Have you ever towed a caravan or trailer and had that unnerving moment when the caravan sways from side to side? Having Electronic Stability Control commonly known as (ESC) installed on your caravan can stop that brief but dangerous sway resulting in a loss of control and accident.
So What is Caravan ESC?
Electronic Stability Control was originally developed for vehicles to assist drivers to control a vehicle in the event of an emergency. Although the concept is similar, a Caravan ESC system works a bit differently to your vehicle ESC.
Caravan ESC uses a sensor, usually mounted underneath the caravan, to monitor for sudden sideways movement. These movements can be anything from one large sideways movement (caused by a passing vehicle) or multiple small shifts that build up over time. When the determined point of lateral movement is reached the ESC system will apply the caravan’s brakes, correcting the caravan into place.
Common Types of ESC
There are two main types when it comes to Caravan ESC, the AL-KO Electronic Stabilty Control and Dexter Sway Control (also known as Tuscon Sway Control). Both monitor for changes in lateral movement, however when it comes to applying the brakes, that is where they perform in different ways.
The AL-KO system is undoubtedly the most well known Caravan ESC. The way it works is when sway is detected it applies a preset level of braking in short bursts across all brakes to bring the caravan back in line. The amount of braking is determined by the weight of the caravan and is programmed in the unit.
However, the Dexter system (and Tuscon system) work a little bit differently. When the system detects sway, it applies the brakes on the left and right separately. Unlike the AL-KO system, the amount of braking pressure is determined by the severity of the sway that is detected and can adjust as needed.
Why do we Recommend Installing ESC
If you have an older caravan or your caravan has not already got ESC fitted, we highly recommend getting an ESC system installed. Getting an ESC system installed on your van is one of the best things you can do to increase your safety on the road when towing. These systems are your best defence against that terrifying caravan sway. They are known to be so effective that many caravan insurers will offer discounted premiums if you have ESC fitted to your caravan.
However, it is also important to mention that although these units are highly effective, they can only do so much. If your the weight in your van is poorly distributed, the van is driven to fast or towed by an unsuitable vehicle, the ESC systems will not be able to perform as well as intended. These systems are designed to operate only when a situation has the potential to become dangerous and are should not be relied on to correct general instability. It is up to the driver to ensure diligence when it comes to weight distribution and driving to the conditions of the road and your vehicle/caravan.
If you’ve been considering getting ESC on your caravan or have further questions about how an ESC system can improve your safety when towing, please feel free to get in touch with our team. Give us a call on 07 5479 6652 or contact us online.
I have a ESC unit fitted to my caravan which is two years old. Recently parked the caravan for one hour and on returning to the vehicle found that the car battery was flat jump started vehicle and went to drive off and van wheel was partially locked. On disconnecting the anderson plug from car I was able to drive to residence. Advice as to fixing the problem would be appreciated.
Hi Donna, Unfortunately, without seeing the van in person, it is very difficult to determine the best solution to your issue. We’d suggest getting it checked out by your local Caravan Electrics specialist.