All You Need to Know About Brake Controllers

When it comes to towing a trailer, two things are overly important. You need a towing vehicle with enough towing power and efficient trailer brake controllers for towing safety. They’re the reasons why most of the 30 million RV enthusiasts and RV renters in America invest in the best brake controller to enhance towing safety.

Here is what you need to know about trailer brake controllers.

How a Trailer Brake Controller Works

A trailer brake system is installed in the cab of your towing vehicle. It utilizes a trailer brake wiring system that is connected to your vehicle. When you apply the brakes of your towing vehicle, the trailer brake wiring sends an electronic signal to the trailer brakes. This makes the trailer stop in tandem with your tow vehicle.

Resultantly, your trailer will brake smoothly and evenly without jerking. Smooth braking comes in handy when you’re driving on the highway at top speeds, or when towing up and down a hill. The best brake controller will preserve the brakes of your trailer and your tow vehicle. The trailer brake system takes the responsibility of braking instead of your truck’s and trailer’s brakes.

Types of Brake Controllers

Generally, there are two main types of brake controllers:

1.Time-Delayed Brake Controllers: Time-delayed controllers allow you to select how much power is sent to your brakes over a fixed time. When you apply the brakes on your towing vehicle, the time-based brake controller sends an electronic signal to the trailer brakes and activates them. It does so by applying an increasing amount of braking power over a set amount of time. Since time-delayed controllers give you much control over the trailer brakes, they’re ideal for off-road towing.

2. Proportional Brake Controllers: These controllers depend on an electrical circuit referred to as an accelerometer that automatically detects changes in momentum. When you step on your towing vehicle brakes, proportional brake controllers activate the trailer’s brakes with braking power proportional to the vehicle’s momentum. Most people prefer to install proportional controllers because they provide smooth braking and also preserve the health of your trailer’s and tow vehicle brakes.

What Would Happen Without Trailer Brake Controllers?

When you don’t have the best brake controllers installed, your towing truck’s brakes and the trailer’s brakes will be fully responsible for stopping the truck. Without a system to sync the brakes of the trailer and the truck, braking would be uneven, and the chances of your vehicle jackknifing would be high.

For instance, if you’re driving on the highway at top speed and apply emergency brakes, the momentum of the trailer may exceed the force of your truck’s brakes. Therefore, your stopping distance will be increased as the trailer’s force will push the tow vehicle forward as it brakes unevenly. This will cause danger to you and other drivers on the road because your truck will likely bump into the car ahead.

It’s even riskier to drive uphill or downhill without the best brake controllers. Given that many RV enthusiasts enjoy off-road driving when camping or touring, brake controllers are a must-have. You’ll need to brake smoothly when towing on steep terrain without the risk of toppling over or destroying your brakes.

What If You Connect Your Truck’s Brakes Directly to the Trailer?

You may be tempted to directly connect your tow vehicle brakes to your trailer’s brakes and bypass brake controllers. Yes, you’ll have braking power, but to the disadvantage of your truck’s brakes. The connection will supply your trailer’s brakes with maximum braking power every time you apply the brakes. In the long run, the brakes will wear out and you’ll have to replace them.

Brake controllers are responsible for increasing towing safety by facilitating even and smooth braking. Besides increasing towing safety, brake controllers prolong the service life of your truck’s brakes. You should invest in the best brake controller that will serve you efficiently for a long time.

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Are You Camping During Winter? Here’s How to Keep the System for Trailer Brakes Working

While most RV campers pack their trailers and head south during the winter season, avid campers stick around to enjoy the sparkling snow, quiet campgrounds, and the peaceful woods. Winter RV camping provides a break from the scorching summer season and is an affordable way of exploring different camping parks. With more than 16,000 public and privately owned campgrounds, campers are spoilt for choice during winter RV excursions. While exploring the Northern parts of the country, you want to keep an eye on the system for trailer brakes because it is prone to freezing. Temperatures drop below zero add moisture to the roads in the form of ice and snow. When mixed with salt or corrosive chemicals used to keep roads clear, they affect the trailer brake system. So how do you keep the brakes from freezing? Check out these four suggestions.

Check the Air Dryer and Filter

Equipping your trailer with an air dryer doesn’t stop the brake system from freezing. Moisture still accumulates in the air tanks, leading to freezing. As such, you want to check this component regularly and drain it daily. Observe the amount of water draining out; if it’s increasing every time, check the air filter, too. Air filters prevent particles, dust, and debris from reaching the engine and ensure a balanced mixture of fuel and air to enhance performance.

A slight drop in temperature causes condensation, which then makes the system for trailer brakes freeze. If you hadn’t changed them in the fall, it may be a good time to install new ones. However, if the filters are in good condition, it would help if you disassembled the air valves and lines and checked them for wear and tear and leaks.

The rule of thumb states the components should be removed at least twice a year and blown using an air compressor. It would help if you kept a bottle of airline antifreeze in your car, too. Add a shot of the product into the supply line gland once the airlines freeze. While you’re at it, examine the purge valve for corrosion or accumulation of grit and replace it if necessary. This simple procedure can keep RV trailer brake controllers operating safely throughout the winter season.

Avoid Idling for Long Periods

Camping entails savoring the beauty of nature, but you don’t want to linger in one place for too long during winter. Keeping your trailer idle for extended periods can cause lines to freeze and affects the air compressor. If you could park the trailer indoors, it goes a long way in preventing your trailer brake controller from freezing.

Inspect the Disc Brakes

A visual inspection of the disc brakes helps identify faulty components that need to be replaced. Start by checking the dust plug and the chamber housings and proceed to the guide pins looking for tears. Ripped boots allow moisture into the trailer brake wiring system that can lead to long-term damage. Part of prepping discs brakes for winter also requires replacing the air dryer cartridges ahead of the winter months. This is because moisture can get into the system causing an air brake freeze-up. Also, if the vehicle has an oil-coalescing cartridge, replace it with a new one to maintain the quality of the air entering the trailer brake controls.

How to Deal With a Freezing System for Trailer Brakes

You may have forgotten to drain the tank lines and the braking system freezes to the drum. One way to remedy the situation is to reduce the air supply and restore it until the ice comes loose. This technique is most effective when one brake drum freezes to the pad. Also, you can add washer fluid or methyl hydrate fluid. Either of the products can melt the ice on the braking system quickly. Be sure to keep away from open flames when using the fluid as it’s flammable.

Camping during the winter can be fun and nerve-wracking at the same time. The bad weather strikes hard on the system for trailer brakes, hence the need to inspect it before and after the trip. You can identify problems and correct them on time so you can have an enjoyable camping experience.

Hayes Towing Electronics Products are Proudly Made in the U.S.A. and In-Stock!