As a touring caravan owner, you understand the importance of safe towing. You also understand that how you load and maintain your caravan will have an impact on your experience.
But even if you make all the right decisions, you never know what will happen as you set out on your next holiday. A touring caravan snaking from side to side because of an unexpected wind gust could hit your caravan. Or maybe you smack into a deep pothole that you weren’t expecting. This is when a caravan stabiliser can come to the rescue.
Why would you fit a stabiliser before towing a caravan?
While it is not required, using a caravan stabiliser is recommended. This shouldn’t be used as a solution for a poorly loaded or maintained caravan, but instead as an extra safety feature to provide protection if something goes wrong.
The Two Types of Movement
There are two types of unwanted movement that a touring caravan can experience:
- Pitching: known as vertical movement, this typically happens when you hit a low spot in the road or pothole. This will lead to a momentary feeling of discomfort.
- Yaw: unlike pitching, this is side to side movement. The most common reason for this is a wind gust.
Both types of movement can cause you to panic. Furthermore, if left untreated, it could eventually cause an accident.
The Three Types of Caravan Stabiliser
Fortunately, you can put all questions to rest by installing a caravan stabiliser. You should not consider this an extra cost, but instead look at it as something that will provide you with a higher level of safety.
The three primary types of stabiliser include:
- Blade-type stabiliser
- Tow ball-mounted stabiliser
- Active stability braking system
In an overall sense, all three of these caravan stabilisers will give you what you are looking for: more stability. Even so, it’s imperative to understand the pros and cons associated with each one.
Before we break down the finer details of each type of caravan stabiliser, let’s examine the drawbacks of avoiding one of these altogether:
- Movement in cross winds
- Risk of instability as speed increases
- Lower critical speed
With that out of the way, let’s examine the pros and cons of each type of stabiliser.
- More affordable than the other two types.
- Helps control both pitching and yaw.
- Easy to service.
- Simple to transfer from one caravan to another.
- Greased tow ball required for use.
- A-frame fairing may require some modification.
- Fitting needed before each trip.
- Nothing to store.
- One of the easiest types of stabilisers to use.
- Increases critical speed.
- Use of a clean dry towing ball.
- Less affordable than a blade-type stabiliser
- Use of a special hitch lock
- Depending on the model, it may not be as effective as a blade-type stabiliser.
Active Stability Braking System Pros
- The most effective caravan stabiliser.
- Impossible to forget before taking a trip.
- Maintenance free when being used.
Active Stability Braking System Cons
- Most expensive of the three stabilisers.
- Special fitting required before use.
Questions to Answer Before Buying
If you are in the market for a stabiliser, there are many questions to answer before buying. These include:
- Do you really need to use a stabiliser for your type of caravan? Will it provide any benefits?
- Do you know which type of stabiliser is best suited for your unit?
- What type of stabiliser is best for your budget?
- Did your caravan come with a stabiliser?
- Do you know how to install and maintain the stabiliser for continued use?
Upon answering these questions, you will have a better understanding of which stabiliser is best for your caravan and budget.
Follow these Tips
The type of stabiliser you purchase and install is based on many factors, but there are some basic tips you can follow to ensure success. Consider the following:
- Don’t purchase a stabiliser until you are 100 percent sure that it is compatible with and can be fitted to your caravan.
- When using a stabiliser hitch, don’t forget to clean your towball regularly.
- It is best to remove your stabiliser before you attempt to drive in reverse. Neglecting to do so will make it more difficult.
- Blade stabilisers can reduce ground clearance, meaning that you need to be on the lookout for humps in the road.
How to Purchase a Caravan Stabiliser
Once you realise that a stabiliser is right for your unit, it is time to move forward with the purchase process. Just the same as any accessory for your caravan, there are steps you need to take.
- Compare the pros and cons of each stabiliser (see above) to make a final decision as to which one is best.
- Set a budget to ensure that you don’t overspend.
- Consider a number of manufacturers, as no two stabilisers are exactly the same.
- Make sure you actually need a stabiliser for your unit. For example, if you are buying new, it may come installed.
- Ask about installation before purchasing, as you want to know what you are doing the first time around.
Here is a short list of some of the top stabiliser companies:
- AL-KO Kober
- Bulldog stabilisers
- Safe and Secure Products (SAS)
- Conrad Anderson
- The Stabiliser Clinic
- Snakemaster by Towsure
Each of these companies sells a variety of caravan stabilisers and related products. You can check with each company to learn more about its products, specifications, installation process, and price.
You are not required to use a caravan stabiliser, but there are many benefits of doing so. If you are interested in improving the safety and ride of your unit, this is an accessory to consider. No matter which type of stabiliser you choose, it will give you peace of mind when behind the wheel.