vital role. Incorrect tire pressure can cause your trailer to bounce continuously, and handling the trailer won’t be easy either.

Underinflated or softer tires cannot effectively absorb the vibrations or jerk from the road. To compensate, the suspension system has to work harder. Hence, it compresses and rebounds.

The result is also the same for overinflated tires. Since the tires have too much pressure inside this time, it increases friction with the surface. As a result, the trailer gets a harsh ride and loses stability.

Teared-Up Suspension System

Before this, every hypothetical case had one constant: A Good Suspension System. But what if your trailer’s whole suspension system is broken? Or one of the parts is damaged?

As I said earlier in the physics segment, the suspension system plays a vital role in removing most of the jerking. One of its components stores the kinetic energy from a bump, and the other dissipates it as a form of heat. Hence, both components are equally vital for the system to function perfectly.

I’ve seen a lot of cases where the leading cause of excessive trailer bounce happens because of a damaged system. I’ve always found that the springs are broken, stiff, too soft, etc., or the shock absorbers aren’t working as they should be. 

Hence, a damaged or torn suspension system can cause too much bounce.

Uneven Road Surfaces

Uneven Road Surfaces refer to bumps, potholes, rough roads, or anything that makes a ride NOT smooth. These roads can also cause a trailer to bounce too much, negatively impacting overall stability. Let me tell you why.

See, a trailer’s suspension is made to absorb the shock from the uneven surface and dissipate it so you can get a jerk-free experience. When the road is rough, its work rate will increase exponentially. 

This means more stress for the springs and shock absorbers. As a result, it may compress and rebound more, and you’ll encounter too much bounce.

Uneven or rough roads also take a toll on your suspension systems. Every component has a stress limit. You can’t push it to work beyond it. Each time your trailer goes through bad surfaces, it crosses its threshold of taking pressure. And after some time, the system gets damaged by it.

These are some of the biggest reasons behind a trailer’s excessive bounce. Since you know why a trailer bounces so much, now it’s time for you to understand how to get rid of it.

The Solution

The most obvious solution to the problem would be to avoid what I said above. However, let me give you a brief description of how you can solve the issue.

Distribute The Load Properly

The most straightforward meaning of the term is that the trailer shouldn’t feel the maximum weight of the load in one particular area. Practically, it’s not possible to distribute the weight evenly. But the difference in weight between various parts of the trailer should be as minimum as possible.

To do that, first, you have to ensure the load doesn’t cross the trailer’s capacity. 

After that, try to place the load towards the middle to the best of your ability. If you have more than one item to haul, you’ll have to tie everything down into one unit. You can use straps, tie-downs, or ropes here. It will prevent the load from moving into one specific corner during transit.

Lastly, check and verify if everything’s in one place while you’re on a trip.

Maintain & Upgrade the Suspension System from Time to Time

If you’ve read the whole article till now, you’ll know about the necessity of the suspension system in a trailer. Since it’s too vital to keep the trailer off the excess bounce, you must maintain and upgrade it from time to time.

The first thing that should come into your mind before transit is to check the suspension. Check if it’s okay or not. Look out for any tears or damage in the springs or shock absorbers. Try to make sure there’s no leak.

Don’t forget to check the bushings that connect the suspension components are in the correct shape. If everything’s okay, don’t forget to lubricate everything before each use. Additionally, dry washing after each trip can magnify durability to the next level.

To ensure you don’t encounter unpleasant incidents, try to upgrade the suspension system before these reach the last stage. Try to make new upgrades from time to time.

Regularly Check Tire Pressure 

You already know how improper tire pressure causes a trailer to bounce more than it should. And it leaves a negative impact on overall stability. To avoid this, you must check tire pressure (especially on long trips) regularly before, after, and between the journey.

To do that, the best way is to ask the manufacturer how much pressure to put into it. Since the behavior and capacity of tires are different, you should research them. 

After that, always try to maintain the number. To check the pressure, you can use tools. For example, a tire gauge would be perfect here.

Drive Carefully

If you don’t drive carefully, every measure we’ve taken will fail. Respect the road while driving. This means your vehicle’s speed will solely depend on the road’s quality.

For example, you can go at a regular velocity when the road is smooth. But you have to slow down on rough or bumpy ones.

Because speed on bumpy roads means extra pressure on the suspension. Going by that logic, excess pressure on the system means more bounce. 

The best solution would be to avoid such roads while hauling a trailer. Also, try to avoid taking sharp turns and hard brakes. It will damage the suspension and hamper the stability of the trailer.

The Bottom Line

Towing a trailer gives you the luxury to take your favorite and necessary belongings that you can’t fit inside your car. But it can also be painful sometimes. And one thing that makes towing such a pain is the excessive bounce of the trailer.

Many factors, such as uneven road surfaces, improper loading, tire pressure, and others, are responsible for it. However, you can correct things by taking necessary steps like maintaining speed on the road, loading properly, upgrading suspension systems, etc.

By taking these steps, you can increase the vehicle’s stability and reduce the excessive bouncing of your trailer. Hence, you can enjoy a smooth and less-bouncy trip.

Eddie Burton - Senior Author
Senior Author: Eddie Burton

Eddie Burton is a passionate car enthusiast and a seasoned mechanic with over 15 years of experience in the automotive industry. He has worked with a variety of vehicles, from classic muscle cars to modern luxury cars, and has extensive knowledge of all types of auto parts and accessories.

Eddie’s love for cars began at a young age when he would spend hours tinkering with his first car, a 1967 Mustang. Since then, he has pursued his passion for cars by working in various garages and workshops, honing his skills and expertise in everything related to automobiles.

As a contributor to our website, Eddie shares his in-depth knowledge and experience with our readers, providing valuable tips and advice on auto parts, repairs, and maintenance. He’s committed to helping car owners get the most out of their vehicles by providing honest and practical reviews of auto parts, accessories, and tools.

With Eddie’s vast experience and expertise, you can trust his recommendations and insights on everything related to cars. Whether you’re a seasoned car owner or a newbie in the world of automobiles, Eddie’s articles and reviews will help you make informed decisions and keep your vehicle running smoothly for years to come.

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