You are probably aware that your car has a Stability Control Program which helps to prevent the car from becoming out of control in extreme driving situations.
What you may not be aware of, is that some car manufacturers have systems built into their cars that will extend this functionality to your trailer or caravan while you are towing. This system is known as Trailer Stability Control or T-Esp.
Trailer Stability systems detect when a trailer is starting to oscillate, or ‘snake’ as it is commonly known, while you are towing. It will attempt to correct any dangerous trailer swing through a combination of either torque reduction and/or individual wheel braking to bring the trailer and tow vehicle back under control.
In the episode of Top Gear shown above they towed a caravan around the track; first with a VW Tiguan, and then with a Mazda CX-5.
When the caravan was towed with the VW Tiguan it goes around the track flawlessly, and when it is towed with a Mazda CX-5 it falls over on the second corner.
The simple difference is that the VW has T-Esp and the Mazda doesn't!
If you watch the video from 40 seconds onwards, and especially at the 1-minute mark you can actually see the T-Esp working and applying the brakes and moving the back of the car around to stop the caravan from tipping over. Even when the wheel falls off the caravan, it still won't get out of control!
We're sure that you're not planning on towing your trailer or caravan quickly around a race track anytime soon, but the safety aspect of activating the Trailer Stability Control on your car is clearly apparent.
The video below shows how the Trailer Stability Control system works on a Volvo XC60 when the boat trailer starts to 'snake'. The car will stabilise the trailer by using the car's brakes to correct the oscillation of the trailer.
In most cases, Trailer Stability Control is can only be activated on your car by having your towbar wiring fitted with a Vehicle Specific Wiring Loom. Not all vehicles have Trailer Stability Control available. The list below lists vehicle that (at the time of writing) do have the system available.
Coding is required to activate T-Esp on all Audi models
- A1 Hatch, 11/2010 onwards
- A3 Hatch, 05/2003 onwards
- A4 Saloon & Estate, all models (B7, B8, B9), from 10/2004 onwards
- A5 Coupe, all models from 05/2007 onwards
- A6 Saloon & Estate, all models (C6, C7), from 05/2004 onwards
- A7 Coupe, all models from 03/2011 onwards
- Q2 SUV, 11/2016 onwards
- Q3 SUV, 10/2011 onwards
- Q5 Crossover, all models from 11/2008 onwards
- Q7 all models (4L, 4M), from 05/2006 onwards
- Aveo Hatch, from 09/2011 onwards
- Cruze, all models, 07/2009 onwards
- Trax SUV, 05/2013 onwars
- C-Max & Grand C-Max, 11/2010 onwards
- Edge SUV, 08/2016 onwards
- Focus, all models, from 03/2011 onwards
- Galaxy (CD390) from 08/2015 onwards
- Kuga, all models, from 06/2008 onwards
- Mondeo (CD391), from 01/2015 onwards
- Ranger, all models, from 02/2012 onwards
- S-MAX, from 08/2015 onwards
- Transit Connect, from 02/2014 onwards
- Transit Custom, from 02/2013 onwards
- Sante Fe, from 11/2012 onwards
- Tucson, from 09/2015 onwards
- Cherokee, from 04/2014 onwards
- Grand Cherokee, from 07/2005 onwards
- 1 Series (E87,E81,E88,F20), from 09/2004 onwards
- 2 Series (F45), 09/2014 onwards
- 3 Series (E90/91, F30/31), from 03/2005 onwards
- 4 Series Coupe (F32), from 10/13 onwards
- 5 Series (E60/61, F10/11), from 07/2003 onwards
- 5 Series GT (F07), from 10/2009 onwards
- 7 Series (E65/66, FO1/FO2), from 12/2001 onwards
- X1 4x4 (E84, F48), from 10/2009 onwards
- X3 4x4, (E83, F25), from 01/2004 onwards
- X4 4x4 (F26), from07/2014 onwards
- X5 (E70, F15), from 03/2007 onwards
- X6 (E71, F16), from 04/2008 onwards
- 500X SUV, from 05/2015 onwards
- Fullback Pickup, 07/2016 onwards
- Accord, from 06/2008 onwards
- C-RV, from 01/2007 onwards
- F-Pace SUV, from 05/216 onwards
- XE Saloon, from 05/2015 onwards
- XF Saloon & Sportbrake, from 09/2011 onwards
- Sorento, all models from 03/2015 onwards
- Sportage, all models from 02/2016 onwards
- Discovery 4 & 5, from 08/2009 onwards
- DiscoverySport, 02/2015 onwards
- Freelander 2, from 10/2012 to 01/ 2015
- Range Rover, from 02/2002 onwards>
- Range Rover Sport, from 08/2009 onwards
- Range Rover Evoque, from 09/2011 onwards