As certified installers for both Dexter Sway Control and Alko Electronic Sway Control systems, FREEZETEC can offer you unbiased advice on choosing the best system for your caravan sway control.
If you have towed a caravan before, you are probably familiar with the unnerving experience of encountering caravan sway.
Caravan sway, commonly referred to as “yaw” or “fishtailing”, can range from a brief and frightening experience through to a complete loss of vehicle control resulting in an accident.
Swerving, side winds and air pressure changes caused by passing trucks are causes of caravan sway.
In an emergency, both DSC and Alko ESC caravan anti sway systems will engage to control sway and save you from a potential accident however there are a few key differences in the systems and the way they operate.
DSC applies the left and right brakes separately like ABS in a vehicle for quick sway correction, while the sway control braking level is automatically varied, based on the severity of the sway. DSC is more sensitive to sway than the Alko ESC and will engage when smaller amounts of sway are detected.
Alko ESC applies a measured amount of braking based on the pre-set weight of the van and applies brakes on all wheels after significant sway force is detected. DSC adjusts the braking for any caravan weight where Alko ESC is customized to each caravan with the unit programmed to the weight of the caravan specifically. This factor makes DSC more suitable when empty and loaded tow weights vary as with plant trailers and horse floats. DSC is powered from the caravan battery and avoids the requirement for the system to be wired to the vehicle which is the case for Alko ESC.
The big problem when you get off smooth gravel or bitumen is what is called nuisance braking. That is when the system cuts in unnecessarily when vertical wheel motion is interpreted as ‘sway’.
With Alko sway control, the solution is easy; when you get onto a corrugated unmade road, simply pull out the Anderson plug connector, disabling ESC.
With Dexter, the black box recognizes vertical movements and switches the system ‘off’ after five seconds of continuous disturbance until the road surface becomes calm again. Then, after up to five more seconds, it switches DSC ‘on’ again.
Which electronic stability control for caravans is for me?
If most of your travel is on the blacktop, then there are pros and cons for both systems, but one thing is certain: having something that stops caravan sway is an absolute lifesaver and either of these systems is very cheap ‘insurance’.
If a lot of your time is spent off the bitumen, then it appears the Dexter DSC system offers specific advantages.
With a phone call to your insurer, you may also find you attract a discount on your premium!
The average cost of fitting sway control on to your existing caravan is approximately $1,300 – $1,600 inc, plus any costs associated with servicing the electric braking system.