As certified installers for both Dexter Sway Control and AL-KO Electronic Sway Control systems we can offer you unbiased advice on choosing the best system for your rig.
Our top recommendations for increasing your caravan towing safety on the road.
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. Fortunately two sway control systems are available to be installed on your caravan to increase your towing safety. The Dexter Sway Control (DSC) and AL-KO Electronic Stability Control (ALKO-ESC) systems both work to detect and control the side to side movement of a caravan in relation to the tow vehicle.
In an emergency both DSC and AL-KO ESC 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 similar to ABS in a vehicle for quick sway correction. The sway control braking level is automatically varied, based on the severity of the sway. DSC is more sensitive to sway than the AL-KO ESC and will engage when smaller amounts of sway are detected. AL-KO ESC applies a measured amount of braking based on the preset 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 AL-KO 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 AL-KO ESC.
If you take your van off-road you may be more inclined towards DSC as it features automatic off-road detection where AL-KO ESC needs to be unplugged from the vehicle. For AL-KO ESC a switch can be additionally installed in your vehicle to enable you to manually disengage/re-engage the system when off-road.
We have compiled a brief comparison of DSC vs Al-KO ESC that may guide you in your decision.
|Features||Dexter Stability Control||AL-KO Electronic Stability Control|
|Brakes left and right brakes separately|
|All wheels braked||As needed|
|Brakes triggered at lower levels of sway|
|Automatically varied braking depending on severity of sway|
|Measured amount of braking based on the preset weight of the van|
|Automated off-road detection and disengagement / re-engagement when on-road|
|Powered from tow vehicle (requires fitting to tow vehicle).
If you are considering replacing your tow vehicle, additional vehicle fitting costs may factor into your decision.
|Powered by caravan battery (no vehicle fitting required)|
|Warranty & national support network||2 years||3 years|
|Brake Compatibility||AL-KO or Dexter brand||AL-KO or Dexter brand|
|Brake Controller Compatibility||Most modern brands||Most modern brands|
|CIL Insurance discount|
As far as compatibility with existing brakes both DSC and AL-KO ESC are able to be installed with either Dexter or AL-KO brand brakes. Both units are also compatible with most modern brake controllers including Redarc, Tekonsha and Hayman Reese.
A sway control system will give you peace of mind and comfort when towing and could save your life. Both DSC and AL-KO ESC attract a 10% discount with CIL Caravan Insurance and increase the resale value of your van making it a worthwhile investment. Dexter Sway Contol and AL-KO Electronic Stability Control can only be fitted by authorized installers. At the RV Service Centre we are authorized agents for both Dexter and AL-KO. If you are interested in increasing the towing safety of your caravan, come and see us or give us a call to discuss your specific set-up and we can assist you with the optimal system for you.