Owning a trailer comes with certain responsibilities. It’s vital that you maintain a safe trailer that won’t endanger other drivers. There is some debate over whether or not a trailer needs its own braking system. Although trailer brakes aren’t always required in order to operate legally, they do ensure safe and controlled handling out on the road. Let’s look at everything you should know about trailer brakes and why they should be considered a necessity.
This question really comes down to the mass of the load you’re carrying. When you’re towing a trailer that doesn’t have a braking system, the vehicle must do all of the work to stop itself, the trailer, and the load. When a load is heavy enough, it’s possible that it could overpower the tow vehicle’s existing brakes. This can be very dangerous for the driver and other others on the road. Currently, there are no regulations concerning trailer brakes. There is no standardization for what size load should require an independent braking system. The driver should use their discretion based on the gross trailer weight.
The laws for safely operating a trailer differ from place to place. If you own a trailer or are thinking of buying a trailer, then it’s your responsibility to learn these laws and abide by them. Most trailer rules include brake lights that are connected to the braking system of the tow vehicle. Independent brake rules for a trailer brake system vary.
If you’ll be traveling from state to state, you should check out the DMV trailer guidelines online. Here you’ll be able to get an idea of what each state requires. However, it is best to have a trailer brake system installed. This ensures that your trailer is always safe no matter where you travel.
There are currently two categories of trailer brakes. These exclude larger commercial trailers. There are surge brakes and electric trailer brakes. Surge brakes are often seen on small boats or rental trailers. They leverage the difference in momentum between your tow vehicle and your trailer. If you slow or stop, then the trailer momentum will push against the hitch, compressing the trailer’s master cylinder to apply the brakes.
Electric trailer brakes on the other hand rely on a trailer brake controller that is located on the tow vehicle. This system will sense when the tow vehicle is braking and applies trailer brakes. According to The Drive, tow brake controllers consist of either 12 or 24 volts.
If you’re looking for trailer brake system installation or advice, then please contact us today. We are here for your trailer needs. We look forward to hearing from you.
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