A caravan is an easy way to travel and camp in a safe and secure place. However, many moving parts might make noise when you don’t want them to. Some creaking, squeaking, and bumping is normal when towing your caravan, but if the issue continues, you might be looking for a way to alleviate it.
Your caravan may creak when towing due to incorrect weight distribution, tow ball or friction pad contamination, stabilizer incompatibility, or loose items inside. You can prevent it by evenly spreading weight, cleaning off dirt, installing the correct stabilizer, and securing your belongings.
The following article will outline and explain in depth the various reasons behind why your caravan creaks while it is being towed. How to prevent creaking while pulling and correct the culprit behind any squeaking or groaning will also be discussed. For more information about the noises your caravan might make while being towed, continue reading below.
Why Does a Caravan Creak When Towing?
If you have only recently become familiar with traveling using a caravan, camper, or trailer, you might be concerned to hear grinding while being towed. These noises are relatively common and might be caused by a myriad of sources.
A caravan creaks when towing for various reasons. The weight might not be distributed correctly, the tow ball might need to be cleaned, or you may have to change the stabilizer. Finally, there could be loose items inside.
It should be noted that right off the bat that these noises do not signal a safety issue or immediate cause for concern. Many caravans and campers make noises while being towed simply due to the sheer weight of the object being pulled by another vehicle.
Most often, if left alone, any unwanted sounds while towing will resolve themselves. However, if the noises persist for an extended period of time, you can take several measures to resolve them. Before we analyze how to fix the creaking noises, let’s discuss what might be causing them.
Improper Weight Distribution
The most likely reason behind your caravan creaking is improper weight distribution. This means that either the weight distribution bars are on while they should not be, or the weight in the caravan itself is causing tipping or swaying.
When towing, the weight distribution bars should not be on the caravan when you reverse, make sharp turns or jack-knive, and ride over steep hills or ample curves. If you don’t remove the bars during these maneuvers, they might be causing creaking as you tow.
In addition, if the weight of the objects or furniture inside the caravan is not spread out, this might cause it to tip or lean, which might also be the reason you have undesirable noises while hitching.
Tow Ball Contamination
Another reason your trailer might be squeaking is the presence of excess dirt, dust, oil, mud, or grease that has built up with time and use. Like a dirty hinge, pads around the hitch might become covered in a layer of filth that causes creaking as it moves.
A caravan tow stabilizer uses friction pads to hold the tow ball in place, as well as prevent any swaying, rolling, or pitching while the vehicle is in motion. These pads are exposed and therefore vulnerable to becoming coated in grime and muck. If this happens, it might be the reason your caravan is making unwanted noises.
Additionally, the reason your caravan might be groaning is due to stabilizer incompatibility. For your trailer to be towed smoothly, the tow ball and stabilizer must be compatible with one another. If either part is the wrong size, shape, or fit, the caravan might be creaking due to extra fiction. There are many kinds of stabilizers with varying combinations of tow hitches:
This kind of stabilizer was traditionally the most common type. It works by using a leaf spring, the caravan’s A-frame, and friction pads to resist vertical movement. In older models, the blade-type and the chassis might not match, meaning the tow ball and stabilizer cannot function correctly.
A geometric stabilizer, or trapezium stabilizer, can be found in used caravans. This type of stabilizer is unlikely to be compatible with newer tow balls, as it is actually illegal to use a geometric stabilizer on any vehicles manufactured after 1998. If your caravan has this type of stabilizer, you should replace it immediately.
This variation of caravan stabilizer is standard for campers and trailers today. Its simple design of outfitting the tow ball and surrounding it in friction pads makes it easy to use and unlikely to fail. The famous trailer manufacturer, AL-KO Kober, has a hitch that is larger than a standard hitch, so it is not meant to fit with a standard tow ball or stabilizer.
Loose Items Inside the Vehicle
Finally, another potential culprit behind undesirable sounds when towing your caravan is items moving inside the vehicle or trailer. If items are not secured, the shifting inside the caravan, in turn, causes the weight to shift, which can be responsible for any rattling or creaking you might hear when you tow your caravan.
How To Prevent a Caravan Creaking When Towing
Creaking, squeaking, or groaning sounds while towing a caravan are very common and often resolve on their own. This often happens with new equipment that has not been “worn in” yet.
If you notice the unpleasant noises persist, there are several preventative measures you can take to stop them:
1. Adjust the Weight Distribution
The first measure you can take when your caravan is creaking is to make sure the weight is spread evenly. You should alwasy check this before taking your caravan or camper anywhere, as improper spread can pose a safety hazard and put the trailer at risk of unhitching.
You’ll want to start by making sure everything inside the caravan is spread out evenly. There should not be a corner or point inside it that has more items than the other. If you notice things sliding into one area, secure them, so they do not build up in one spot. You might also want to consider bringing fewer items so there is less to distribute.
Also, be sure that the vehicle that is towing your caravan can handle the weight. If you are using a sedan or a smaller car that is not optimal for towing or hitching, this might be the reason you hear creaking sounds while moving. A way to ensure the distribution and alignment are correct is to inspect your vehicles’s front wheel height and arch.
If the height is the same or somewhat less than without the caravan, the distribution is balanced well. If you notice that the crown is higher, there is too much weight in the caravan, and you should adjust it.
2. Clean and Grease the Tow-Ball and Friction Pads
Another simple way to stop your caravan from creaking while towing is to ensure the friction pads surrounding the tow-ball and the tow-ball itself are clean and free from unnecessary dirt or dust. This can cause unwanted noises while the caravan is in motion.
The friction pads should be cleaned using an aerosol brake cleaner. Consider gently rubbing the pads with light grain sandpaper to make the dirt come off more quickly.
For product suggestions, consult the list below:
3. Make Sure Your Hitch, Tow Ball, and Stabilizer Are Compatible
You should check and double-check that all the towing parts for your caravan are compatible. There are several ways to verify this.
- Consider your caravan’s make. Make sure that your caravan manufacturer does not have special sizes that deviate from the standard. The easiest way to do this is to buy equipment from the same brand each time.
- Check the year. If your trailer or camper is an older model, ensure that you use tow-balls and hitches that match.
- Check the size. An easy way to make sure the parts work correctly together is to verify that you’re using the correct size and shape.
4. Secure Any Loose Items Inside Your Caravan
Finally, another sneaky cause of creaking or rattling when towing your caravan could be loose items that are located inside. This can be done by using ties, belts, or rope. You might also want to consider using blankets or pillows to act as extra padding to keep items in their place. Make sure boxes and lids are firmly closed and shut.
If items are frequently coming out of place and causing problems, you might consider removing things you don’t absolutely need for your trip. Packing light for any trip is more manageable and eliminates the risk of items being lost or shuffled around.
What To Do If Your Caravan Creaks When Towing
If you’ve just hitched your caravan to your car, and you find that it’s creaking when towing, there are a few things that you can do to resolve this annoying issue:
- Check that the weight distribution is correct
- Remove the caravan from the hitch, and clean and lubricate the tow ball
- Ensure that the stabilizer is compatible with the tow ball
- Inspect your caravan’s interior to check if something inside is causing the creaking