If you tow a trailer with more than one axle, then you need trailer brakes. Trailer brakes may be required in your state or territory under certain circumstances. Trailer brakes can give you peace of mind even if you aren't required by law to install them. If you are thinking about installing trailer brakes, read on to learn more about
What Are Trailer Brakes?
Trailer brakes are brakes on your trailer axles. They are similar to automotive brakes and can come in both disc and drum versions. You can also have hydraulic, electric, and air brakes. However, most trailers usually use one of the first two. Air brakes often require special training.
Pig trailers (which have only one axle) often don't come with brakes installed (though you can add them). However, dog trailers and triple axle trailers may have them already installed on at least one axle. You may wish to upgrade those brakes if you have an older model.
How Do Trailer Brakes Work?
Trailer brakes work to slow down the trailer and keep it steady as your vehicle slows down. Most hydraulic brakes do this automatically. When the trailer moves forward during a stop, the movement triggers the brake's master cylinder to increase pressure to the brake lines. Electric brakes require a controller that activates the brakes when you step on the pedal.
What Parts Are Needed for Trailer Brakes?
The parts you need depend on the type of brakes you want and your trailer model. Most people will need to overhaul their axles with new hubs and backing plates. The rest depends on what kinds of brakes you want to install. In many ways, electric disc brakes are the easier option if you don't already have brakes. If you have a regular mechanic for your trailer, you may want to ask them for advice.
What Are the Benefits of Trailer Brakes?
The main benefit of trailer brakes is safety. When you have brakes, your trailer is less likely to jackknife and tip over if you slow down quickly. If you do frequent towing, a brake system not only increases safety but also reduces wear and tear.
Even if you don't tow heavy loads and aren't required by law to have trailer brakes, you should consider adding them. If you have an older trailer, you may find a kit to fit, especially if it is a popular model.
If you have extensive mechanical or electrical experience, you can install the brakes yourself. Otherwise, contact your local mechanic. If you have questions about trailer brake parts, contact a trailer parts retailer for more information.