Trailer bounce is no laughing matter and it can have potentially disastrous consequences. If you’ve ever seen a trailer bouncing recklessly down the highway, you realize it puts everyone on the road at risk. Fortunately, we’ll reveal the must-have info so you know how to stop your utility trailer from bouncing on the road. But first, what is trailer bounce and how can you prevent it?

Explaining trailer bounce is pretty simple – it’s when a trailer repeatedly goes airborne and comes back down while driving. It’s basic physics at work, and a lightweight, empty trailer on fully inflated tires is a common situation where it occurs. Trailer bounce is both unnerving for the driver and possibly dangerous. Excessive trailer bounce can cause you to lose control of the vehicle, damage the trailer, and it puts the connection between the trailer and tow vehicle at risk. You could lose cargo and in the worst-case scenario, injure an innocent person. Of course, none of that sounds appealing, and there are paths you can take to avoid those headaches.

Trailer Inspection

Conducting a regular trailer inspection should be second nature when towing a trailer. This can prevent all sorts of issues, including trailer bounce. While it’s uncommon for equipment failure to be the root cause of trailer bounce, it certainly isn’t unheard of. Specifically, you want to check your suspension system, tires, springs, and axles. All of those components work together as you drive and if one aspect isn’t functioning correctly, your likelihood of a smooth, bounce-free ride decreases significantly.

Suspension Ratings

Though it’s a one-time inspection, be sure to know your suspension ratings. You want your gross trailer weight to be higher than your suspension ratings. This ensures the springs will be at least slightly compressed, which creates a degree of cushion and helps prevent a rough, bounce-filled ride.

Load Position

While it’s tempting to load your trailer quickly and hit the road, taking a few extra minutes to position the load correctly could spare you a stressful, bouncy drive. Correct load distribution helps prevent trailer bounce and reduces trailer sway, giving the driver the best possible control. You want most of the weight of the trailer to be towards the front, resulting in 10-15% tongue weight.

Before we get into one of the most effective ways to stop trailer bounce, let’s go over a simple, inexpensive solution for empty utility trailers. With some lightweight trailers prone to trailer bounce, you can add weight to help prevent bounce. Sandbags are an easy, cheap, and heavy solution to compress the springs enough to smooth the ride.

Tire Pressure

Appropriate trailer tire inflation is critical and maybe the easiest solution to prevent trailer bounce. Before we address tire pressure, don’t drive off without the correct tire size and appropriate load and speed ratings. If you’ve got a fully loaded trailer, you’ll typically want full tire inflation to support the load. But if you’re pulling an empty trailer, your best bet is to reduce the tire pressure. Likewise, too little inflation with a hefty load can cause trailer bounce. However, don’t forget your trailer tires have a minimum and maximum air pressure, which you want to adhere to. Just remember a little adjustment goes a long way and it doesn’t take much to make an impact.

Trailer bounce doesn’t have to be a problem when you know your equipment and use it efficiently. Plus, we owe it to everyone else on the road to maximize safety when towing. With the tips presented here, you should have no problem avoiding trailer bounce.