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What is Trailer Chucking?

If you’ve ever towed a heavy RV down the highway, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced trailer chucking at some point. It can be an incredibly uncomfortable sensation, especially if you’re not expecting it.

However, understanding the factors that cause it and how you can address them will help you to have a smooth towing experience. While you may not be able to eliminate it, you can minimize its impact.

Today, we’re diving deep into trailer chucking and what you can do about it.

Let’s get started!

What Is Trailer Chucking?

Trailer chucking, referred to as “trailer bucking” or simply “chucking,” is the back-and-forth jerking motion drivers experience when towing. It’s the natural occurrence of the trailer’s movement getting transferred to the tow vehicle.

Drivers experience it most while changing speeds or road conditions.

The movement a driver feels can be very uncomfortable and create an unsafe driving experience. If a vehicle experiences severe chucking, maintaining control can be very difficult.

Chucking is relatively common, especially among fifth wheels. However, several factors can cause it to occur more frequently. Improper weight distribution, insufficient suspension components, the type of hitch, and road conditions are just a few factors contributing to the phenomenon.

What Can You Do to Stop Trailer Chucking?

Unfortunately, you’re most likely not going to be able to stop trailer chucking from occurring. While you can’t eliminate it, you can drastically reduce how much of it you feel as a driver. You can do some things to mitigate its effect on your driving experience.

Ensure proper weight distribution across the trailer and the tow vehicle to avoid chucking. It also needs to have the appropriate amount of tongue weight and be capable of handling the weight. If you’re up against or exceeding your vehicle’s towing capacity, you’ll likely experience the feeling more often.

Even if you’re within the towing specs, you can still experience the bucking feeling. Some RVers drop a pretty penny to upgrade to a more sophisticated pin box than what the manufacturer put on their rig.

The MORryde International Rubber Pin Box is appealing to many owners. This pin box features a patented system that uses rubber shear springs to allow the pin box to move back and forth. This unique system absorbs the energy transfer to the point where it’s practically nonexistent for the driver and passengers in the vehicle.

If you’re tired of feeling the bucking sensation, you must do something about it. Distribute the weight properly, use the appropriate hitch, and make moderate speed adjustments. If you’re experiencing severe issues, it may require a professional. They can look at your setup to recommend any upgrades or adjustments that might be necessary.

Pro Tip: Know these 10 Unwritten Rules for Towing before you hit the road.

Truck towing travel trailer
Make your ride smoother by making some tweaks to your trailer to eliminate trailer chucking.

How Else Can You Make Your Trailer Ride Smoother?

A rough travel day can be a nightmare. Bouncing around inside your vehicle for hours at a time can be exhausting. It can make the miles go by slowly and make everyone cranky. 

Luckily, we’ve got some tips for helping your trailer ride smoother and prevent chucking. Let’s look and see how you can enjoy a smooth ride while hauling your trailer!

#1 Check Your Shocks and Springs

The shocks and springs on a trailer or tow vehicle don’t last forever. If you’ve noticed a rougher ride when towing, it might be time to replace them. Leaf springs will flatten out as they age, which prevents them from absorbing the bumps and dips in the road.

Inspect your vehicle and look for signs of cracks, corrosion, or issues with your springs and shocks. Press firmly on each corner of the truck, SUV, or trailer and release. The suspension should quickly return to its normal position with minimal bouncing.

Additionally, worn shocks and springs can cause several issues with uneven tire wear. Inspect your tires and look for clues about how the tread wears down. Any uneven wearing is an indication that there’s an issue that you need to address.

#2 Put Airbag Suspension on Your Truck

If you’re tired of the rough ride when towing, an airbag suspension can make a huge difference. This helps level your vehicle and distribute weight to all four tires. A set of airbags can also bring new life to aging springs or shocks. Many drivers install these systems to help provide a smoother ride when towing.

Some people misuse airbag suspension systems to exceed the tow rating for their truck or SUV. An airbag suspension helps distribute the weight from the trailer. It doesn’t increase your payload or towing capacity. Whatever the tow ratings for your vehicle were before installation, the system will be the same afterward. You should never exceed these ratings!

#3 Distribute Weight Correctly

To help avoid trailer chucking, distribute the weight evenly in your RV. Placing a large amount of weight toward the rear of your trailer takes the weight off your hitch. This can result in increased trailer sway and an extremely rough ride. You’ll feel like the rear of your trailer is bouncing more than it should.

Be mindful of where the heavy items are in storage and inside your rig. You want to spread it evenly across the RV so the truck and trailer can work together. Like with any good team, it’s a much smoother experience when all components work together.

Truck towing
Trailer chucking can make for an uncomfortable journey.

#4 Check Your Tire Pressure

Your tire pressure is incredibly important when it comes to your driving experience. You should check it before hitting the road. Overinflated tires allow the driver to feel every bump and dip in the road’s surface. If your tire is at maximum pressure, consider reducing it by a few PSI.

We would never encourage you to run your tires outside the recommended pressure. However, we encourage you to adjust your tires according to the weight of your trailer. Tire manufacturers have specific PSI ratings according to the weight placed on the tires. This is why you need to know how much your trailer weighs so that you can adjust your pressure accordingly.

Pro Tip: Make checking your tire pressure quick and easy by discovering What Is An RV Tire Pressure Monitor?

#5 Practice Smooth Driving

If you’ve made several modifications and adjustments and are still experiencing issues, it’s time to look in the mirror. The problem might not be your tow vehicle or trailer; it could be you. If you’re not practicing smooth driving practices, you’re not doing yourself any favors.

You must reduce your speed for corners and keep both hands on the wheel when driving during windy days. You shouldn’t be white-knuckling the steering wheel the entire time. However, you should have a firm and confident grip. 

Adjust your accelerating and braking accordingly, and take your time. Slow and steady wins the race regarding towing and having a smooth experience.

Follow Our Tips to Prevent Dangerous Trailer Chucking

Trailer chucking isn’t a fun experience, and we don’t wish it on anybody. While some of this is normal, it should only happen occasionally.

If it is, you must address the issue to keep yourself and others safe. If you cannot diagnose the problem yourself, schedule an appointment with a professional. You can’t afford to ignore chucking. There’s far too much at stake to take any chances.

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