Imagine that you’re traveling at high speeds down the highway and you need to suddenly brake. If you don’t have a trailer brake controller installed, you run the risk of the trailer crashing into you from behind. According to the NHTSA, there are more than 50,000 towing-related accidents each year. How do you keep yourself safe and choose the best trailer brake controller for you? Here’s what you need to know.
What Is A Trailer Brake Controller?
A brake controller for a trailer is a small electronic device you can install in the cab of your tow vehicle. Whenever you apply your brakes, an electrical signal activates your trailer brakes. They help to manage both stopping distance and controlling trailer sway by syncing both sets of brakes to activate together. You can adjust the braking intensity and speed to the size of your trailer, road conditions, and load weight. The electric trailer brakes also feature manual override, which gives you the ability to use your trailer brakes without using the brakes in the tow vehicle itself.
Types of Electronic Brake Controllers
When it comes to selecting the best trailer brake controller, there are two main categories to choose from. Proportional brake controllers apply the same force to the brakes on your trailer as you do with your vehicle. If you brake hard, your trailer will break just as hard. If you come to a rolling stop at a red light, your trailer will gently stop as well. Internal accelerometers monitor the braking force and speed of your vehicle and cut power to the trailer brakes to keep them from overheating if you get stuck in traffic.
Time-delayed electric trailer brakes allow you to determine how much power is sent to your brakes and how much delay occurs between trailer and vehicle brake activation. This trailer brake wiring system doesn’t function using internal sensors. However, they are more affordable than proportional models and can be mounted at whatever angle you want. If you have limited cab space, you may find these models ideal for you.
Trailer Brake System Costs
The costs for a trailer brake system will vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle. Prices for a proportional system range anywhere from $90 to $750. You can find time-delayed brakes for under $100. You’ll also need to factor in the cost of installation, which is typically around $500.
When choosing the best trailer brake controller for you, take your time to research what option would be best for you. Shop around for prices and read online brake controller reviews. You’ll be able to rest assured that you stay safe every time you need to hit the brakes.
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