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Shopping For Trailer Brake Parts

Find out the various options in the field of trailer brake controllers, including how break controllers function and how to determine the best brake controller for your requirements.

Although you bought a car with an towing package that was installed by the factory but you’ve discovered that your vehicle needs an electronic brake controller to manage the brakes of your trailer. What is which one is the most suitable to install?

What is a What is a Trailer Brake Controller?

The controllers for the trailer’s brakes transmit the power to the trailer’s braking system when a driver presses the brakes on the tow vehicle. The advent of anti-lock brake systems (ABS) completely altered the function of these devices. They were once integrated into the hydraulic lines of the brake system of the tow vehicle The brake controllers of the ABS time period are now able to communicate with the brake system electronically.

Do I even need a Brake Controller for My Trailer?

The lighter trailers typically do not require independent brake systems. However, the availability is increasing due to increased security standards and awareness. Boat trailers typically use surge brakes that don’t require the use of a controller. Additionally, the three major automakers are now including the controller with some of their towing systems that are factory installed So, be sure to check what your vehicle’s features are. If you do not require one, then you should not to pay for it.

Different types of trailer brake controllers

According to the way you categorize the modules, up to four kinds of control modules are in existence. The controllers for trailer brakes vary in prices ranging from $45 to a couple hundred dollars. If you frequently tow for long distances, the purchase of a controller is an investment worth every cent.

Time-Delayed Brake Controllers

Time-delayed brake control systems are the most economical and work by activating the trailer’s brakes using a predetermined amount of power over a specific duration of time. The user can set the timing, power level, and length of the braking system to suit the demands of the load, the frequency at which a vehicle is towing and the style of driving of the driver. The controller is able to be mounted in any position (you’ll understand the importance of this in the future). If you only tow frequently, only is able to tow short distances, or tows light to medium-weight weights, the controller will be very effective.

The main drawback is the lack of variation in the power of braking. In light braking, trailer brakes could be excessively compared to those for the car towing. The trailer brakes are then forced to support the weight of slowing down both the trailer and the vehicle which wears the brakes of the trailer prematurely. However, heavier braking situations require the tow vehicle to make up for the less power provided to the brakes on the trailer. This causes excessive wear and tear on (and the heating of) the brakes on the tow vehicle and in a severe circumstance, it can cause a heavier trailer to be able to jackknife.

Inertia-based Brake Controls

A subset that is classified as inertia-based controllers that adjust the braking power to the trailer when it detects changes in the direction of the pendulum. The more quickly a vehicle is slowed down, the greater pendulum movement it creates and the power of the trailer’s brakes rises. The requirement for level installation and the possibility to be fooled by steep slopes are disadvantages to this type of controller.

Proportional Controller

A proportional controller uses accelerometers to measure the intensity of braking and then deliver a proportional amount of force to the trailer’s brakes. This keeps the trailer and tow vehicle functioning when there is heavy, light or sudden braking scenarios and distributes the load equally for a smooth and efficient operation. While they’re a superior device, an arduous installation and higher cost may not be the best choice for your vehicle if it doesn’t frequently tow. The current prices make proportional controllers cheaper as opposed to the past.

Hydraulic-Over-Electronic Controller

Recent innovations have produced the hydraulic-over-electronic controller. The device converts the pressure of the hydraulic line into an electrical current with small computers. In the future is the most versatile controller available, however, they generally associate “new” to “expensive”–at at least until they become commonplace.

The installation of a trailer brake controller is a consideration.

A majority of mechanics at home are able to install a trailer brake controller with no hassle. Modern vehicles typically have an eight-point harness to install the controller, however different designs are available. If you require the controller part of the harness they’re easily available in auto parts stores as well as on the internet. The factory-prewired plug could be concealed under your dash. Find it hidden under your right knee while you are at the wheel. It’s possible to find it located on the left. If the manufacturer didn’t prepare a wire to the brake harness for your trailer then you’ll need to wire it as one continuous long length. Be aware that inertia-activated as well as some proportional controllers have to sit at a certain in a straight line for the proper operation. It is also important to be sure to check the clearance above your knees in order to avoid jostling the device during driving.

If you frequently tow in highly-demand circumstances because of frequency, distance or grade you should also think about upgrading your rotors from cross-drilled and slotted styles and your brake pads and fluid to high-temperature ones.