Why You Should Choose Electric Brakes For Your Trailer

A lot of power is required to bring a tow vehicle and trailer to a complete stop and cannot be accomplished by the tow vehicle’s brakes alone. Trailer brake systems and brake controllers are required to help stop your vehicle and trailer safely. If you RV is motorized you don’t need to install brake controllers but is required if you have a towable RV or trailer that has to be fixed on another vehicle such as a pickup truck or van.

What are brake controllers?

These devices are a system for trailer brakes that helps you operate your trailer brakes while driving the towing vehicle. There two main types of trailer brake systems:

Electric brakes

These brakes use electrical power from the tow vehicle to activate the brake drums. The brake controller wiring is connected to the tow vehicle and programmed to activate the trailer brake system when you step on the brake pedal. However, the electric brakes for the trailer are always activated first for safety during downhill and immediate stops.


The surge system for brake trailers is self-contained as it does not need an electrical or hydraulic connection from the tow vehicle. This trailer brake system works alongside the trailer’s momentum and weight. When you step on your tow vehicle brake’s, the trailer thrusts forward and compresses the hydraulic brake cylinder. This system does not require a trailer brake controller and is a bit riskier since there is a delay in braking, subsequently preventing the trailer from stopping right away.

Which is the best system for trailer brakes?

The electric trailer brake system is the best because of the following:

  1. The cost for parts is lower — Hydraulic surge brakes typically cost a lot more than electric brake components.
  2. Less Maintenance — In a hydraulic brake system, brake lines require maintenance after a collision and the brake assemblies and hydraulic actuator will need constant maintenance.
  3. Easy to install — Since the mid-1990s, most RVs, vans, and trucks are designed for use with electronic trailer brake controllers. They come with manufacturer-installed “plug and play” connectors under the dashboard for installation of standard electric brake controllers. Furthermore, trucks built in the last five years have a preinstalled electric brake controller.

No matter what you’re towing, make sure you’re prioritizing safety at all times. If you want to learn more about any of towing safety and brake controller systems, give Hawes Towing Electronics a call right away. Hayes Towing Electronics Products are Proudly Made in the U.S.A. and In-Stock!


Introduction to the Basics of Trailer Brake Controls

Owning and driving a truck has a special feeling. Trucks are not only safe but also versatile. For instance, you can use them for hauling and towing heavy trailers. With only one truck, you might not need to bug other people for assistance or rent a vehicle to transport all your belongings. However, you must be extra careful when driving them. You have to follow all truck driving safety guidelines, especially when towing a trailer.

The dangers of unsafe towing

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), over 50,000 road accidents related to towing are reported annually. This number shows the risk that comes with failure to follow necessary truck driving regulations. Unfortunately, even following all traffic rules do not guarantee you full safety while towing. Trailer sway control hitch remains a huge threat even to the most careful drivers.

Dealing with trailer sway demands paying extra attention to both the truck and trailer’s braking systems. Unfortunately, when drivers take to the road without knowledge about factors that reduce truck controllability, they become a threat to themselves, loads and other road users.

Trailer braking lights

When driving a truck with a trailer attached at the back, you need to be more careful. You need to consider that you have a responsibility to tow the load in the trailer safely.

One of the requirements of legally towing a trailer is installing trailer lights that are in sync with your truck’s lights. Correctly working tail lights will not only see you avoid being booked by traffic cops but will significantly boost the safety of other road users as lights tell other road users about your intentions while driving.

Trailer braking controls

For trailers carrying more than 1500 pounds of load, or those longer than 15 feet, the law demands that they have their separate braking system. Trailer brakes come in two types: hydraulic and electronic brakes. The latter is the most common on our roads and allows a trailer to be controlled by an electric brake controller.

Although many new trucks have towing packages, rarely do they come with trailer brake controls. Trailer braking controllers consist of a module that controls electric brakes. These brakes are necessary if you want to experience towing safety as they keep the movement of the truck and the trailer aligned.

If you intend to tow loads, installing a trailer braking system should not be complicated. All you need in wiring for trailer brakes is a professional installer to connect the wiring from the truck to the trailer. DIY methods are highly discouraged when handling wiring for trailers due to the magnitude of risk involved if anything goes wrong.

Here are key terms in wiring for trailer brakes that you should know.

Trailer feed Wire

If your vehicle comes with a trailer package, you will see a trailer feed wire that runs from the trailer brake controller under the dash to the back of the truck. If not available, wiring for trailer brakes professional will connect the wires for you.


While doing the wiring for trailer brakes, you need to take care of grounding. There needs to be a wire that connects the electronic trailer brake controller to a ground location.

Brake Switch

A brake switch links the brake pedal of your truck to the trailer brake system. The signal from the brake pedal is sent to the trailer brake controller through the brake switch. The controller then sends power to the trailer brake system which controls the trailer’s movement with the same intensity as the vehicle.


The brake controller receives power from the battery. Again, if your vehicle came with a towing package, a connection between the two will be available. If not, you will need wiring for trailer brakes expert to connect them.

Investing in an electric brake controller will increase your safety on the road. Also, you should not do the wiring for trailer brakes for the sake of the law only, do it for your own life too. It is a procedure that will help you with proper trailer taillight signals as well as trailer sway control.