Trailer Sway Bar Installation

by Craig Woodman

A sway bar, or sway control, is required for heavy or long trailers. It is used to prevent oscillation, or sway, when towing. Sway control must be used in any trailer of over 5000 pounds total weight. It can be used in lighter trailers for extra safety.

Function and Types

Fifth wheel or

Conventional sway control uses friction to resist trailer movement. It is a bar that runs from the tow vehicle to the trailer. Sway control may be built into a weight distribution hitch if used.

Installation--First Time Set Up

Install a small trailer ball in the hole on the hitch ball mount. Install another trailer ball on the A-frame of the trailer by clamping it with the hardware provided with the bar.

Hook-Up and Use

Place the labeled front end of the bar on the front small trailer ball, and the rear of the bar on the ball attached to the trailer. Engage front and rear locking devices.


Adjust the tension screws located on the sway bar. Tighten or loosen as needed while towing to prevent sway


Be cautious when towing. Drive at a reasonable speed for the road. Be careful of windy conditions. Never back up with a conventional sway control installed.

About the Author

Craig Woodman began writing professionally in 2007. Woodman's articles have been published in "Professional Distributor" magazine and in various online publications. He has written extensively on automotive issues, business, personal finance and recreational vehicles. Woodman is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in finance through online education.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera camping,trailer image by Greg Pickens from