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What is Trailer-Sway Control?

By Product Expert | Posted in Toyota Tacoma, Toyota Tundra on Friday, July 29th, 2016 at 4:55 pm

Understanding Trailer-Sway control (TSC)?

If you drive a Toyota Tundra or a Tacoma, chances are you may use it haul something one day. That could be boat, or maybe even horses. Let’s get a better understanding of what trailer-sway control (TSC) is.

[READ MORE: 2016 Toyota Tundra at Serra]

What is Trailer-Sway Control (TSC)

Toyota trucks like the Tundra and the Tacoma come standard with Vehicle Stability Control (VSC). VSC helps to control the vehicle on slippery road surfaces or in a sudden turn. It is in place to help the driver control skidding.  Trailer-sway control is a subset of this system that focuses on trailer sway.

2016 Toyota Highlander towingThere are several conditions that might cause trailer sway. It could be high side winds, like when you are crossing a long bridge, or if the load itself starts to move – if a horse gets spoked or if the cargo starts to shift. Even a driver’s erratic steering can cause trailer-sway.

One of the most frightening situations a truck driver can be in is when the trailer they are pulling starts to sway. It doesn’t matter if the heavy load behind them is a boat, a horse trailer, or building supplies. The idea behind TSC is that it helps to lessen the swaying of the trailer to keep the driver and trailer safe. As you can imagine, if you don’t get the swaying under control it can become extremely dangerous quickly.

How does it work?

Trailer Sway Control first detects the sway and then puts measures in place to control the situation. Toyota TSC has a two-step process. First it detects the trailer sway often before the driver will. Then if automatically applies brake pressure to the individual trailer wheels. It also eases the engine torque. All these actions combined help to steady the trailer and the trailer cargo.

At the same time TSC is working to bring the trailer under control, it is also communicating with cars behind the trailer. The brake lights will go on to alert vehicles behind it that it is slowing down.

7 Responses to “What is Trailer-Sway Control?”

  1. Ken says:

    Do you still need sway bars with this feature when hauling a 24 foot travel trailer?

  2. Dan says:

    My problem with the Tacoma Trailer-Sway Control, is when driving on a winding road. The system will sometimes kick in on a turn and try to direct me into on coming traffic or off the road. I wish there was a way to disconnect it.

  3. Brian says:

    This article claims that the system “applies brake pressure to the individual trailer wheels”; that is absolutely incorrect. The truck has only a single connection to the trailer’s brakes, and so cannot control them individually. TSC (and ESC in general) does apply the truck’s brakes at individual wheels, as with any brand of ESC.

    If you are going to copy material from Toyota, at least copy it correctly.

  4. Jon says:

    My 2018 Rav4 allows you to turn TSC off in the settings, I’m guessing the Tacoma has the same feature.

  5. Brett Terchila says:

    My 2014 platinum Tundra 4×4 doesn’t have a factory trailer brake controller. Specs for the vehicle say it has the trailer sway control feature (TSC). Toyota says the TSC detects sway and applies trailer brakes. How does this happen without a factory brake controller which I don’t believe was an option in 2014?

  6. Stephen McLean says:

    It sounds like TSC wouldn’t affect a trailer that doesn’t have breaks, except by automatically reducing throttle at appropriate moments. So, would the towing capacity of a vehicle be considered higher for popup trailers that don’t have breaks and cannot take advantage of TSC?
    I’m looking at RAV4s, and I cannot see the difference between a Trail and the other trims that would affect the towing capacity other than the TSC.

    Am I missing something?

  7. freddy says:

    re: individual trailer brakes. trailers with 2 axles have brakes on 1 axle, so I guess that fits their description of individual trailer brakes.

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