What Is Truck Squat And How Do You Prevent iT?
You’ve probably seen it on other vehicles towing RVs. Maybe your own tow vehicle does it, even though you aren’t even near its rated towing capacity. The back end of the tow vehicle squats lower than the front end when it’s hitched to the travel trailer.
Truck squat happens because most pickup trucks and SUVs are built with cushy suspensions that are meant to help you enjoy a nice, comfortable ride. The leaf springs that help support the rear of the truck or SUV are flexible to help absorb bumps and irregularities in the road.
Normally you get a vehicle that rides and handles well. However, the added weight of a trailer to the back of the vehicle is more than the springs were designed for and they flatten, causing the back end to squat.
From the outside, truck squat is easy to spot. From the driver’s seat, you may notice your vehicle handles differently. At night, your headlights will point slightly upwards, giving other drivers the impression that you have your highbeams on.
Why you should never tow with truck squat
Driving with truck squat is always a bad idea. Not only will your tow vehicle handle with less precision, but you’ll also wind up wrecking your truck’s suspension.
Replacing leaf springs and other components of both the rear and front suspension systems is a really expensive repair. A weight distribution hitch will help. However, most SUVs and trucks under a ton will need to have upgrades done to their suspension systems. Don’t expect to hear this from either the RV or the truck salesman.
Suspension assist products
Luckily, there are four types of suspension assist products that can help get rid of truck squat. Each type of product is good for specific towing situations.
No suspension upgrade can increase your maximum towing capacity. If your truck squat comes from maxing out towing capacity, don’t waste your money on upgrading your suspension. Your only safe option is to get a bigger truck built to handle the trailer you want to tow. With that out of the way, let’s have a look at some popular options for getting rid of truck squat.
Air Bag Suspension Kit
An air bag suspension system uses textile reinforced rubber balloons. It works by lifting the chassis of the tow vehicle away from the axle. Air bags are filled by an air compressor to adjust to whatever load they are under.
Some airbag suspension kits like the Airlift Wireless Air System have their own air compressor. The Wireless Air System even has a remote control. The remote control allows you to adjust your airbags to whatever pressure you happen to need from your driver’s seat.
The big drawback to airbag suspension systems is that they need to be adjusted frequently. Also, even though they are made of tough material, they can develop leaks.
Helper springs bolt onto your truck’s existing leaf spring pack. They stiffen your existing leaf springs to make your loaded vehicle level. This suspension upgrade will lift the rear of the unloaded tow vehicle by about an inch. The result is a level ride when hitched and more stable handling.
Progressive helper springs like SuperSprings will adjust to the load in your tow vehicle. They are designed so you’ll get a smooth ride from your vehicle whether it’s loaded or not.
Installing helper springs can definitely be a DIY project. They simply bolt onto the existing leaf springs.
SumoSprings protect your truck from squat very much like an airbag suspension kit does, except SumoSprings contain high density foam instead of air. They will automatically adjust to whatever they need to carry, and they are very durable and impervious to punctures.
Made by SuperSprings International, this suspension upgrade has many fans in the RV community due to the fact they provide a level and comfortable ride experience, whether or not they are towing.
SumoSprings come in different densities that that make them softer or stiffer. Stiffness varies according to the vehicle they are going on. SuperSprings International’s website lets you input your vehicle information to find the perfect SumoSpring for your needs.
SumoSprings are super easy to install. You simply need to remove the factory bump stops and replace them.
Timbren Suspension Enhancement System
Timbren spring suspension enhancement kits eliminate truck squat. Working with your existing rear suspension, Timbren hollow rubber springs are engineered to deliver a progressive spring rate. They push back according to resistance, so with heavier loads, they push back more.
Timbren replaces your vehicle’s bump stops with suspension that’s equipped to eliminate rear-end sag and level your truck. They are based on a simple concept that works well for many RVers.
Truck squat lifts your truck’s front end as weight compresses your truck’s rear end. This in turn causes your truck’s front end to lift, causing it to handle poorly and reduce the power of your front brakes.
Towing with the chassis sagging over the rear wheels is both dangerous and damaging to your tow vehicle. Suspension upgrade products will help keep you safe when you tow your RV, but you’ll still need to avoid overloading your tow vehicle. No suspension upgrade will allow you to tow more than your truck’s rated towing capacity.
Forums such as iRV2.com and blog sites like RV LIFE, Do It Yourself RV, and Camper Report provide all the information you need to enjoy your RV. You’ll also find brand-specific information on additional forums like Air Forums, Forest River Forums, and Jayco Owners Forum.