The Basic Mechanics of RVs and Trailers


Recreational vehicles, or RVs, are quite popular today for camping trips in style. Many American households own one, and these RVs can be parked in campgrounds for days on end, totally self sufficient once a few utilities are plugged in. Some RVs are quite small, intended for just one camper, while the biggest can easily hold an entire family. Motorhomes are RVs that drive themselves, having a roughly similar profile to a mid-sized bus. Other RVs are trailers, and must be carted around with a sufficiently strong SUV or pickup truck. Motorhomes, in particular, will need steering control for RVs, and RV shocks and trac bars can keep these vehicles driving safely. What can steering control for RVs do? The new owner of a motorhome will want to learn aboutr steering control for RVs and safe driving before they head out on their first camping trip. And what about trailer RVs?

Driving a Motorhome

These tend to be large, bus-shaped RVs that drive themselves, no towing required. In fact, a motorhome may tow a car or truck behind it with a hitch. But a steering control for RVs must be in place, including trac bars and springs for the steering system. As with other vehicles, RVs make use of springs that keep the front wheels at the forward, or neutral, position. These springs pull on the wheels and keep them straight, and when the driver turns left or right, the wheels may strain (safely) against the springs as they turn. Once the driver turns the steering wheel to ease the wheels back into their forward position, the springs in a steering control for RVs will help get those wheels into position. Without these tough springs, the front wheels of the RV might go out of control, and that could cause a traffic accident. In short, those springs “want” the wheels to stay neutral, and turning will mean resisting them temporarily while making that turn.

Someone buying a used motorhome may want to have the steering control parts and trac bars looked at before the vehicle is driven on a long trip. Damaged or worn out hardware should be replaced at once, and this may help make for a safer trip. The wheels, rims, and tires can also be looked over, and faulty hardware can be replaced at once. As with cars and trucks, an RV’s gas mileage will suffer if the old tires are partially deflated, and old tires may be more prone to rupturing while driving. Old tires may also not have sufficient grip, which can be a hazard in somewhat slippery conditions.

RV Trailers

A motorhome can drive itself, but other RVs don’t have engines and must be towed along. This means taking care so that the towed RV does not go out of control, and that means driving at a safe speed. As with other trailer types, a trailer RV may start swaying dangerously on the road, and the driver must know what to do. Slamming on the brakes may very well make things worse, so instead, the driver should gradually slow down. Soon, the towing truck’s speed may go back down under the speed where the swaying started, and that should correct the problem. If not, the driver may have to gradually slow to a stop and inspect all the hardware to find the problem.

Towed RVs will also need their own brakes to compliment the towing truck’s own brakes. Otherwise, the RV will slam right into the truck when it brakes. Fortunately, electronic brake systems can easily be installed and operated so that the trailer RV and truck can brake in unison.

Timing brakes will be programmed so that when the towing truck uses its own brakes, the trailer will gradually apply its own brakes too, and do so over the programmed time frame. This is a bit imprecise, but it’s easy to program and works well for smaller trailers going at a lower speed. Larger trailers going faster will need inertia brakes. These brakes will sense when the truck is braking, and the trailer’s own brakes will match them based on speed and momentum to make for coordinated braking. These brakes can also adjust for uphill or downhill driving, not just flat roads.

Leave a Reply