4 Common Problems in a Trailer Brake Wiring System

Avid RV campers are likely to own a towable trailer or a motorhome. Research shows more than 11% of U.S. households with 35-45-year-olds have an RV, which is more than the ownership rates for 55+ year-olds. The majority prefer towable RVs to motorhomes as they are more affordable and allow users to use the towing vehicle freely when not camping.

However, towing an RV trailer needs a lot of power, and installing an electric trailer brake controller might just be the solution. It helps operate the trailer’s brakes when driving and reduces wear on the towing vehicle’s brakes. Even with the best maintenance, the trailer brake wiring system can get faulty. Diagnosing such electrical problems is difficult, especially when you don’t know the cause. Here are the common problems in trailer brake systems and how to fix them.

1. Damaged Wiring

The trailer brake wiring system wears out after prolonged use. And, if you’ve been driving in rocky or rough terrains, the wiring system is likely to get damaged rapidly. The best way to solve the problem is to ensure the trailer wiring is outfitted properly to avoid coming into contact with the rough road. This means using a high-quality conduit, so the wires are not left hanging under the trailer. Also, avoid using scotch locks to join the brake controller wiring. The locks aren’t suitable for this kind of application and can cause problems on the road.

2. Corrosion

Weather elements also wear out the trailer brake wiring system. The connector pins inside the plug can accumulate dirt over time and need freshening up occasionally. Pouring a can of WD-40 removes all the dirt and anything else that creates resistance to the trailer connection. Use the solution on the socket and trailer plug too. Once all foreign elements are removed, connect the plug and disconnect it three to four times to improve connection. Check the connector pins for bending too. If bent or pinched, straighten them into position, and if they have developed rust, replace them.

3. Low or No Voltage

This is the most common problem in an electric trailer brake controller. Some causes of low voltage are open circuits, poor electrical connections, broken wires, blown fuses, and faulty resistors. To test the voltage of the system, use a voltmeter. Connect it to the lead wires at any brake while running the engine of the towing vehicle. Normally the voltage begins at 0 volts and increases to 12 Volts as the controller bar is actuated. If the controller doesn’t produce any voltage control, check the manual. The rule of the thumb states the voltage of the controller is equal to the voltage applied to the brakes when it’s first turned on.

As such, a low threshold provides smooth braking while a high voltage makes the brakes feel harsh. The system may also short circuit due to defective controllers, shorted magnet coils, or bare wires touching a grounded object. Finding the cause of either of these problems is done by checking the amperage of each part. System amperage measures the current flowing in the electric trailer brakes when all the magnets are energized, and it varies in proportion to the voltage. When testing for the amperage, ensure the engine tow vehicle runs and the ammeter has adequate capacity. A high amperage reading that drops to zero once the trailer is unplugged means that the short-circuit is in the trailer. However, if the amperage reading remains high when all the brake magnets are disconnected, the short is in the trailer brake wiring system.

4. Poor Connections

Even with advanced brake controllers equipped with a circuit analysis, it’s important to examine the parts for poor connections. For hardwire installation, ensure each wire is connected to the right location. If the vehicle has brake lights and turn signals, check whether the brake wire is grounded with the white color. A circuit breaker kit comes in handy, too, as it is equipped with all the necessary tools to help the installer to connect the controller adequately.

In case you find advanced trailer brake wiring problems, enlist the help of an expert. Taking care of your trailer’s wiring system is just as important as looking after your regular towing truck.

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Understanding the Importance of the Controlling Trailer Sway

For anyone who has hauled a trailer, trailer sway is inevitable. Trailer sway incidents that happen among noncommercial drivers often go unnoticed. If you are a trailer owner who hauls cargo, mobile homes, or supplies for recreational travel, you want stability for transport. Trailer sway devices are manufactured as either a device that prevents sway altogether or devices that reduce sway once it has started. Let’s delve further into controlling trailer sway and the importance of controlling sway for your business and transportation needs.

What Causes a Trailer To Sway Side to Side?

When it comes to controlling trailer sway, you may be at the mercy of other forces. Trailer sway can come from drafts that other passing semi-trucks create. Trailer sway can also come from utilizing an incorrect braking technique and common crosswinds while traveling on a road or a highway. Although there are more innovative techniques being used to manufacture trailers, controlling trailer sway can still be an issue.

Does Too Much Tongue Weight Cause Trailer Sway?

Generally, controlling trailer sway with less than 10% tongue weight, can be hard to do. Trailer sway is likely to happen, especially if the trailer is traveling at a high rate of speed. Additionally, if there is too much tongue weight, then most of the load is on the front end of your trailer.

Excessive tongue weight could overload the trailer’s rear tires of the towing vehicle. This would then result in the rear end being pushed around. When this takes place, the vehicle is now difficult to maneuver. Curves and corners are difficult to negotiate and your vehicle may not be responsive enough to brake efficiently and effectively.

What Can I Do to Decrease My Trailer Sway?

When you are looking at controlling trailer sway, there are things that you can do. The first is ensuring that your tires have the correct air pressure. Secondly, you may consider installing a type of friction sway controlling device. They can help reduce the effects of wind gusts and sharp turning in the trailer. Another thing that can be done in controlling trailer sway is to try to watch the weather and if you can, avoid windy days for trailer driving.

Quality Brake Controllers and Anti Sway Products

You’re a successful trailer driver with plenty of years of experience. Since you have to transport important supplies and items, you need a business that can supply you with quality electric brake controllers, electric trailer brake controllers, and more. This is where we come in. Our team provides the most effective, ground-breaking items for help with controlling trailer sway and more.

Fixing trailer sway shouldn’t take up your days. Instead, connect with us and learn how you can control that sway and safely transport your supplies, tools, machinery, and more. We offer premium brake controllers, proportional brake controllers, and more. Connect with us today, and learn how controlling trailer sway can be affordable and effective.

Hayes Towing Electronics Products are Proudly Made in the U.S.A.