If you need to tow a heavy trailer up and down the road, then you need to install a trailer brake control because your vehicle's braking system can only contain a limited amount of load. This device lessens the load from your brakes, and provides control between your car and the trailer. This guide will show you the things you need to know about a trailer brake control.
The two types of electric trailer brake controls
These two are the main types of an electrical brake system. The other type of brake system that relies on hydraulics is called a surge system, but that wouldn't be included here.
- Proportional brake control - This is a type of an electric trailer control that uses motion sensors to determine your car's speed. Once you apply the brakes, the proportional brake control immediately applies the similar braking force to stop the trailer. The quick reaction of the control lessens the wear on your vehicle's braking system.
- Time delayed brake control - A time delayed brake control works using a preset braking power determined by the user. The delay occurs when you apply the brakes because the control still has to reach the preset braking power, regardless of how fast you go. Although the delay can be decreased with a simple switch, it will still cause wear on the brakes that does the work on the delay period.
Although the time delayed brake control can cause wear on your brakes, it can be easily installed and it's user-friendly. The proportional brake control on the other hand, has to be mounted based on a specific range to function properly. For their prices, the time delay is cheaper, but you can look for a proportional brake control that can go around a cheap range as well.
In spite of their differences, they also have the same characteristics. Both types of electric controls basically have the same wiring configuration. They also have a manual override button that can use the trailer brake alone, and they are designed to let the user adjust the desired settings.
The federal law on breakaway and emergency braking
Transportation regulations apply to travelers and their trailers. Here are some facts that you should know:
- Trailers must have automatic brakes once they break away from the towing vehicle.
- In California, trailers that weigh 1,500 pounds or more are required to have brakes while in New York, the weight has to be 1,000 pounds or more.