The majority of people who own a trailer of any kind – be it a boat trailer, utility trailer or caravan – the suspension underneath the trailer is nothing more than just a basic configuration of bars, bolts, shock absorbers, and springs that is responsible for keeping the trailer moving. However, having a basic understanding of your trailer’s suspension is a crucial step towards appreciating the need to take good care of it.
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The suspension system in your trailer is basically a combination of shock absorbers, springs, and linkages. The main functions of a trailer suspension are:
Leaf Spring Suspensions are the oldest type of trailer suspension and have been in use for many decades. They are reliable and do a great job of absorbing shocks from uneven surfaces. There are 2 main types of leaf spring suspensions;
In recent years, higher-end caravans and camper trailers have shifted towards Independent Trailing Arm Suspension. This shift is also trickling down to lower-end trailers. In this system, there is no transfer of shock from one end of the trailer to the other. This suspension offers a higher range of movement.
This suspension is slightly different from the independent trailing arm in that the load is carried by a pressurised rubber bag instead of a metal coil. Air ride suspension allows the driver to control stiffness and ride height over various terrains. Air ride suspensions are highly recommended for camper trailers and caravans.
The Independent Rubber Suspension is both lightweight and simple. It includes 3 rubber components that are fitted within a tube. This suspension system is great because it does not need shock absorbers.
Trailers use different types of suspension depending on where they are used and what work they are used for. Some common types of suspension systems used on trailers include Leaf Spring Suspension, Independent Trailing Arm Suspension, Air Ride Suspensions and Independent Rubber Suspension.
Yes. You can add a suspension system to your trailer to link the brakes and wheels directly to the trailer’s body and to absorb the shock/noise caused by driving on uneven surfaces.
Trailers that carry motorbikes, ATVs and other light loads can go without springs. However, Caravans, Camping/Utility trailers are required to have springs because they carry a lot more weight.
Trailers require springs because heavy loads are static and can easily wreck your trailer’s suspension when driving on rough terrain.
A trailer suspension is bad if it is rusted, has breaks or cracks in its leaves, or it is sagging. Trailer suspension should be regularly inspected for breakages and cracks to prevent failure while driving.
A well maintained set of trailer springs can last over 10 years. On the other hand, poorly maintained and neglected trailer springs may need replacing only after a few years.